Loose Lips

Not Every Union Is Mad At Vince Gray

LL's column this week is about what Mayor Vince Gray's veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act means for his relationship with unions. It's not good—Joslyn Williams, the local AFL-CIO head, says he doubts that Gray, the 2010 darling of labor, could get their endorsement if he runs again.

But not every union is threatening to pull its support from Gray. At least one, in fact, loves him. After WCP's print deadline yesterday, LL got a call from George Johnson, the executive director of the Local 20 branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, and he couldn't say enough nice things about the mayor.

Like the rest of D.C. labor, Johnson, whose union represents District government employees, first supported Gray in 2010 because of anger at then-mayor Adrian Fenty. "Fenty was a piece of garbage," he says.

Unlike other labor leaders, though, Johnson says Gray kept his promise to his union. LRAA veto aside, Johnson expects his union will be back to help the mayor in 2014.

Johnson also hasn't been swayed by the major candidates who have already declared for 2014: Muriel Bowser, Tommy Wells, and Jack Evans. "As long as Gray is in the picture, that's going to be our horse," says Johnson.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • Murph

    I wonder if this is because Gray was willing to fund the furlough days imposed upon city employees, once funding became available to do so. He's also been outspoken against sequestration. I'm not sure what criteria AFSCME uses to decide which candidate to back though.

  • truth hurts

    What a pathetic state of affairs. Johnson sees nothing wrong with a mayor refusing to answer questions about whether he committed massive campaign finance fraud.