At first glance, Joe Sestak reiterating that he is a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act while speaking at a United Steelworkers conference doesn't seem like much of a news story. As the title of this post implies, however, there is something that made it very interesting:
U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak keeps increasing the likelihood that he'll challenge Sen. Arlen Specter for the Democratic Senate nomination next year.
On Sunday, he told the United States Steelworkers Legislative Conference in Atlantic City that he backs the Employee Free Choice Act, the proposed law that would make it easier for unions to organize.
The catch is that Senator Arlen Specter did not speak at this event. In fact, he was disinvited.
Here is the full story, courtesy of an email exchange with Jim Savage, who is President of a Steelworkers local here in Philadelphia:
"The Senator [Arlen Specter] was invited & confirmed as the keynote speaker."
"There was quite an uproar when we found out. He was uninvited because of the rank-and-file reaction."
"Also, it's worth noting that the Senator was none too happy about it."
At that point, Sestak was then invited. Before he spoke, he was "introduced to the delegates as "our next Senator" to a rousing ovation."
The general sentiment toward Specter was "fuck'm."
I have to say, talking to local union leaders is a lot more fun than talking with communications staff.
Specter's staff grew increasingly aggressive at every event, Pennsylvania union members report. At Specter's Wilkes-Barre office, where union members and allies delivered thousands of letters and petitions, United Steelworkers (USW) member Tim Waters reports that they were told by a staffer, "as soon as you leave, your letters will go straight in the trash."
Stay classy, Specter staffers.
Needless to say, it is a good bet labor unions in Pennsylvania are not going to be as pro-Specter as the upper echelons of the Democratic Party leadership would like.