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Local Blogger Talks About Childers and Labor

April 20, 2009
tags: 2010 House, Employee Free Choice Act, labor unions, MS-01, Travis Childers
by Brett

I covered Rep. Childers decision to oppose EFCA in great detail (here, here, and here) at the time of the announcement. During the campaign, labor had said on multiple occasions that Childers would support the Employee Free Choice Act. At the same time, Childers received campaign donations and volunteers from various unions.

However, at the time of Childers announcement to oppose the labor-backed bill, the Mississippi AFL-CIO president seemed to indicate that his decision to oppose EFCA was not really that big of a deal.

But over this past weekend, Steve Steffens who blogs at LeftWingCracker, offered more insight into what labor may really be thinking about Childers decision:

Before I got to the IBEW, I heard a fascinating story about MS-01 rookie Congressman Travis Childers. Apparently, he had promised to vote for the Employee Free Choice Act, which is critical for union organization in the US. Then, last week, he stunned his labor supporters with a renege of that promise, stating he could not vote for it.

This led to a come-to-Eugene-Victor-Debs meeting yesterday in Memphis with the Memphis and North Mississippi Labor Councils, who made their dissatisfaction known in no uncertain terms. It apparently got quite heated, I have been told.

Well, while we can somewhat sympathize with a rookie who has a high R+ constituency, Rep. Childers needs to learn the lesson of business guru Tom Peters: Always under-promise and over-deliver. If Childers thought he could not have voted for EFCA, he should never have made that commitment. All those labor guys who put your signs up throughout MS-01 last year might just find something else to do in the fall of 2010, knowwhutImean?

Rule 1 – never piss off your base, they can and will go somewhere else. I know your bidness-people are begging you to vote no on EFCA, your base (who PUT you there) are telling you to vote yes. Paybacks can be hell, sir.

And a side note to my source: this was a labor-only meeting; no Democratic Party people from either state were told of this meeting or invited.

Childers is going to need at least the same- if not more- intensity from labor in 2010 (compared to what he received this past year) if he draws a major opponent such as Alan Nunnelee. Should labor decide to spend their time and money elsewhere, Childers campaign will suffer a major blow.

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