Of Phone Calls And Delegates (Updated)
Several sources have called in to elaborate on today’s scoop by POLITICO’s Maggie Haberman about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to dump four of the state’s top labor leaders off the DNC at-large delegate list.
According to these sources, the leaders – DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts, PEF President Ken Brynien, CSEA President/state AFL-CIO vice president Danny Donohue, and NYSUT President Richard Ianuzzi – were notified 48 hours ago that they had been unceremoniously removed as delegates and could only be reinstated if they reached out to the Cuomo administration to request that be done.
Several leaders did so, and were subsequently restored. But Iannuzzi, who is now back on the list, was put there despite the fact that he placed no call to Cuomo, according to a source close to the NYSUT president.
After receiving word that he had been bounced, Iannuzzi promptly called the DNC – not Cuomo – the source said, and assumes someone at the national level interceded on his behalf.
“Dick said he was not going to call the governor, did not call the governor and had no interest in calling the governor,” the source said.
UPDATE: According to a source with knowledge of the call, the individual who interceded on Iannuzzi’s behalf with Cuomo was AFT President Randi Weingarten, who has a longstanding relationship with the governor, thanks to her previous post as UFT president.
Also still in DNC delegate limbo is Donohue, who confirmed through a spokesman that he had not reached out to Cuomo and apparently has no plans to do so.
“The facts are, there was never a procedure before requiring calls be made,” said CSEA spokesman Steve Madarasz. “And I can confirm that Danny did not make a call to the governor about this.”
Of the four, Donohue arguably has the worst relationship with Cuomo – at least publicly. There has been some speculation that’s because he’s running for the presidency of AFSCME and doesn’t want to look weak at the national level.
Roberts isn’t far behind in the rhetoric department, however. During a March CapTon interview, she accused Cuomo of “playing cowboy” with Tier 6 and suggested she would prefer a government shutdown to passage of a pension reform plan by the Legislature. (Of course, that didn’t happen).
Both NYSUT and CSEA declined to endorse Cuomo in 2010 (PEF did, but later came to regret it during last year’s difficult contract negotiations, according to Brynien), and Donohue has since said his union is open to backing someone other than Cuomo – assuming that’s even a realistic option – when he seeks re-election in 2014.
The public sector unions have tangled with Cuomo over all sorts of policy issues – from creation of a teacher performance evalution system and Tier 6 to his refusal to reinstate the so-called millionaire’s tax (later assuaged by an overhaul of the state’s entire tax code).
Labor leaders have spoken ominously about the possibility that their tense relationship with the governor could cost him union support when – and if – he should decide to seek the White House in 2016. It appears he still has a lot of patching up to do.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on May 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo, Conventions, Democrats, Labor. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|