Last Thursday before the budget was finalized, Governor Andrew Cuomo began reaching out to labor leaders. He invited them to a 3p meeting on Tuesday April 3rd at the Capital Grille on 42nd Street, not far from Cuomo’s East side office. At that meeting were the State’s key labor leaders or their surrogates, along with IDC Leader Jeff Klein, Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Congressman Joe Crowley. Some say Klein knew what was about to happen others say he did not. Stewart-Cousins definitely did not.

Cuomo had the floor. He told attendees that like his father, he learned early on that you can’t “retrade.” It’s fine to look ahead to the special elections on April 24th, but that is not good enough. The two Democratic factions must come together immediately, even if that means Klein sitting in the minority, something he has been loathe to do. Cuomo announced that Klein must “end the IDC altogether.” Stewart-Cousins will be sole leader of a reunited Democratic party and Klein will serve as a Deputy. Senator Michael Gianaris will remain in his leadership post.

As one Democratic insider put it, “we can now leave this ugly chapter behind us and work together as one party.”

Yesterday’s meeting lasted two hours. It was described as very clandestine with many of the participants unaware of who else would be invited. When everyone arrived, it was a little bit like one of those murder mystery themed dinner parties.

The meeting ended with Klein and Stewart-Cousins shaking hands, but was contingent upon a conference call this morning between Stewart-Cousins and her members. Sources say the mainline Democrats have agreed to accept the terms of the renewed reunification deal. Originally, it was not supposed to happen until after the special election April 24th. But the primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon against Governor Cuomo prompted him to take immediate action. There is still a long way to go before Democrats can oust Republicans from control of the State Senate and form a majority. Democrats must win both seats in the special election, then Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder must agree to come back into the fold, which is highly questionable. Even then, the rules of the Senate may prevent a simple change of leadership.

But all of that seems besides the point. Cuomo sensed the shift in the political winds. And realized he had to inoculate himself against this particular line of attack from Nixon, which is that the Governor blessed this arrangement of a divided party while also empowering Republicans. The question now is will that be enough for Cuomo among the activist base of the party?

Finally the Klein factor is interesting here. If he had agreed to go back late last year, he probably would have secured himself a co-leader position with Stewart-Cousins. That deal is no longer on the table. Without Cuomo’s support, he has nowhere else to go. Might as well negotiate the terms of your surrender before your options get even worse.