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September 19, 2005

NYC Mayor Nixes SEIU

As I have blogged about in the past NYC's Republican Mayor has received endorsements from many progressive labor unions in NY. This is despite the fact that he is a big fan of Wal-Mart, raised millions for the most anti-labor politician in post ww2 America (George Bush) and has been at war with the teacher's union during the course of  his tenure.

While SEIU's 70,000 member strong janitor's local (a local whose members are majority Latino in a race where the Democratic contender could become the first Latino to be mayor of NYC) endorsed Bloomberg before the Democrat primaries SEIU's other large NYC based local 1199 sat by the side not endorsing anyone. That is until now.

Apparently Local 1199 attempted to cut a deal with Bloomberg. In return for an endorsement Bloomberg would have to promise adding 25,000 private homecare workers onto the public payroll.

I have no problem whatsoever with a union attempting to make such a deal. What bothers me is that there seems to be some delusions regarding Bloomberg and labor's power in NYC. Unions fell over themselves backing this Republican mayor not because he is good for the working men and women of NYC but because it is expected Bloomberg is going to win. These unions made an opportunistic bet.

These early union endorsements did nothing to help Bloomberg's chances of winning. Rather these unions sent a signal that labor in NYC was too weak to sway an election in favor of a candidate who supports labor and a working families agenda. As the saying goes "If you can't beat em join em."

So it is foolish for local 1199, as powerful as it is economicaly and politically, to think Republican Bloomberg is going to play ball with them. Bloomberg is going to win despite his union endorsements not because of them.

September 19, 2005 in Politics and Unions | Permalink

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