Below Maryland Juice publishes a guest post from Matthew Herrmann, a Democratic Party activist, precinct official, and Democratic club official. In the column below, Herrmann condemns a planned protest by labor leaders of the MoCo Democratic Party's spring ball this weekend:
MORE ON THE LABOR PROTEST OF THE MCDCC BALL SOON!
MATTHEW HERRMANN: "A Petulant Child in Montgomery County"
As a long-time Democratic activist I write in opposition to the proposed boycott of the 2013 Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) fundraiser next week. As Democrats we all support the basic and fundamental tenants of the union movement. However, their proposed actions next week are disappointing and an insult to every Democratic activist and voter in Montgomery County. Unfortunately, their actions resemble a petulant child that has been unable to get their way.
Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO is proposing to boycott the MCDCC annual fundraiser because the MCDCC recommended supporting Question B on the ballot last year. The referendum upheld a unanimous Montgomery County Council decision to eliminate effects bargaining for the police union – a benefit that did not exist for any other workers in the County or any other union for that matter. The unions had asked for a referendum to overturn the unanimous decision by the County Council arguing that it greatly diminished their bargaining rights. As is tradition, the Central Committee called for a meeting of all Democratic activists including precinct chairs, co-chairs, club leaders and other long-time leaders of the party to debate and vote on what position the Democratic party of the county would take on all referendum matters. When it came to Question B, an overwhelming number of Democratic activists in the party, 109 to 14, voted in support of Question B which upheld the County Council decision to eliminate effects bargaining for the police union. As is tradition and the general rules of the party, the Central Committee voted to affirm the vote of activists and provided the result of that vote to voters on a sample ballot during last year’s election.
I respect the union’s right to organize and protest this decision by party activists. In fact, I fight every day to protect that right for unions and individuals. What I find appalling is that the union is trying to fracture the Democratic Party at an annual event that is critical to the success of the party. An actual picket line of the annual fundraiser would likely lead to a significant loss of funds for the party and potentially put the party at risk for supporting candidates and initiatives in the upcoming 2014 election.
The union’s actions are in direct contravention of a significant majority of Democratic activists and nearly 60% of the entire county’s residents. The union believes that residents of Montgomery County will blindly follow Union positions. As a long-time resident of the County what I love about my home is that the County is full of contentious and active voters. They are well aware of the issues that impact them and vote on the value of the issue. As such, I am also deeply disappointed in some elected officials that have blindly followed the union in boycotting the MCDCC Spring Ball despite the fact that an overwhelming number of activists whom they heavily rely for donations and volunteering supported Question B. I think many activists will weigh their allegiances in the upcoming election carefully on how elected officials act during this difficult period.
Effects’ bargaining is a unique tool that only the police in the county had authority to utilize and very few other organizations in the U.S. Despite false rhetoric to the contrary this repeal has no effect on the union’s basic right to organize and bargain for workers conditions and wages. In fact, it’s ironic that on the same day the union decided to boycott the event the County Council Committee in charge of the union’s wages voted for a 6% pay increase – a well deserved raise given the last several years of fiscal austerity.
I hope the union will sit down and seriously re-consider its proposed boycott of the annual Democratic Party fundraiser. The knee jerk reactions to the party activists vote in favor of question b are tantamount to how North Korea reacts to any push for serious Six Party talks to resolve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. I hope the union leadership will seriously reconsider their picture in light of overwhelming voter and activist support for Question B. They may not agree with us but the decisions were made on solid facts. I don’t always agree with the results of referendum in Montgomery County but most party activists support the ultimate decisions of voters in the County and certainly do not hold worthwhile causes hostage after the vote. The effect of a boycott on the annual fundraiser will only further hurt the union’s efforts in larger policy issues in the coming issues. I urge the union to recognize the by-product of a fair and transparent democratic process and move on to bigger and more important issues. Any action to the contrary is merely spiteful and is smack in the face to activists that have, for a long time, fought and supported initiatives that are good for the working man and woman.
Democratic Party Activist – Precinct Official
Democratic Club Official
MORE ON THE LABOR PROTEST OF THE MCDCC BALL SOON!