Loose Lips

Tommy Wells Sides With Union at Shaw Giant Opening

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Wells (left) and AFL-CIO head Joslyn Williams (center) wait to deliver petitions

District ribbon cuttings aren't generally known for their controversy, with political rivals willing to make nice at least as long as they're holding those big scissors. Mayoral hopeful and Ward 6 councilmember Tommy Wells took a different approach at last night's O Street Market Giant opening in Shaw, though, helping union workers pull off a protest of the tony new store.

Wells, along with rival candidate Jack Evans and Ward 6 candidate and ex-Wells chief of staff Charles Allen, joined United Food and Commercial Workers members picketing the new store over a contract dispute with Giant.  After Evans went inside to the ribbon-cutting, though, Wells teamed up with local AFL-CIO head Joslyn Williams and Rev. Graylan Hagler (of "itty bitty cracker corporation" fame) in an attempt to deliver petitions calling on Giant to reach an agreement with its workers.

Wells and the labor activists made for a surprising trio, since both Williams and Hagler were at odds with Wells months earlier over his vote against the Large Retailer Accountability Act. With the store's manager nowhere to be found, Hagler, Williams, and Wells decided to go to the Giant's cafe, where District worthies like Vince Gray, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Evans waited to cut the ribbon on the new store.

The thick crowd by the cafe stymied the labor entourage, so Wells took the petitions himself and went over to the mic.

When Wells went to speak, he was decidedly less enthusiastic about the new store than Gray or Evans. "While we love Giant coming to the neighborhood, we need Giant to get an agreement with the workers," Wells told the crowd.

Later, Wells hung back when it came time to cut the ribbon. But Giant management on the lookout for the newly radical Wells don't need to worry about him stirring up more trouble—he says he won't cross the picket line again until the union gets a new contract.

Photo by Will Sommer

  • White Boomer

    I used to like Wells until he decided to run for Mayor and then all of his decisions are predicated on trying to win over any voter that fogs up a mirror. To use the Grand Opening for this is disgraceful and made him look like a fool. I'm glad you won't cross the picket line -- I don't wanna see his simple ass in the store while I'm there.

  • Will

    If the Large Retailer Accountability Act would have been passed it obviously would have given the Giant workers tremendous leverage in their negotiations. What a cynical and lame move by Wells. He is so transparent it is embarrassing. Should have voted for the Act if he was concerned about fair wages for District Service Workers.

  • Jim Ed

    It's ironic that the candidate who wears the self-given crown of ethic has been reduced to such blatantly cynical pandering. He's only one step away from standing at the dais and yelling "I am go-go!" at the top of his lungs.

  • DC4ME

    What a joke! Wells fights for unionized grocery store employees (Who make far less than 12.50/hr) while encouraging 2,3 and 4 new ununionized Harris Tetters and Whole Foods to Ward 6. That hypocrite tommy boy sure does butter both sides of his bread!

  • Tyrone

    Tommy Wells is a dirty used car salesman. He does not stand for anything other than himself.

  • http://www.vote4tillman2014.org Dr. Shelonda P. Tillman

    Hello my name is Dr. Shelonda Tillman. I have been a Ward 6 resident for 37 years. I am running for Ward 6 Concilwoman and I wanted to share my background and political platform with each of you. I am not interested in the business as usual political genre that has plagued our City and ward for years. It is time to climb a STEEP mountain and focus on issues such as Seniors, Transportation, Education, Ethics, People, and Pets in our community. In the near future, I would love to speak with each of you and the residents of our wards in reference to issues that many of our residents have and how we can better manage Ward 6. I do not consider myself a politician by any means. My family migrated to this ward in 1954 and my legacy has called me to become a resource allocator that creates a framework of goals centered around my neighbors ideas, dreams, and vision to make Ward 6 the beacon of our City.

    Please log on to my website to learn more about me: http://www.vote4tillman2014.org

    I am also on FB at Candidate S.P.Tillman as well as Twitter @Dr.S.P. Tillman.

    I am hosting several family friendly meet and greets throughout the Ward and I encourage parents to bring their children. I look forward to meeting you all!!!

  • groleo

    Tommys a fighter and I got deep respect for that man, he only opposed the LRA bill becouse it didnt go far enough he wants a living wage FOR ALL

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  • Ward-8

    Tommy the snake oil salesman at it again, he wasn't interested in helping labor when Wal-mart came calling about not wanting to pay a living wage however, know all of sudden these old low information voters will forgot about his vote supporting billionaires cause I want to be your Mayor. I will tell him just as I told those Bowser canvassers in my neighborhood, I heard Wal-Mart have openings for professional ass kissers. Go figure

  • Andrea Rosen

    Will has it exactly right. I was at the Giant opening gala and both Wells and Evans were manipulated into their pro-labor stance. Groleo, sorry, but that is so not the case that Tommy didn't support the LRAA because it didn't go far enough. Tommy came up with a new reason at least weekly (sometimes semi-weekly) as to why he wouldn't support the LRAA, and towards the end, those reasons were either misunderstandings of the bill or outright lies. His favorite, and mine, was that the church ladies shouldn't have to take a bus out to the Walmarts in Maryland. Yes, I believe they teach that in the finest public policy graduate programs. (Ironically, even comically, the Walmart at 1st and H is literally next door to said church. Now the church ladies can walk to Walmart after services!) If Tommy wanted a living wage for all, he would have introduced a bill that went beyond simply calling whatever meager amount he specified a living wage for all. I hope he has the decency to not renege on his support for the bill just passed by V. Orange's committee.