7/25/08

Does Democrat's union know him best?

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Competition makes politics more interesting

Despite recently losing the official endorsement of the union he once headed, state House candidate John DeFrancisco is hardly giving up the mantle as the candidate of organized labor. The Democrat, running against Republican Nick Miccarelli in Delaware County's 162nd Legislative District, has been touting his support from labor unions across the region, most recently during a large rally last week.

About 400 members from over 20 labor unions attended that rally, where they proudly proclaimed DeFrancisco to be "one of us." Major union leaders like Southeastern Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Chairman Steve Sarno and Philadelphia building trades head Pat Gillespie were in attendance.

"He's been a strong labor leader for a long time," Sarno said. "I know John, and I know that he would be excellent as a state representative."

The display of labor support comes after DeFrancisco's own former union, the United Aerospace Workers Local 1069, threw its official endorsement behind Miccarelli. DeFrancisco was a 24-year official at the union, which represents workers at the local Boeing plant, and he served as its president for the last seven years.

DeFrancisco's said the endorsement was nothing more than new union president Tony Forte grinding an old axe, and that the membership's rank-and-file would stick with him at the polls. Forte, in an interview with PolitickerPa.com dismissed the notion that there was anything personal involved in his endorsement.

The endorsement followed a unanimous vote by the union's board, Forte said. He said Miccarelli's role as chief of staff to retiring state Rep. Ron Raymond (R-Ridley Park), "always a friend of labor," made a difference.

"I don't have any personal grudge to hammer with him," Forte said. "I do resent the fact that he thinks this is personal. I've known him for 20 years. I consider him a friend. I just believe Nick Miccarelli is better suited for this position at the time."

His own union's endorsement aside, DeFrancisco seems poised to build on his labor support. Sarno said he would recommend that DeFrancisco receive the endorsement of the statewide AFL-CIO at a meeting Thursday.

"I am 100,000 percent behind John Defrancisco, and I will be carrying that endorsement to the state level," he said.

The district, which includes Tinicum Township, Ridley Park, Prospect Park and Sharon Hill, remains more blue- collar and conservative than most of Delaware County, which like all Philadelphia suburban regions has grown increasingly liberal in recent years. But with a retiring incumbent, the race could test just how far left the region will tilt.

(politickerpa.com)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Funny. One of Mr. Forte's executive board members and a bargaining committee member contributed funds to John DeFrancisco's campaign.
Additionally, two other bargaining committee members have asked for lawn signs in support of John. These are facts with hard proof attached. Not to mention, Mr. Forte's own father supports Mr. DeFrancisco (he seconded his nomination at the recent State-wide AFL-CIO endorsement meeting.

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