Friday, May 3, 2013

Unions Picketing MoCo Democratic Party Fundraiser // Anthony Brown, 2014 AG Candidates, Young Dems & More Join Effort

All week Maryland Juice has been hearing murmurs about a possible protest by labor unions at the Montgomery County Democratic Party's (MCDCC) May 11th annual fundraising event. It turns out the picket line has been given the green light, and the MCDCC's annual spring ball is now becoming a full-blown political controversy. The AFL-CIO Metro Council released the following statement today announcing the formation of a picket line (excerpt below):
AFL-CIO: The metro Washington-area labor movement is boycotting – and picketing -- the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s Spring Ball because the Committee took a position in favor of the 2012 Question B referendum, which took away the police union’s right to bargain the effects of management decisions....
[Metro Council President Jos Williams said] "‘An injury to one is an injury to all’. When the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee decided to support Question B, it not only took sides, it took a position in opposition to organized labor and for that it must pay a price, which in this case is a withdrawal of our – and our friends and allies -- traditional support for the MCDCC Spring Ball, and the establishment of a picket line to publically express our disappointment with the MCDCC.”
Added UFCW 1994 MCGEO president Gino Renne, “Labor will not tolerate being treated as an ATM and foot soldiers for a party which is often indifferent -- and sometimes openly hostile -- to working families in Montgomery county.”

ANTHONY BROWN & BEN CARDIN SUPPORT MCDCC PROTEST // PLUS: SOME DONORS SEEKING REFUNDS - We are now hearing reports of several statewide candidates who are canceling their previous plans to attend the Montgomery County Democrats' spring ball. Additionally, some donors that had previously paid to reserve entire tables are now seeking refunds, which appears to be enraging MoCo Democratic Party officials. This could get ugly, because I'm told that the MCDCC ball is one of the key revenue generators for the MoCo Democratic Party's annual budget. I'm also hearing that the refund requests might not be honored anyway. We shall have to see how this all plays out.

Below Maryland Juice provides statements from several candidates regarding the MCDCC event, along with some background info on what started this conflict. The AFL's statement announcing the picket line also noted that statewide Democratic officials have pledged their support for the labor protest:
AFL-CIO: Senator Ben Cardin (D, MD), Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and the Montgomery County Young Democrats are among those who have announced that they’re honoring a boycott of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s May 11 Spring Ball....

MOCO YOUNG DEMS JOIN PROTEST OF MCDCC - It is interesting to see the Montgomery County Young Democrats participating in this protest, given that their President Dave Kunes is being awarded "Democrat of the Year" at the event. But note that Kunes previously worked for AFSCME.

2014 ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATES CANCEL PLANS TO ATTEND BALL - Maryland Juice today received statements from three out of four candidates for Attorney General announcing they will not cross the picket line at the MCDCC ball. Maryland Juice did not receive a response from Del. Aisha Braveboy by the time we posted this entry, but below you can read remarks from State Senator Brian Frosh and Delegate Bill Frick, along with a press release from Delegate Jon Cardin:

  • STATE SENATOR BRIAN FROSH: I have always valued the support of organized labor and I respect the sanctity of the picket line. I have never crossed a picket line and will not for this event.  Unfortunately, this dispute will prevent me from honoring my dear friend and supporter Madeleine Siegel,  by presenting her with the Rosalie Reilly Lifetime Service Award for her outstanding commitment and contributions to the County Democratic Party.  

  • DELEGATE BILL FRICK: I bought tickets, but won't cross any picket line to use them.


Del. Jon Cardin to Stand with Montgomery County’s Working
Families, Skip Democratic Central Committee Spring Ball

BALTIMORE, MD – Del. Jon Cardin, who is currently laying the groundwork to run for Attorney General, announced today that he would stand in solidarity with Montgomery County’s unions and working families – and not attend this year’s Montgomery County Democratic Central Spring Ball on May 11, 2013.

The Metropolitan Council AFL-CIO and Fraternal Order of Police announced recently that they would boycott the Spring Ball after the Central Committee endorsed Question B on last year’s ballot, which dramatically limited the FOP’s rights to collectively bargain.

“Today and always, I’m proud to stand with the police officers who risk their lives to keep us safe,” Del. Cardin said. “At a time when so many working Marylanders, including our police officers, are having a tough time making ends meet, we should help folks earn a better living – not make it tougher for them to get a fair shake.”

In the Maryland legislature over the past 10 years, Del. Cardin has been a consistent supporter of working families and their right to organize.


BACKGROUND OF THE PROTEST: The original grievance that led to calls for a protest came from Montgomery County's Fraternal Order of Police, who fought with MoCo Democrats over the police officers' "effects bargaining" rights. The County Executive and County Council voted to eliminate these rights, and the police union initiated a referendum (Question B) to fight the policy change during the November 2012 Presidential Election.

But the current conflict with the MCDCC started when MoCo Democrats created and mailed a sample ballot to all registered MoCo Democrats. Their endorsements included a recommendation that Democrats support the elimination of effects bargaining rights. Members of the MCDCC voted overwhelmingly for that recommendation prior to issuing of the sample ballot, and it appears that the FOP is now retaliating against the party for tipping the scales on the issue.

Here's how the FOP described the issue on their 2012 campaign website (excerpt below):
FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: For over 30 years Montgomery County police officers have collectively bargained over issues critical to us and our families, including the effects of the exercise of management rights.... Repealing effects bargaining will set back police labor relations. It will undermine the purpose of the police collective bargaining law which has kept labor peace for over 30 years....

95% of management decisions do not implicate effects bargaining. Effects bargaining does not impede operational decisions. In the 30 years that effects bargaining has been in place, police operations has run smoothly. In fact, so smoothly, that the county has never utilized the process in the law for resolving a dispute over effects within 50 days.... Don’t be fooled into believing that effects bargaining is about requiring police officers to check their email. It is about requiring us to check email when we are on vacation or in the hospital giving birth....

We police officers are concerned about having the resources and training to do our jobs well. We are concerned about the effects of management decisions that impact our schedules, ability to plan time with our families, our vacations, and our time off. We are concerned about fairness in transfers, assignments, and promotions. For over 30 years that effects bargaining has existed, no call has gone unanswered, no report of crime has gone uninvestigated. Simply put, effects bargaining has had no adverse impact on the public. Federal employees and most private sector employees with collective bargaining have the right to bargain collectively over the effects of the exercise of a management right....


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