Conn. Members Say No to a ‘Wisconsin Moment’
October 30, 2014
Bridgeport, Conn., has traditionally been a strong union town.
But if union members stay home Nov. 4, it may not be that way for much longer.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley has endorsed a whole host of extreme anti-worker policies, from repealing a law that requires employers to grant paid sick leave to getting rid of project labor agreements and prevailing wage laws that guarantee a living wage for construction workers on state-funded projects.
He has also been openly supportive of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s elimination of collective bargaining rights for public workers, saying Connecticut needs a “Wisconsin moment.”
That’s why members of Bridgeport Local 488 have been hitting the streets every Saturday, knocking on doors of union members, encouraging them to vote for pro-worker candidates like Gov. Dannel Malloy.
“We tell our members, ‘this election is all about jobs,’” said Local 488 Business Manager Peter Carroll. “I don’t care if you are a Democrat, Republican or independent, you have to vote your job and your rights at work.”
Malloy is a strong supporter of organized labor and the IBEW, backing new infrastructure investments and project labor agreements.
“In recent weeks we’ve heard candidates talk about Connecticut having a ‘Wisconsin moment.’ Well let me say unequivocally — we are not Wisconsin. We are proud that this legislature and Gov. Malloy respect the collective bargaining process,” said Lori Pelletier, head of Connecticut AFL-CIO, at news conference announcing the labor federation’s support for the governor.
Foley, a multimillionaire Wall Street investor, has also been blasted for telling laid-off paper mill workers in Sprague that the plant’s closing was “their fault.”
In addition to labor walks, Local 488 members have sent letters and made phone calls on behalf of union-endorsed candidates.
Bridgeport members are joining with Local 420 members in doing labor walks in nearby Waterbury.
Carroll says approximately 100 hundred IBEW members will help man the polls Nov. 4.
“Foley thinks he can buy this election,” Carroll said. “We’re going to show him that our state is not for sale.”