In Montgomery budget fallout, AFL-CIO cancels interviews
Initial budget votes in Montgomery County have divided public employee unions and shaken up the political calculus facing incumbents running for reelection this fall.
Council members on Tuesday unanimously signaled their intent to break union contracts by freezing pay and ending retirement benefits known as "phantom" cost of living increases. They also called for extending furloughs to all county agencies, which puts pressure on the powerful public schools, which have rejected them.
By Wednesday, Washington's AFL-CIO chief had canceled endorsement interviews scheduled Thursday for Montgomery candidates.
There are divisions between key members of the AFL-CIO's Metro Washington Council over Montgomery's potential furloughs, making it tougher for the umbrella group to determine who deserves an endorsement.
Here's the email from Metro Washington Council President Joslyn N. Williams:
If the forced, unpaid days off are inevitable, some in the Municipal and County Government Employees Organization have pushed for the furloughs to be extended countywide. That could mean fewer days and a smaller pay cut. The Service Employees International Union Local 500, which represents many school employees, wants to keep the furloughs away from its members, as County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed in his budget.
At issue is whether incumbents who have a history of union-friendly votes will now be shunned by some in the local labor movement. Just how threatened are the political alliances between public employee unions and current officeholders?
May 5, 2010; 11:06 PM ET
Categories: Michael Laris | Tags: AFL-CIO, Labor, Service Employees International Union, Trade union
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