This past week was good to JLT. The Indiana AFL-CIO endorsed Democrat Jill Long Thompson on Thursday, ending questions about the group’s support for her gubernatorial bid. The group is a federation of 800 local and international unions that represents more than 300,000 Indiana residents.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 62, an AFL-CIO affilliate, also endorsed Long Thompson on Tuesday.
After initial disagreements followed by negotiations, JLT also picked up the endorsement of the UAW, a holdout from the Democratic Convention. An agreement with JLT was finally reached, and, on Friday, August 8th, the Union threw its support behind her. The UAW represents 90,000 working Hoosiers.
Long Thompson has pledged to restore collective bargaining rights for state employees, but the AFL-CIO and UAW wanted her to go further and promise to recognize the two unions that were elected previously to bargain for state employees.
Unions that have endorsed Jill Long Thompson include:
- United Steelworkers;
- Indiana AFL-CIO;
- Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees;
- Service Employee International Union; Communication Workers of America;
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers;
- American Federation of Government Employees;
- Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union;
- United Transportation Union;
- five local Teamsters locals;
- United Food and Commercial Workers Union;
- Indiana International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Daniels, of course, touts his endorsement by the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana (6200 active and 1100 retired firefighters) and the non-union, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Not quite the numbers of the unions endorsing JLT.
Why any union would endorse Daniels is beyond me. On January 11, 2005, one day after he took office, Daniels rescinded the collective bargaining rights and contracts of 23,000 state employees, including 14,000 workers represented by the Unity Team, a joint local of the AFT and the United Auto Workers.
Those collective bargaining rights were gained by state employees in 1989 through an executive order signed by Governor Evan Bayh. Governors since then have honored that order, which permits state employees to negotiate pay, benefits, and work rules.
Daniels not only declined to renew the order but also issued executive orders invalidating existing labor agreements scheduled to run through June 2007. His action affected some 35,000 executive branch employees, two-thirds of whom are represented by unions.
Daniels, while all smiles and aw shucks as he travels the state, has demonstrated by his privatization efforts as well as his stripping of collective bargaining rights that he is no friend of state employees and working Hoosiers.