When Montgomery Democrats party next month, labor may stay home

April 29, 2013

Organized labor is snubbing the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s annual Spring Ball on May 11 because of its support for last November’s Question B ballot measure limiting certain kinds of collective bargaining by Montgomery police.

Joslyn Williams, president of the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, told the committee in a letter last week that the council is urging local affiliates to boycott the fundraising event.

“Given the long and close relationship between the Democratic party and organized labor it was extremely disappointing to see a close ally take such an anti-worker stand, especially when our ‘brothers and sisters in blue’ – who work so long and hard to protect our families, homes and communities – were on the line,” Williams wrote.

Montgomery voters upheld a county law ending the Fraternal Order of Police’s (FOP) right to “effects bargaining,” meaning the right to negotiate the effects of certain management decisions. Under effects bargaining, for example, the FOP spent several years contesting the placement of video cameras in police cruisers, calling for negotiations over the effects the recording of police activity might have on its members.

Committee chair Gabriel Albornoz said in a statement that Montgomery Democrats are “deeply saddened and disappointed” by the decision. But the committee’s support for Question B reflected the sentiment of its members.

“Our precinct organization votes on what they want to be the position of the Democratic Party. In almost all cases the MCDCC affirms this vote, especially when there is significant consensus among precinct officials which was the case regarding Question B. To do otherwise would undermine our grassroots base. “

He added that committee members are “strong believers and supporters of organized labor,” and that they “stand behind the working men and women in this County.”

Williams said support for the ballot measure won’t soon be forgotten.

“Going forward, we — our affiliates and allies — will be taking a very close look at requests for support, endorsement and financial contributions to the party and candidates, as it is difficult to justify support for those who oppose us.”

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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