When it comes to the city’s labor community, Mayor Adrian Fenty hasn’t been winning friends and influencing people.
Monday night, the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO voted unanimously to back Fenty’s Democratic challenger, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray.
The endorsement comes with some muscle. The Metro AFL-CIO is the largest labor umbrella group in the Washington area. It has almost 200 affiliated union locals and represents more than 150,000 Washington area union members in a broad array of fields at the local, state and federal levels.
The labor council plans extensive outreach and mobilization of union voters for the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.
It’s the second race in a row in which Fenty has been snubbed by the labor group. D.C. Council Chair Linda Cropp won the endorsement in 2006.
“Unfortunately, the Metro Labor Council supported Linda Cropp four years ago and Kevin Chavous over Tony Williams prior to that. It is not surprising, therefore, that in this election they continue to support council insiders over agents for much needed change,” said a Fenty campaign spokesman.
Union officials see it differently.
“Four years ago, we endorsed Linda Cropp, not because we were opposed to Adrian Fenty but because we thought she was a more experienced legislator,” Metro Washington Council President Joslyn N. Williams said in an interview. “We had endorsed him and helped elect him as a Ward 4 rep, so it wasn’t that we didn’t have a relationship with him. Frankly, we told him that he needed to be seasoned and we would gladly support him in the future.”
The relationship has soured considerably since then.
“Our relationship with Adrian Fenty has been a disaster, and I’m being charitable when I use the term disaster,” Williams said. “We’ve only had one meeting with him in the three and a half years he’s been mayor. One meeting.”
Williams’ list goes on.
“He has fired people without due process and he’s gotten his chancellor to fire teachers with seniority and has taken the position that ‘I’m going to fire you and you will appeal but by the time your appeal is completed, I will have accomplished my mission.'”
Williams said he has his own mission to accomplish.
“We have got to get rid of him because he is not good for workers and he is not good for the city," he said.