New York State AFL-CIO

christine karatnytsky christinekaratnytsky at
Wed Aug 30 11:01:09 PDT 2000

Apropos of the announcement of the AFL-CIO's "virtual" Labor Day celebration, I thought LBO-ers might be interested in some altogether discouraging news about the state of what can only be called virtual labor in New York--

I just spent the past two days as an AFSCME delegate to the New York State AFL-CIO convention. Despite the AFL's endorsement of Hillary Clinton as a Senate candidate, not to mention her speech reaffirming the traditonal ties of the Democratic Party to the labor movement, with few exceptions, big labor in New York has endorsed EVERY Republican incumbent running for re-election in the state. 35 out of 60 seats in the Senate. It's quite stunning: They've endorsed Frank Padavan, Serphin Maltese and Guy Velella. I mean, these guys are by-the-book racist right wingers. The sad story is repeated for Congressional and Assembly candidates.

The reason? According to Denis Hughes, president of the NYS AFL-CIO, who had to answer questions from the floor from my local president and the president of our sister blue collar local, labor wants to stand behind the candidates who have stood by them. Huh? We've been getting screwed by Albany since Mike Quill died as far as I'm concerned, but it's enough, at least as far as AFSCME goes, that George Pataki just signed a bill enacting pension reform for public workers. Big deal. They voted "right" for us, says Hughes. It matters not a whit that they vote right-wing the rest of the time.

Out of sex hundred some-odd delegates, there were only two "nays" on vote after vote for these Republicans, mine and my president's. The rest of the minority contingent didn't even bother. By the end of the day, every time we shouted out our disaproval, the hall erupted into laughter. We had to laugh, too, cause we'll all be crying on Election Day.

Forget about any third party candidates, or a discussion about voting Nader over Gore. The guys running the show are deep in Albany's back pocket.

Chris Karatnytsky

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