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Union Muscle

Are you wondering how much muscle the unions brought to bear on the Wal-Mart bill that just cleared the Maryland General Assembly?

Consider Del. Joseph J. "Sonny" Minnick (D), a restaurant owner who represents a blue collar district east of Baltimore. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is popular there. So are the unions. After all, the district was at one time home to factories for Bethlehem Steel, General Motors, Western Electric and Lever Brothers, a soap manufacturer.

Minnick did not vote last year when the House of Delegates approved the bill that would effectively force Wal-Mart to pay more for employee health benefits. And Ehrlich was counting on his vote Thursday to help sustain his veto of the bill.

Then, Minnick started hearing from the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Service Employees Interational Union. He got a call at home from a union official in New Jersey whose mother worked on Minnick's campaign. E-mail arrived from members of construction trades. The day before the vote, he said he arrived at his Annapolis office to find 10 U.S. Steel workers waiting in his office.

Wednesday night, he said, a fellow delegate from the district received a call on his cell phone from Teamsters president James P. Hoffa.

Minnick said he "anguished over it" before dialing up the governor.

"I told him I was going the other way," Minnick said. "He was not happy, but he understood."

Matt Mosk


Here's a look at how Washington area lawmakers voted on overturning Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto of a bill requiring Wal-Mart to spend more money on employee health care.

YES: Dels. Virginia P. Clagett (D), Michael E. Busch (D), Mary Ann Love (D). NO: Dels. David G. Boschert (R), Joan Cadden (D), Robert A. Costa (R), Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R), Terry R. Gilleland Jr. (R), John R. Leopold (R), Tony McConkey (R), Herbert. H. McMillan (R), Theodore J. Sophocleus (D); Sens. John C. Astle (D), James E. DeGrange (D), Janet Greenip (R), Philip C. Jimeno (D)

YES: Del Galen R. Clagett (D). NO: Dels. Joseph R. Bartlett (R), Patrick N. Hogan (R), Paul S. Stull (R); Sens. David R. Brinkley, Sen. Alex X. Mooney (R). ABSENT: Richard B. Weldon Jr. (R).

YES: Dels. Elizabeth Bobo (D), James E Malone (D), Shane E. Pendergrass (D), Neil F. Quinter (D), Frank S. Turner (D) Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer (D). NO: Dels. Gail H. Bates (R), Steven J. DeBoy Sr. (D), Warren E. Miller (R); Sens. Allan H. Kittleman (R), Sandra Schrader (R).

YES: Dels. Charles E. Barkley (D), Kumar P. Barve (D), William A. Bronrott (D), Jean B. Cryor (R), Kathleen M. Dumais (D), Brian J. Feldman (D), Peter Franchot (D), Marilyn R. Goldwater (D), Michael R. Gordon (D), Ana Sol Gutierrez (D), Henry B. Heller (D), Sheila E. Hixson (D), Anne R. Kaiser (D), Nancy J. King (D), Jane E. Lawton (D), Susan C. Lee (D), Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D), Adrienne A. Mandel (D), Karen S. Montgomery (D), Gareth E. Murray (D), Carol S. Petzold (D), Luiz R.S. Simmons (D), Joan F. Stern (D), Herman L. Taylor II (D); Sens. Jennie M. Forehand (D), Brian E. Frosh (D), Robert J. Garagiola (D), Sharon Grosfeld (D), P. J. Hogran (D), Roma Kramer (D), Ida Ruben (D), Leonard H. Teitelbaum (D)

PRINCE GEORGE'S (All Democrats)
YES: Dels. Joanne C. Benson, Anthony G. Brown, Mary A. Conroy, Dereck E. Davis, Barbara A. Frush, Tawanna P. Gaines, Melony G. Griffith, Anne Healey, Marvin E. Holmes Jr., Carolyn J.B. Howard, James W. Hubbard, Darryl A. Kelley Pauline H. Menes, Brian R. Moe, Doyle L. Niemann, Rosetta C. Parker, Obie Patterson, James E. Proctor Jr., Victor R. Ramirez, Justin D. Ross, Veronica L. Turner, Joseph F. Vallario Jr., Michael L. Vaughn; Sens. Gwendolyn T. Britt, Ulysses Currie, Nathanial Exum, John A. Giannetti Jr., Leo E. Green, Gloria G. Lawlah, Paul G. Pinsky

YES: Dels. John L. Bohanan Jr. (D), Sue Kullen (D); Sens. Roy P. Dyson (D), Thomas M. Middleton (D), Thomas V. Mike Miller (D)
NO: Dels. Sally Y. Jameson (D), Murray D. Levy (D), W. Daniel Mayer (R), Anthony J. O'Donnell (R), John F. Wood Jr. (D)

By Phyllis Jordan  |  January 13, 2006; 8:36 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wal-Mart Wallop
Next: In Senate race: 7 is a crowd


In this day and age, 'Washington Area' does not mean what it used to. Can you at least provide a link to the rest of the delegates' votes? I live in Allegany County and might as well be on the moon for all the Post recognizes this part of the State.

This veto override will haunt the State for years to come. While I dislike Wal-Mart policies and avoid shopping there, having the State step in like this puts us on that proverbial slippery-slope. This time it is 10,000 employees and 8%; next time it could be 5,000 employees and 10%. Does anyone really trust the State House to know when to say when?

Ultimately what bothers me about this is once again we avoid the deeper problem. In this case, the entire Health Care situation needs to be re-assessed from top to bottom, nationally, not just statewide. Legislation like this does nothing to solve or even address the problem; it justs shifts the burden and looks like pandering for vote in an election year.

Pandering for votes? In Maryland? In an election year? Forgive me, how could I be so cynical?

Posted by: Mark F. | January 14, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the national unions decided rather than use the regular collectived bargaining process they would just use the state legislature. Gee, am I supposed to thank my delegates and senator for that ridicously stupid move opening up the pandora's box? Thanks guys for managing to try to scare away jobs on the eastern shore and hanging a big sign on the door, 'Maryland: Closed for Business'.

The legislature is out of touch with regular Marylanders and I'm not sure what the answer is. Is it elect more republicans? More conservative democrats? Strip the legislature of its power? Its just not going anywhere under the current leadership and it is time for a change.

Posted by: George | January 19, 2006 3:07 AM | Report abuse

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