UPDATE: Senator Roger Manno released the following response to Del. Dumais' letter on his website today:
ROGER MANNO: In reading the following letter regarding the Montgomery County Labor Boycott, I think this discussion needs some context.A Maryland Juice source leaked to us the following email from Delegate Kathleen Dumais (a MoCo Democrat) to some of her colleagues in the Assembly. Her message highlights the potential consequences of the labor protest of this weekend's Democratic Party ball:
Regardless of whether you support collective bargaining or Question B, the issue is: Whether a major financial contributor (organized labor) to the Party should reasonably expect that its financial resources would not be used by the Party, in a county-wide mailing to all members of the Party, in order to reduce the rights of that contributor's members.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kathleen M. Dumais <XXXXX>
Date: Thu, May 9, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Subject: MCDCC Spring Ball: Consequences of the Boycott/Picket by the FOP, AFL-CIO, and Others
To: "Kathleen M. Dumais" <XXXXX>
Clearly, we've all received communications from the AFL-CIO, Progressive Maryland and others asking that we "boycott/picket" the Spring Ball on Saturday because the MCDCC supported Question B on the Ballot in the general election last year. This is very unfortunate and we will all feel the consequences in 2014 when we look to the MCDCC during the election for assistance, as will all of the new, fresh candidates yet to be identified - and who labor and some of the groups supporting the boycott/picket will be promoting.
First, as we all know and regardless of our individual positions on Question B, the Central Committee did not support Question B in a vacuum. Just as each of the labor organizations have a process for vetting issues, so does the Montgomery County Democratic Party. All of the Ballot Questions were submitted to a Ballot Questions Advisory Committee (BQAC) which reviewed each of the questions and prepared a report. On September 19, 2012 the Precinct Organization met to adopt a position on each question. Presentations by proponents and opponents were made on each question after a member of the BQAC discussed the committee's position. The Precinct Organization then voted on each question and the vote on Question B was 109 in favor and 14 against. Exactly what does labor believe the members of the Central Committee should have done after the vote? Ignore the vote of the Precinct Organization and not put the result on the sample ballot just because it was against a "labor" issue? Remember, the police union petitioned the question to the ballot. Would labor leadership have the authority to ignore the vote of their membership if they disagreed with it? I doubt it.
So, where are we now and what are the consequences? Be prepared to contribute heavily to the MCDCC sample ballot for the November general election. I just learned that as of today, MCDCC is in the hole financially for the event on Saturday night with the low number of reservations, cancellations and the fact that with low turnout the silent auction will probably be a complete bust. Further, at this point, the MCDCC leaders believe that at a minimum they will have to cut staff and stop mailing newsletters. They also may have to close the office in Kensington based on the amount they anticipate losing on the event. Certainly doesn't bode well for what the MCDCC will be able to accomplish for Montgomery County democratic candidates 2014 -- incumbents and new candidates. Just FYI -- in 2006, my contribution to the sample ballot was $750; in 2010 my contribution was $830. I suggest we each budget much more than that for 2014. Assuming the purpose of the boycott/picket was to cripple the Montgomery County Democratic Party - mission accomplished.
But, I certainly cannot say job well done because this is a clear case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Lord knows I do not always agree with the MCDCC but, during the general elections their assistance is invaluable and the sample ballot - particularly for first time candidates is, as they say "priceless." However, by killing the primary fundraiser for the party, the sample ballot for 2014 probably won't be priceless.
Let's be honest, not one Montgomery County elected official, precinct official or member of the Democratic Central Committee is anti-labor. Whatever our individual positions may have been on Question B, boycotting/picketing the MCDCC Spring Ball is certainly not an effective remedy given that the MCDCC has absolutely no authority to change the law! Although this is obvious, MCDCC is NOT an employer or a party to any contract involved with the bargaining rights that are the subject of Question B and the event on Saturday night is simply a Democratic Party fundraiser. Therefore, calling whatever the action is that takes place on Saturday a "picket" line is absolutely outrageous. This is NOT a picket line. This is NOT striking workers protesting a grievance against an employer for unsafe work conditions or poor wages or loss of collective bargaining rights!
Apparently labor and other organizations were and are unhappy that in a transparent, democratic process they lost the vote on Question B at the MCDCC, and ultimately in the general election. I am the first one to acknowledge that the MCDCC Ballot Committee/Precinct Official meeting where the Ballot Question votes were taken was one of the most absurd, poorly run meetings I've ever witnessed - but there was an opportunity for both sides to make a presentation and then there was a VOTE.
I have never seen anything like this. But, I am going to the Spring Ball. The democratic volunteers that worked hard to put this event together and that work on all of our campaigns do not deserve to be treated this way - particularly when this boycott/picket is just plain wrong. It was a ballot question! It was voted on by the precinct organization like ALL of the other ballot questions.
When we are asked next Fall to kick in hefty sums for the sample ballot, we should all remember why the price tag is higher for the 2014 election. If no one answers the phone at the Montgomery County Democratic Party office in the near future - we should also remember why.
Legislatively, I vote with labor and will continue to do so. But I disagree with the proposed boycott/picket because I do not think it is properly directed. There were and are ways to make the point that labor issues are important - and the best way to do that would be for labor to attend the Spring Ball and communicate with the Democratic Party volunteers and Precinct Officials! Again, the consequences of this action may actually hurt candidates that I believe the organizations promoting the boycott/picket support - whether incumbents or new, fresh faces in 2014. (And, yes, I understand - I may not be one of the ones supported!)
Just my thoughts.
P.S. In case you haven't seen it - below is a copy of the Post Editorial on this topic from this morning.
Kathleen M. Dumais