Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Former Florida Democratic Party chairman and current gubernatorial candidate Scott Maddox is getting hit again, this time based on actions the City of Tallahassee took to prevent unionization of blue collar workers while he was it's first "strong" mayor.

According to the story in today's Sarasota Herald-Tribune Tallahassee likely used illegal tactics during what union leaders consider a "brutal" campaign four years ago, including using taxpayer money to produce a video urging employees to vote against union representation...a violation of Florida Statutes and Constitution.

It should be noted that:

Though Maddox was mayor, there's no evidence he was personally involved in approving the video. He said this week he had never heard of the video but that it was probably illegal. "It sounds like an unfair labor practice," Maddox said. "If I had direct knowledge of an unfair labor practice, I would have done something."

The Herald-Tribune story said that it came across the video during "routine reporting checks".

The video made while Maddox was mayor shows one city worker after another blasting a proposed union as costly, unnecessary and dangerous. "I don't need anyone to speak for me," bus driver Karen Grimes says in the video, shown at employee meetings. "I'm an adult."

Parks employee Ken Cole said on the tape that he previously belonged to a union that went on strike and he "lost a lot of money." The union would take thousands in dues, then "sit back and do nothing," parking officer Charles Gatlin warned.

Maddox's own father has union roots, having founded a statewide police union. He was later ousted from the organization in an ugly spectacle, and it still has bad feelings toward the younger Maddox.

Publicly, Maddox has taken strong pro-union stands. When he ran for attorney general three years ago, he was endorsed by some of the state's biggest unions, including the Service Employees International Union. Flanked by nursing home and school workers, Maddox pledged to "fight all the way" for rights to unionize. In a letter endorsing Maddox, SEIU specifically cited the importance of "workers' rights to organize."

Just last month, speaking to electrical workers from the Tampa Bay area, Maddox talked about the importance of the labor movement and said union talks with Verizon would test the fairness of big companies.


Post a Comment

<< Home