On Tuesday, the American Federcation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2629 – Louisville Metro Government Workers – met with mayoral candidates Greg Fischer and Jim King.
And guess what? Despite what Fischer’s folks have been telling me for weeks, the union decided to wait things out/weight all the candidates without potentially jumping the gun.
Read the full thing for yourself:
On Tuesday, January 26 the American Federation of State County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME) Local 2629 held its General Membership meeting. Appearing at this meeting were two candidates for Mayor, Greg Fischer and Jim King. Each candidate was given fifteen or twenty minutes to speak before taking questions from the membership. This appearance was different than most made by Mayoral candidates, because the group they were speaking to this time doesn’t just live in the jurisdiction that will be governed by the next Mayor, they will also be working for him.
Back in December, AFSCME Council 62 (which Local 2629 belongs to) held a candidates forum, attended by Fischer and King as well as David Tandy and Chris Theineman. Despite the fact that a decision was made not to make an endorsement at that time, King and Fischer both remained in contact with Metro Louisville’s AFSCME contingent. Both candidates asked for another opportunity to speak with our membership and we agreed to give them time at our regular membership meeting. Our members will be affected by the administration of the next Mayor in ways that other Metro Louisville citizens will not be. Not only will our next contracts be negotiated with the next Mayor, but some of our very jobs are dependent on his or her ability to navigate our tumultuous economy. Because the election of our next Mayor is such an important issue for our members, we have opted to leave our doors open to any candidate who wants to speak to us, at least until AFSCME officially endorses a candidate. As the president of this Local, I believe that whether or not AFSCME eventually makes an endorsement, our members deserve every possible opportunity to meet and question the people who in a few short months may be in a position to affect the livelihood of us and our families.
Despite no decision being made as to our Local’s stance in this year’s Mayoral race, the atmosphere was much different than what we experienced at the official “forum” in December. Some of our members were moved by the candidates, and a motion was even brought to the floor to endorse one of them. The motion was not passed, not due to apathy but because the members present wanted more involvement. There was a profound interest in our Union becoming involved in this campaign, but not before getting more exposure from other candidates. Our meeting was held the night of the filing deadline, and it was pointed out that several candidates had announced their candidacy after our December forum.
While we want to see what the other candidates have to offer as well, the general consensus seemed to be that our Local does not want to sit on the sidelines and watch as everyone else decides who will end up signing our checks. So, for now we will watch and learn, and encourage our members and affiliate groups to take advantage of any opportunity to go out and see and question the candidates as they can, whether at our meetings or other forums around the County. Then we will act, as some of our members already are, working for the candidates we believe are the best for us and our community. Finally, whether or not AFSCME makes any official endorsement, we will decide.
President AFSCME Local 2629