The Greater Washington Central Labor Council, long time admirers of City Councilman Douglas E. Moore's running verbal attacks on Washington's business community, has endorsed the maverick politician over his frontrunning opponent Councilman Arrington Dixon in the council chairman's race.
At a Monday night meeting, about 100 labor delegates "unanimously" endorsed Moore, said one union official, while criticizing Dixon and the "business candidate."
Moore has enjoyed close ties to the city's labor leadership, because of his support of measures organized labor wants to see enacted into law. He is seen as a strong advocate of liberal eligibility requirements for unemployment compensation benefits, tougher rent control measures and unionization of retail and commercial outlets.
Dixon angered the city's labor leadership last fall when he was seen by them as one of seven council members who pushed a rent control emergency measure that would allow most landlords to raise rents in a range from 2 percent up to 10 percent.
Most of the city's top labor leadership, such as labor council president Robrt E. Petersen and Ronald R. Richardson, secretary-treasurer of Hotel and Restaurant Employes Local 25, previously have expressed preference for Moore over Dixon.
"Doug has supported overwhelmingly and consistently the causes of workers of the District of Columbia," Petersen said yesterday.
Richardson criticized Dixon as having "no feeling for the working man as to make it impossible (for us) to consider him" for an endorsement. "He's a business candidate and I don't think the workers in this city are going to elect him."
Dixon, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was on military duty at Fort Meade yesterday and could not be reached for comment but his campaign spokes person, Adrien Zubrin, read a prepared statement in response to Richardson's criticisms.
"Although we are disappointed by the central labor council endorsement, our sources told us months ago that we could not expect their endorsement," Zubrin said. "We feel confident, however, that we will win the endorsement of the rank and file labor movement on Sept. 12," the date for the Democratic primary election.
Moore is one of the four persons on the 1-member council well liked by the city's labor leadership. Two others, Hilda Mason (S-At Large) and David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), also were endorsed by the labor council in their reelection bids. The fourth, Wilhelmina Rolark, (D-Ward 8) is not up for reelection this year.
In other contested seats, the delegates voted to support two challengers to incumbents in the Democratic primary, school teacher and delegate to the labor council from the Washington Teachers Union, Roland Rier for the Ward 5 seat and businesswoman Patricia Rice Press in Ward 6.
The delegates were sharply divided over whom to support among Democratic candidates running for the second at-large seat. Of nine candidates seeking that seat, the delegates got into a spirited argument over whom to support: school board member Betty Anne Kane, Moore's staff aide Absalom F. Jordan Jr., businessman H. R. Crawford or activist Marie S. Nahikian, Petersen said.
"There was a lot of discussion and the meeting at that point was chaotic," said Richardson. The delegates then caucused in separate groups and decided that they would withhold unified union support from all four candidates, Richardson added.
Labor council president Petersen said the City Council candidates they endorse will receive the same support they are planning to give the mayor, who was endorsed in May.
"We'll send out one or two mailings to our memberships, work outphone banks and pass out sample ballots at the polls on election day indicating the candidates the Labor Council favors Petersen said. The labor council represents 145 unions with total membership of 200,000 rank and file members in the Washington area.