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AFL-CIO’s Carrigan bullying of Jubeh should be denounced
The vicious attack by Mike Carrigan, the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, is a disgraceful example of bullying that demands that the union take some swift action. Carrigan should apologize. The political cheap shot is uncalled for, and it disgraces all of the proud union members who have worked hard to make the AFL-CIO great, including myself
By Ray Hanania
Published in the Southwest News newspaper group syndicate Oct. 19, 2017
I thought the days of union bullies were gone.
But when I read Mike Carrigan’s attack against Hanah Jubeh, a senior advisor in the Chris Kennedy campaign for Illinois Governor, I realized bullies are alive and well.
Carrigan is the “President” of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the biggest union in the state. He’s backing Kennedy’s rival in the March Democratic primary contest, billionaire J.B. Pritzker.
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Last week in the AFL-CIO newsletter, Carrigan asserted Kennedy’s campaign is “stumbling” and blamed Jubeh. He wrote, incredulously, “many people, especially in the Illinois labor movement, are seriously questioning her abilities to manage statewide campaigns.”
Pause here for a moment. Carrigan is backing Pritzker. Why does he care if Jubeh is doing a bad job? Isn’t that what he should want?
Or, maybe, it’s about something else. Jubeh is a woman and a minority. Her parents are immigrants from the Holy Land, like my own, where Jesus was born.
I’ve covered politics in Chicago and Illinois for more than 40 years and I’ve seen a lot of ugly political attacks. This is right up there.
What it really says is that Pritzker’s campaign is in trouble. Pritzker is doling out a lot of cash to politicians. Pritzker may have support of political leaders, but Kennedy has the masses. I think voters see Kennedy as the stronger challenger to the failed policies of Gov. Bruce Rauner.
If this were a Hollywood battle, Carrigan would already have been drummed out of his job. His personal attack against Jubeh is a disgrace to the integrity of the AFL-CIO.
Unions are important, especially when they have good leaders. When I worked at the Chicago Sun-Times, I was proud my newspaper union was part of the AFL-CIO.
Any work I do today for campaigns demands I use a union printer and proudly display a “union bug.”
Being a union member made me as proud as I feel as a veteran, having served active duty during the Vietnam War.
As a progressive who stands up for the rights of minorities, women and immigrants, as well as hard working Americans, Kennedy was quick to recognize the ugliness of Carrigan’s attack. Carrigan’s comments have the historic stain of sexism and racism, too.
“It’s a disgraceful, egregious display of sexism that has no place in our politics, and it’s a glaring example of why people in our state desperately want to rid this system of insiders who stand by and let such bullying occur,” Kennedy wrote.
“If this were a supporter of mine, I would condemn his behavior. In the very least, I’d demand that he apologize because for me, this race is about more than politics. It’s about bringing integrity back to our political system and bringing real leadership back to our state government. But J.B. Pritzker and his campaign have stood silent when they could have stood up to the establishment.”
Attacking Jubeh doesn’t help Pritzker. It only raises questions about Pritzker and suggests Kennedy must really be doing well if his foes have to stoop so low.
It says even more about the AFL-CI0, which asserts,“Our power lies with the many and diverse people we represent in a multitude of workplaces and in our ability to affect change.”
Who does the AFL-CIO really represent? The working people or the highly paid leadership and the wealthy insiders?
Carrigan must apologize. If he doesn’t, the AFL-CIO board and members should act. If Pritzker were any kind of a real leader, he would publicly distance himself from this kind of ugly mudslinging.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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