Unions to Corbett: Don’t March With Us
After initially inviting Gov. Tom Corbett to march in Pittsburgh’s Labor Day Parade, union leaders have decided against allowing the Governor to join them in the parade although the decision was not unanimous.
“We did invite the governor, like we invite a lot of our political friends … we wanted him to march with us but we were told by Jack [Shea] that he wasn’t welcome.”
That’s Phil Ameris, president of the Laborers District Council of Western Pennsylvania–a union that supports Corbett. Jack Shea is the president of the Allegheny County Labor Council. He doesn’t want Corbett at the parade.
“I told them he wasn’t invited,’’ Shea said. “You can’t be trying to do away with us for 364 days a year and then want to march with us.’’
The decision not to invite Corbett has opened a split in the usually unified union camp.
”We didn’t want to have labor against labor,’’ Ameris said. “I know some of the unions are upset with the governor’s policies, but I was a little shocked that they wouldn’t have a sitting governor in the parade … Jack and I stand on the same team on a lot of issues, but not on this one.’’
Ameris went as far to say that his organization is “150 percent behind the governor.” The Laborers and Boilermakers Local 154 are two unions that have endorsed Gov. Corbett. Obviously, other union leaders disagree, arguing that Corbett’s education policies and attempts to privatize the liquor trade are anti-union.
What is usually considered a frivolous issue, marching in the parade, has revealed a bit of a divide in labor leadership when it comes to the gubernatorial contest. It’s unclear at the moment whether that divide could grow bigger as election day looms.