Thursday, September 09, 2010

Duchy Doesn’t Want Union Support… Except When She Does

In a moment of high drama, Council Member Duchy Trachtenberg threw down the gauntlet against MoCo’s seething mob of public employee union thugs. Everyone knows that the evil, cigar-chomping union bosses are running this county into the ground with their endless greed. And so the courageous Council Member Trachtenberg told them what no other at-large candidate has: I will not take your money, I will not take your support, but I will take you to the cleaners at election time! Washington Post editorial writers swooned in worship.

There’s just one problem with this story: Trachtenberg did ask the unions for their support. And they said no.

A few months ago, Duchy Trachtenberg submitted a questionnaire to Progressive Maryland seeking their backing in the 2010 election. Thirty-two of Progressive Maryland’s fifty-two affiliates are labor organizations. Their public employee union affiliates include Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, the Howard County Education Association, the Maryland State Education Association, the Prince George’s County Education Association, the United Transportation Union, and four of Trachtenberg’s worst enemies in MoCo: Fire Fighters Local 1664, SEIU Local 500, MCGEO and – get this – MCEA.

Trachtenberg’s questionnaire reads like one submitted by a true-blue labor lifer. Almost all of the seventeen questions come from a union wish list and include items like collective bargaining for public employees, card check for organizing campaigns, mandatory payments by non-union workers to unions who represent them, binding arbitration for public employee contracts and much, MUCH more. Trachtenberg answered yes for each and every union priority. And when Progressive Maryland asked her about her major endorsements, she answered, “In 2006, I received strong endorsements from Progressive Maryland, and all unions including AFL-CIO and MCEA; also endorsements from the Sierra Club, NOW, ACT, and many national and state elected leaders.” She forgot to mention her declared rejection of all public employee union backing in 2010.

Given Trachtenberg’s labor record, Progressive Maryland was not fooled and did not endorse her. But that’s OK, because Duchy said she didn’t want them anyway. Except she did, but… oh, shush!!

So Duchy Trachtenberg accepted union support and thousands of dollars of their PAC contributions in 2006.

She even gave $6,000 to MCEA’s PAC in 2007 while she was Chair of the council’s Management and Fiscal Policy Committee.

But now she says that soliciting union support is a conflict of interest. But then she did solicit union support. But wait – Progressive Maryland is not really a union, it’s kind of a union of unions, so it doesn’t really count. Right?

Oh doggone it, it’s too difficult to keep track of all this. All you have to know is that whatever Duchy Trachtenberg says and does today is the right thing. Forget whatever she said and did yesterday, or the day before that, or… well, whenever. Just trust her. After all, with a record like this, how could anybody not believe her?