Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Queens Machine at odds with union over Speaker

From Crain's:

In the rest of the country, organized labor has been on the decline for decades. But following a highly successful 2013 election season in New York City, unions here have suddenly taken a seat at the table once reserved for the city's most powerful Democratic leaders.

The local political world now has moved its attention to the campaign for city government's second-most-powerful seat, City Council speaker. The vote of the council's 51 members won't happen until January, but the behind-the-scenes process has already yielded an eyebrow-raising move that demonstrates the political and legislative gains unions are likely to make in the coming years.

A top union official who was labor's lead negotiator in the deal to pass landmark paid-sick-leave legislation this year is now the chief negotiator for the council's Progressive Caucus in the horse-trading that will determine the next speaker. Alison Hirsh, the political director of the influential building workers' union, 32BJ SEIU, is bargaining with the county Democratic bosses who control other blocs of votes in the race.

A recent negotiating snafu demonstrates the conflict between the city's old and new political forces. About three weeks ago, council members from Queens who are part of the Progressive Caucus scheduled a meeting at the Queens office of law firm Sweeney Gallo Reich & Bolz. The firm's partners run the day-to-day operations of the borough's Democratic Party, and the progressives hoped to persuade them to partner in lining up the 26 votes needed to elect a speaker.

Just hours before the meeting, the leaders of the Queens Democratic machine learned that Ms. Hirsh of 32BJ would attend in her capacity as lead negotiator, according to multiple sources. The Democratic leadership, whose executive director declined to comment, demanded that only elected officials be allowed in the room.

The Progressive Caucus refused, and the meeting was canceled, sparking tensions between the two most powerful forces in this year's speaker race. A flurry of phone calls seeking to mend the rift has ensued, according to sources.

"Folks who were used to deciding things themselves are upset," one Progressive Caucus member said. "There's someone new that's going to make decisions."


Anonymous said...

Quinn loving "Stonewall" Jimmy Van Bramer is listed as one of the 'progressives' which gives you an idea of how 'progressive' they really are.

Anonymous said...

So Virginia Joe Crowley just got his nuts deflated!
Good! Stay in Virginia, Joe!

Anonymous said...

Quinn is a lesbian and Van Bramer is gay.

And Christmas is coming up soon.
"Don we now our gay apparel...
fa la la...fa la la...fa, la, la".

We'd better watch out for the Grinch.

New York isn't safe from Bloomberg yet.

Gary the Agnostic said...

I would believe that Crowley is puxhing Mark Weprin, but is that actually the case?

Anonymous said...

We are "progressing" to Detroit.

The only question is what will kill the city faster? Total surrender to the demands of city employee unions, or a full funding for every leftist agenda item? Neither one can be stopped.

georgetheatheist said...

Man the barricades!!!

Crowley and Reich holding off the waves of the Commie hordes.

Anonymous said...

A battle of leftists. Not an ounce of difference between them.

Anonymous said...


Leave your personal ideology at the door.

This has NOTHING to do with ideology and everything to do with power.

County has owned all of the infrastructural contracts - totaling billions of dollars a year - for decades as well as the plum prize: 10% of estates and wills when their handpicked judges are in place. Also, prime City Council committee assignments to continue to grease the development wheels of Queens.

This is just a power play and it's the first time that County has been challenged. Remember, Christine Quinn and Gifford Miller were both "Queens" Speakers.

The Progressive Caucus is flexing their muscles - and muscles they have! - to decide what THEY want instead of County, and it's pissing them off.

georgetheatheist said...

This site is so-o-o educational.


Anonymous said...

Unions win. Other groups favored by the lefties lose.

Why? The unions can withhold money from the pols who don't vote their way and fund challengers - and everyone knows it.

The clients of the lefties from an inmate at Five Pointz or Rikers, to the 20th family member to arrive from Mexico City, Islamabad, or Shanghai in Queens (welcome to the US, by the way) - they have no leverage and will vote (D) no matter who is on the ballot and everyone knows it.

There's a reason to call it organized labor

Anonymous said...

Hi Progressive Caucaus? Hello Labor Unions? Goodbye New York City, I loved you so much.