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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Teamster's Snake Pit

The "They Had A Lotta Guts" award this week goes to Rick Snyder
and Virg Bernero.
Snyder is the Ann Arbor business guy seeking to translate his lack
of experience in Lansing into a seat in the governor's office. And
Bernero, of course, is the angriest Mayor in American seeking to make
sure he it is he, and not Synder, getting that job.
At any rate, both were invited to attend a meeting of the
Teamster's union political screening committee the other day. And both
showed up, hence the award.
Snyder is a Republican and while the Teamsters have an independent
streak and have endorsed a Republican here and there, it was not
exactly a friendly audience that sat quietly as Snyder pitched his,
"I'm not a career politician" story in hopes of winning a few converts.
Bill Black, who runs the political arm of the union, was
"It takes a lot of nerve. He gets style points for showing-up,"
he reflects.
Now Snyder did not exactly wow the guys in the room when they
asked about the union's top priority the so-called "Mis-classification"
of workers whereby folks are hired as Independent Contractors rather
than regular employees with full benefits.
Snyder, whose been in business for years, told the group he would
have to research the issue a little more before he weighted in.
Even so Black was still nice saying, "That's the type of person he
is to show up anywhere and anytime" to talk about his candidacy.
Bernero also got good marks for showing up in that he has had
problems with his local Teamsters union including some unfair labor
practices and a not so smooth recent round of contract talks. But yet
there he was pitching his pro-union and populous message.
Black had warned his members to be respectful to everyone.
Why did he have to do that?
"These are the Teamsters,' he joked "who like to tell you what's
on their mind."
But he correctly asked them to be nice because, "You don't know
who the next governor is going to be."
Synder and Bernero, of course, hope it will be them which is why
they waded into the snake pit in the first place.


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