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July 01, 2010

Division of Labor: Teamsters Endorse Shumlin

Teamsters In a break from their union brothers and sisters, the Teamsters Local 597 — a 1,000-member union headquartered in Barre — endorsed Senate President Peter Shumlin in the Democratic primary for governor.

Three of the state's largest labor unions are backing Sen. Doug Racine (D-Chittenden).

At a midday press conference in front of Champlain Cable in Colchester, Teamsters Principal Officer and Treasurer Ron Rabideau said the union chose Shumlin because the senate leader had been a true friend to labor groups throughout his career.

"Over the years I have personally appreciated Peter Shumlin’s leadership as he is a straight-forward politician.  With Peter, you always know where you stand," said Rabideau of the Windham County Democrat.

The Teamsters met with Shumlin about a month ago to talk about an endorsement. Rabideau said Shumlin's support for a variety of labor issues — from worker misclassification to state-focused version of the so-called employee free choice act — were crucial to their members.

"I welcome this endorsement," said Shumlin. "I am the only candidate in this race who has both business experience and as a leader for 10 years in the senate with a track record of getting tough things done."

This past session, Rabideau noted, Shumlin helped shine a light on the fact that the administration of Gov. Jim Douglas didn't want to sign onto a public "project labor agreement" as part of the Champlain Bridge reconstruction. The PLA gives preferential hiring to local, union workers and the unions estimated it would save taxpayers almost $3 million by helping to keep the project on schedule.

"He called for public hearings on the issue and even though we didn't get the PLA, it did get people's attention and put enough public pressure on the issue that we've recently signed a private PLA with the construction firm," said Rabideau.

A private PLA means any of the savings realized from the contract will flow to the contractor's bottom line, not to the taxpayers. But, it does mean that if the contractor — Flatiron Construction out of Lafayette, CO — has to hire skilled labor they must do so through one of the local unions, said Rabideau.

That said, the local workers who do get hired over the next 18 months will earn high wages and received top-notch benefits — and that money will stay local. The firm will not have to import much skilled labor.

"People have this impression that politicians at the statehouse are working for the 'big labor bosses', but there are lots of issues that we work on that help every worker in the state," said Rabideau.

The Teamsters endorsement is Shumlin's first from a labor group. The previous three major union endorsements have gone to Racine, who has picked up the backing from the Vermont AFL-CIO, of which Teamsters 597 is a member, the Vermont chapter of the National Education Association and the Vermont State Employees Association. Combined, those  three unions represent about 30,000 workers.

Two other major unions — the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Professional Firefighers of Vermont — are also determining whether to endorse in the primary.

This week, too, Racine earned the endorsement of the Vermont League of Conservation Voters. The endorsement surprised political observers who thought Shumlin was a shoe-in for the support given his push to close down Vermont Yankee in 2012 and his legislative focus on climate change.

Shumlin has been endorsed by a number of "green" business leaders, including Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation, Jeff Wolfe of GroSolar and David Blittersdorf of AllEarth Renewables.

This isn't the first time the Teamsters have broken ranks with other labor groups when it comes to a gubernatorial endorsement. In 2008, the union backed Democrat Gaye Symington over Progressive-turned-Independent Anthony Pollina in the general election.

The Teamsters do plan on endorsing in other races, but not until after the primary.

In a five-way primary that may only lure 50,000 voters to the polls, union endorsements can provide candidates with needed volunteers as they ramp up door-knocking and get-out-the-vote efforts.

Oh, surprise, surprise. America's most historically corrupt union endorses Vermont's most distrusted politician.


And this quote is priceless:

"Over the years I have personally appreciated Peter Shumlin’s leadership as he is a straight-forward politician. With Peter, you always know where you stand."

!!! Straight-forward politician? Is this some sick joke?

And "you know where you stand"? No, sir. The only thing you know for sure when Peter-the-Speeder is speaking is that you are probably being lied to.

Will the Vermont Troopers Association give Shumlin their endorsement after his recent $152 contribution to their coffers?

Ever notice how personal the attacks on Shumlin are in forums like these? Think somebody's worried he might actually win?

Seriously, though. If you're going to criticize a long-time public servant, you ought to be big enough to do it on the substance. So he got a speeding ticket? Did you never get a ticket?

I commented not on his speeding ticket but on his well-earned reputation for fast-talk and dishonesty.

And, by the way, yes, I've been stopped for speeding, but I couldn't flash my Senate ID card, nor attempt to influence the officer by suggesting that I'd hire him as my personal driver after I become Governor.

And, yes, I AM concerned that this ethically-challenged creep could become Governor.

Sheesh.

"Well-earned reputation for fast talk and dishonesty?" "Ethically-challenged creep?" Those are some pretty serious charge to level, Murhpy. Back it up with facts or people might think you're a bit ethically challenged yourself, not to mention self-righteous and full of venom. Ever heard of the injunction "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"?

Did it occur to you that Shumlin might have been joking when he asked the officer to become his personal driver? Oh, I but forget. That would require you to have a sense of humor.

"Those are some pretty serious charge to level, Murhpy."

I guess your attention to Seven Days is selective. I guess you didn't bother to read the issue where his own colleaugues at the state house voted this honor upon him.

Guess you didn't also watch the interview on Fox where he repeatedly INSISTED that Germany gets 30% of its power from solar. False.

Guess you also didn't read the news reports of him parading down Main Street in Burlington on the VPIRG float during Mardi Gras. Incredibly poor judgment, but not surprising, since he does their bidding and they do his.

Guess you also don't remember the time on the radio where he called the other guest a "liar," and then later had to apologize.

Oh, and the Senate ID card and "hope you'll be working for me" thing? If you believe that was all a big joke, good for you.

"Ever heard of the injunction "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"?"

I'm not running for public office.

But you're using a public forum. And you have a responsibility as a citizen and a human being to back up your poisonous assertions with real data, not borrowed rumors or make believe facts.

On 'his colleagues in the state house": If three friends and I vote you the biggest spineless coward in Vermont, does that make it so? Can my friends and I then claim that the citizens of Vermont have bestowed that honor on you?

Shumlin's not perfect, but none of the examples above, even if they were wholly true, would make him an "ethically-challenged creep." Can you name a politician who hasn't occasionally gotten his facts wrong or made a few minor mistakes? I'm not sure what you find so evil about VPIRG, but your assertion that Shumlin is in their pocket because he rode on a parade float seems more than a little paranoid. He called someone a liar and later apologized? I wish more politicians would have the guts to tell it like it is, and I wish more would apologize when they get it wrong.

I live in Windham county and I've had Peter Shumlin as a neighbor and friend for many years. There's a reason the yard signs are going up all over this county. People who have known Peter all his life like him, respect him, and understand that the kind of minor public foibles you list above, even if they're true, pale in comparison to the good he's done for our state. He can be a bit of a dork, and his sense of humor sometimes involves a little harmless exaggeration. But he's also a man of vision and a hard-working public servant who has taken big political risks in the interest of protecting the environment, improving education, fighting for civil rights, and helping the average Vermonter. The kind of caricature you're purveying is way off base.

"Think somebody's worried he might actually win?"

No

Poisonous assertions? Every single thing I've stated was not made up by me, but reported in the media. None of it is false. If you're going to argue, you need to know your facts. It's not just that he was on a VPIRG float, it's that he does their bidding in Montpelier 100% and showed poor judgment in the parade. It's not that Shumlin apologized to John O'Kane, it's that O'Kane wasn't lying in the first place. And on and on it goes.

Hey, it's a free country, so you are free to like Sen. Trustworthy, and vote for him, and put a lawn sign out for him. And you're free to call me a spineless coward if you like (BTW "Weeder," is that your real name?) Heck, you're even free to "spin" all of Shumlin's history as the same kinds of things that every politician does, but I challenge you to find this history of conduct reported with ANY of the other candidates running for Gov: Racine, Dunne, Bartlett, Markowitz, and Dubie.

BTW, check to see if there any of his signs on the lawns of the 500-600 Vermonters who have the good-paying VY jobs he's intent on killing.

Thanks.

So everything reported in the media is the unquestioned truth? I suppose if you're watching Fox News maybe. If you want a 38 year old leaking nuclear reactor in your backyard, you're welcome to it, though you'd better ask your neighbors first.

I have zero interest in searching out embarrassing little talking points about the other candidates. It's the easiest thing in the world to pick out scurrilous-sounding details to make someone you don't know personally look bad. It's harder to have a debate based on substance.

I wasn't calling you a coward, I was giving an example of the kind of easy slander you were passing off as the official State House consensus. You may be perfectly comfortable repeating that kind of nonsense, and talking good people down based on impressionistic gossip. I don't know - you're the one who has to look yourself in the mirror every morning.


You still seem to be stuck on the notion that anything bad that's reported about Shumlin is all unverified gossip. Grow up. Do you pay any attention to the news at all?

It's a free country, so you are free to be in love with Shumliar if you like from your enclave in Windham County, and either be blissfully unaware of his long history of lies, gaffes, and questionable ethics in Montpelier, including his most recent episode of trying to influence a cop, or to wilfully turn a blind eye to them. That's your choice. Enjoy.

Happy 4th. Does it matter at all about the candidates' experience, skills, talents, positions, and policy plans for Vermont? Or are we more concerned about parade floats and speeding tickets? What you call news, I call sensationalistic trivia. We are free to disagree. Ain't America great?

Good point about "experience, skills, talents, positions, and policy plans for Vermont." Yes, I do care about that. And if you've been following the candidates' careers, and the forums, debates, blogs, editorials, and candidates' websites, as I have, you'd know that each of the other 4 Democratic candidates for Gov. has the same plans for Vermont as Shumlin. They also have essentially the same experience, skills, and talents. But without the history of lies, gaffes, cheap tricks, and questionable ethics. So that makes ruling out Shumlin an easy choice.

And if you write off a politician's documented history of lies, gaffes, cheap tricks, and questionable ethics as nothing more than "sensationalistic trivia," then I feel bad about Vermont. Vermont has a history of expecting more than that from its politicians. When you separate out all the "sensationalistic trivia" about Rod Blagoyevich, he was a good governor of Illinois. And when you separate out all the "sensationalistic trivia" about Elliot Spitzer, he was a good governor of New York. Sure, let's take Vermont down that road.

Rod Blagejovich tried to sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder. Elliot Spitzer got caught patronizing a prostitute after making a big deal about prosecuting patrons of prostitutes. Peter Shumlin got a speeding ticket, rode a parade float belonging to an interest group you happen to disagree with, and (apparently) misspoke about solar power. Think there might be just a tiny bit of false equivalency here?

I've read the positions of the candidates, and I've also seen most of them in action. Peter Shumlin is by far the most politically talented of the lot, and on top of that he's got a proven record of boldly standing and fighting on tough issues to get good things done for Vermont. I've known him personally for a long time, and I can attest to his basic good character. Despite some imperfections, his desire to serve the people of this state is sincere, and he's got excellent ideas for how to do that. That's why I support him. You'll notice, on the other hand, that I've said nothing to denigrate the other candidates, who are honorable public servants as well and deserve our respect, just as Peter does.

In the last post you told me to "grow up." If what being grown up involves is using chat rooms to pursue petty, mean-spirited campaigns against politicians I don't even know, who have spent good parts of their lives serving my state, and who happen to be fundamentally decent people with families and friends who value them, I don't want to grow up. I don't want to grow up if it means spending my weekend days stringing together questionable second-hand news reports and making up cute little nicknames like "Shumliar" and "Sen. Trustworthy" in order to defame my political opponents. If I were so full of hatred, I'd be afraid of scaring puppies and children when I walked down the street. But then, you obviously know better than me what it means to be a grown-up.

It's the 4th of July and I'm sick of this conversation. I wish you well.

He's a dishonest, nakedly ambitious jerk. We'll just have to agree to disagree. Happy 4th.

I appreciate the fact that wanna be gov. Shummy Cant keep his mitts out of the working vermonters wallet

@7D:

Are you aware that the Shumlin for Governor website reproduces your recent profile on him with the caption: "Seven Days: Shumlin Principled."

The homepage has a link to your article. The link says, "Seven Days: Shumlin Principled."

When you click on the link, it takes you to the article, with the headline inserted: "Seven Days: Shumlin Principled."

Both the link on the home page and the caption on the article page clearly imply that you called him "principled." It also vaguely suggests that you somehow endorse him by calling him "principled."

I saw a lot of things in that article, but one thing I did NOT see was anyone calling Peter Shumlin "principled," neither anyone quoted in the article, nor the author of the article.

Am I missing something?

Isn't this totally misleading?

It's one thing for him to put his "spin" on the article. But isn't it quite another to imply that your article called him "principled"?

Is it "principled" for him to reproduce your article with a blatantly misleading caption?

I just went back and checked your original article. I see that it ran under the headline, "Peter Principled?" Clearly, your use of the question mark was to imply that there is some doubt as to whether he's "principled."

For him to reframe that as an affirmative declaration by 7D that he's "principled" is totally UNPRINCIPLED.

Ironic. But not surprising. Is there anything this man won't do?

Murphy: Thanks for the heads up about the 7D link being used on Shumlin's website. I'm not sure anyone at the paper had noticed it yet, so I've forwarded the link to the author of the article, as well as to our editor/publisher.

As your observation, I agree: It's pretty clear from the article's headline that a question is being raised about Shumlin's principles, rather than an unqualified judgment. And, in this case I think the action pretty much provides the answer, n'est ce pas?

Thanks. N'est ce pas indeed. I repeat: Is there anything -- ANYTHING? -- that this man won't say or do?

Black is white. Up is down. Now he's a "fiscal conservative." An article *questioning* his principles is an article confirming that he's "principled."

WTF?

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