Gaffney's Neck Exposed
Michigan? To be sure this is not your daddy's blue collar union when
union bosses really were bosses and when they bellowed, "Jump", the
rank and file leaped.
The labor movement has been on a Jenny Craig diet for years with
declining membership and with fewer members making less money, the
political cupboards of the state AFL-CIO may not not be bare but some
of the shelves have collected some dust.
Which brings us to one Mark Gaffney who runs the union of 450,000
current members and about the same amount of retirees, assuming most of
them have not shuffled off to Florida.
The affable Mr. Gaffney's neck is on the block and by November
third we will know whether someone will use an axe.
After basking in the glow of the 2008 election that promised
"change and hope," President Gaffney is hoping to rekindle that same
passion that union members had for Barack Obama and re channel it into
a vote for Virg Bernero for governor.
Gaffney thinks the two are comparable.
"We have to instill the same excitement in our membership that was
there in 2008…It's not there yet…(and) Virg Bernero, when you think
about it, is the most like Barack Obama in 2008," he asserts.
But currently union households have not linked the two and the
passion Gaffney hopes to stir up is but a gleam in his eye. In fact in
the latest poll, most of the union vote goes for the guy Gaffney would
give his right, well let's just say his right arm to defeat, namely
House Democratic Speaker Andy Dillon.
"Those folks will reverse,' Gaffney boldly predicts with all his
fingers and toes crossed.
Here's his challenge regarding the mood of union folks.
Two things are winning Gaffney concedes, "anger and
disillusionment in the (political) process and "the danger (dum de dum
dump) is that could lead to apathy. That's every politician's
nightmare" and every union boss as well.
Which is why Gaffney and company have embarked on an aggressive
campaign to motivate the union members to get in the game. They will
be inundated with robo calls, worker to worker pep talks at and away
from work, a 167,000 literature drop is headed for the post office with
more to follow and coming to a door near you soon, somebody to convince
you to vote for Virg.
At the end of the election day, everyone will know if President
Gaffney and his labor movement are champs or the new 90 pound weakling
on the Michigan political beach.