Loose Lips

Public Employee Union Backs Gray

Back in September, Geo T. Johnson, the executive director of the District's AFSCME local, predicted that his members would back Vince Gray if the mayor ran for re-election. Johnson's prediction came true today, with Gray's campaign and the union set to announce later this morning that the union is endorsing Gray for another term.

Johnson didn't respond to a request for comment about the endorsement, but it's not much of a surprise. After Gray alienated other District labor types by vetoing the Large Retailer Accountability Act, Johnson held strong. Gray, Johnson said, had delivered on promised salary bumps that he made to the union that represents thousands of District employees when they endorsed him in 2010.

"As long as Gray is in the picture, that's going to be our horse," Johnson told LL.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Tom M

    Let's look at the overall tally of AFSCME's local support/endorsements through the years -- Challenger Gray in the 2010 primary; Harry Thomas Jr in his go round; Jim Graham at various stages; Vincent Orange at least in the 2011 At Large. If they also backed Kwame and Barry, they have the full slate of either in jail, under investigation, or going to be in jail some day soon. Quite a "caucus" of personalities. I guess if law breaking by public officials serves your interests, you should consistently back the public officials with a clear inclination to break or skirt the laws!!! Go AFSCME...?

  • Typical DC BS

    Just another example of why public sector unions need to be abolished. In no other industry do you get to "endorse" your boss who decides your raises/working conditions, raise money to elect them and also provide manpower to "get out the vote".

  • Corky

    Oh, so public sector unions should be abolished because they don't support your candidate? That's real BS. These unions do more than just endorse candidates, they actually represent their members. And when corporate lobbyists are prevented from supporting campaigns, we can talk about union political activity. At least AFSCME has members who actually live in DC, unlike most FOP (MPD) members who are are whining about their pay raises that they will spend in MD and VA.

  • drez

    Gotta side with Corky on this one.

  • dan

    Right on Corky.

  • DCShadyBoots

    I must admit, AFSCME workers, whose who can still afford it, have a vested interest in the affairs of the District of Columbia because they live here, raise their families here and work here.

    The last time there was a wholesale termination of District workers due to trumped up "budget pressures" it was their members who suffered the most.

  • noodlez


  • Corky


  • Typical DC BS

    Since it's the usual liberal mental midgets who are too stupid to see the inherent conflict with unions being able to elect the bosses who shovel OUR tax money back to them, while NOT looking after taxpayer interests, it doesn't surprise me they comment that way.

    They must also be fine with DC City councilmembers being able hold "full-time" private sector jobs while holding their six-figure "part-time" DC council seats. SAME CONFLICT.

  • Typical DC BS

    No Corky, I don't support ANYONE the unions endorse, because you know damn well there is a quid pro quo there, that is in direct conflict with their REAL bosses - voters and taxpayers.

  • DCShadyBoots

    Union members and their families pay taxes just like every other resident of the District of Columbia. I'm not in a union but am not anti-union because some partisan talking head tells me I should. I don't have to be "given" my opinion each day from Fox news.

  • Corky

    Typical BS'er--there is no more conflict of interest in a union representing public workers (as if workers give up all rights because they work for the city) and developers donating to politicians who vote on development contracts and land deals and stadium give aways. Your problem is that you just don't like unions or worker rights and you are trying to hide behind some ethical nonsense. Sorry, but us "mental midgets" aren't as stupid as you think.

  • S.E.

    "They must also be fine with DC City councilmembers being able hold "full-time" private sector jobs while holding their six-figure "part-time" DC council seats. SAME CONFLICT".

    And HOW do YOU suggest we change this?

  • GoldCoastKid

    Public sector unions have too much power. All they do is protect bad employees. I'm not saying to do away with them but these days they literally have a stranglehold on the District.

  • Dan

    Had the unions backed anyone other than Mayor Gray, I am not sure we would hear too much fuss.

  • Typical DC BS

    @DC ShadyBoots & Corky: Private sector unions are just fine because there is a somewhat level playing field between management and unions. But even FDR was COMPLETELY against public sector unions because he saw the conflicts inherent in unions being able to dictate to elected officials that OWED unions who put them in office to be far too lenient with taxpayer money AND with ridiculous union-dictated "working conditions" that make it all but impossible to fire incompetent or crooked employees. Perfect example - the recent grilling of Chief Lanier over the DCPD being FORCED to hire back dozens of crooked cops because of minor technicalities in their termination process.

    Nice you are so cavalier with taxpayer money.

  • Typical DC BS

    @S.E.: very easy problem to solve - make ALL DC councilmembers give up their "full-time" jobs. If you can't live on a six-figure DC councilmember's salary, you shouldn't be a councilmember. There are NO other major cities that allow this obvious conflict of interest.

  • Ben

    Gotta agree with Corky on this one.

    However, I do agree to the huge problems with this:

    "DC City councilmembers being able hold "full-time" private sector jobs while holding their six-figure "part-time" DC council seats."

    Catania and Evans, anyone???

  • Ben

    @TypicalDCBS: I work for a private-sector union. You are COMPLETELY wrong that there's a remotely level playing field between labor and mgmt in the private sector. Do you have personal experience with labor negotiations?

  • DCShadyBoots

    Collective Bargaining Agreements, in government, are entered into by Mayor's, Governor's etc. and Union Leadership. Today, many jobs in government are not unionized. The opposite of the leverage that some say public unions have over government would be an overzealous executive. Case in point, nearly 1600 union employees lost their jobs under previous Mayor Adrian Fenty for no other reason other than trumped up "budget pressures", when found to be false, none were offered their jobs back. In another case after Bonita Jacks killed her kids, social workers with unbearable case loads were summarily fired, never mind the mismanagement of the executive appointee of of Child and Family Services. We need a balance. It is lazy to dump any group of any people into one box. It cast the appearance of an individual who is dependent on a news or radio personality to GIVE them an opinion one way or the other.