Saturday, September 22, 2007

Labor Union Endorsements (and the Mayor) in the City Council Race

I haven't dug around to figure out the labor endorsement situation for the Allston-Brighton District 9 City Council race because, frankly, I just can't keep track of all the different unions and then call them all up to find out who, if anyone, they endorse. The Allston-Brighton TAB has listed labor union endorsements and Harry Mattison has listed campaign finance contributions by labor unions; these are not exactly the same things, although they usually track each other fairly well. Note that the union endorsements are self-reported by the campaigns; nonetheless, I can't imagine a campaign mis-representing a union endorsement, because they would be run out of town with no political future.


Labor Union Endorsements

Mark Ciommo wins the labor endorsements hands down: IBEW Local #2222; Painter and Allied Trade District Council #35; United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local #1445; Operating Engineers Local #4; Boston School Custodians Local #1952; Boston Carmen’s Union Local #589; Iron Workers Local #7; AFSCME Corrections Officers Local #419; Pipefitters Local #537; and Carpenters Local #40. The last two have offices in Allston-Brighton, and the TAB gives Ciommo's labor bio (note: probably written by the Ciommo campaign***):
Four generations of Ciommo’s family have been involved in the labor movement. His great-grandfather organized Local 39 Curbsetter and Pavers in the early 1920’s which was recently merged into Local 151 Laborers. Ciommo continued his family’s proud involvement in union organizing. In the early 1990’s he actively assisted the Boston Community Center staff to unionize.
I asked Mark several months ago about his large number of labor union endorsements, and he said it was the result of his long-standing and close personal ties to the people in those groups. It was obvious from the nature of his remarks that he was demonstrating how he won those endorsements himself, the old-fashioned way -- rather than having a higher power help him out.

Tim Schofield won only one union endorsement (not noted by the TAB), but it is a plum: the Boston Teachers Union.

Rosie Hanlon informed me that she has very recently received the endorsement of the Teamsters Local #25.

I cannot find any listings of labor union endorsements at the other candidates' websites. (Note that there are some prominent politicians who donated to Glennon -- but he did not list any endorsements whatsoever on his website, so this is an inexact science.)


Labor Union Campaign Contributions

It is interesting to compare this list of union endorsements to the campaign finance reports, to see which of these unions backed up their endorsements with a contribution.

Schofield's BTU endorsement netted the maximum $500.

Ciommo got $500 each from Iron Workers, Carmen's Union, and Pipefitters, $250 each from Carpenters and Painters/Allied Trades, $200 from Sheetmetal Workers, $150 from Operating Engineers, and $100 from the Boston School Custodians. Adding them up, Ciommo received $2200 from unions, or 9% of his overall campaign contributions of $24,592. As of September 14, Ciommo had received no contributions from United Food and Commercial Workers, AFSCME Corrections Officers, or IBEW Electrical Workers. I can only assume they'll correct that admission in time for the next filing deadline.

Hanlon has not received a contribution from the Teamsters (because their endorsement occurred after the September 7th closing date for the finance report), but she did receive contributions (but not endorsements) from the Sheetmetal Workers Union for $200 and the Sprinkler Fitters #550 for $300.

Note that it appears as though the Sheetmetal Workers are supporting two candidates (Ciommo and Hanlon) and endorsing neither (at the moment) -- this is not exactly clear, however, because the two candidates list different contributor names and contacts for these two contributions (Festus Joyce of Sandwich for Hanlon, and Neal Kelleher of Dorchester for Ciommo), so they may be different local groups of the same larger union.


Union Endorsements and That Force Behind the Scenes

At last Monday's candidates forum, I asked an unusual question of all the candidates: to name which of them they thought to be the "Mayor's Candidate". Two went for Ciommo; two for Schofield; and Hanlon for herself. You can read the subsequent exchange in the transcript. The Boston Phoenix argues for Ciommo. One reader of this blog posted a comment, based on the campaign finance reports, arguing for Schofield:
Tim's report solves the mystery of "who is Menino with" - he has all of Menino's contributors = Billy Ferullo; McDermott, Quilty and Miller; Joe Hanley; Howard [Leibowitz] - those are key Menino supporters while no other candidate has them. Check it out!
Two knowledgeable insiders of Allston-Brighton politics flatly state that Mayor Menino has neither endorsed any candidate nor is making any serious effort to pull strings behind the scenes. They both point to the labor union endorsements: if Menino had chosen to back a particular candidate, there would be lots of additional union endorsements, including one particular union (I'll leave it unnamed) that would tip his hand. Enough said for now, but we'll no doubt re-visit this issue between the preliminary and general election.


*** Note that the "Political Notebook" in the Allston-Brighton TAB prints information "submitted by area politicians and others." The TAB's disclaimer does not appear in the online version of the paper, but does appear in the print version.

1 comment:

Enzo said...

The question isn't who does Menino want. My doubt about Tim is that besides being gay, he's basically a nice insider like Menino, who will go along to get along.

Menino's place in city government is rather sad when you think about it. He is a nice guy who gets to hand out money now and then to poor people. While the developers and builders basically run the money-making arm. Like the old saying about General Motors, these people basically believe that what is good for the ultra-rich is good for Boston, and that they are entitled to make those decisions for the rest of us. For Tim these are the people who are his customers and contributors.

Menino runs the poor Boston, and the ZBA etc runs the rich Boston. This won't change as long as the city government is structured the way it is. So it could be that Selvig or somebody would just bang his head against this wall for a while and give up.

While I am a liberal and respect liberals, I have lived long enough to see the times that liberal institutions have manipulated the promises and nice rhetoric to paint their opposition as NIMBYs or worse.