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Thursday, May 18, 2006

So much for that Lieberman support from labor

Seems like the unions are distancing themselves from President Bush's favorite Democrat.
"I was the first union leader to endorse Joe Lieberman against Lowell Weicker" in 1988, says Steve Perruccio. Eighteen years later, "I'm very disappointed in his years in the Senate." Perruccio's 7,000-member Connecticut Employees Union Independent hasn't gone so far as to endorse Lieberman's Democratic challenger, upstart Ned Lamont. But CEUI president Perruccio says that whatever his union eventually decides, "it won't be endorsing Joe Lieberman."

Perruccio and his union of state and municipal employees have lots of company. As Democratic delegates prepare to endorse a Senate candidate at Friday's party convention in Hartford, organized laborincluding unions that have supported Lieberman beforehas largely decided to sit out the Lieberman-Lamont contest.


About a dozen unions, mostly smallish locals, have endorsed the the three-term incumbent. But Lieberman's in-your-face support for an unpopular war and an unpopular president has turned many working people against him, especially union activists.

At the same time, labor Democrats are more interested in unseating a Republican governor and three Republican members of Congress than in replacing a generally pro-labor Democrat Lieberman's lifetime AFL-CIO voting record is 84 percentwith a kinder, gentler Dem.

Paul Filson of the Service Employees International Union sums it up:

"Joe Lieberman's support of the war and many of the Bush initiatives and nominations have been bad for workers in general. That's caused a lot of consternation and concern and anger among members,"
says Filson, director of the SEIU's 55,000-member Connecticut council. "On the other hand, on many direct labor votes, Joe Lieberman has as good a record as Chris Dodd or any other Democrat in the Senate. So it's hard for the union to figure out what to do."

As a result, the SEIU will probably do nothing.
Oh Joe, you have problems.