Can we afford another union supporter on City Council?
July 3, 2013



From the Facebook page for Friends of Chong-Anna Canfora:

"So grateful, excited and honored to have the endorsement of the Greater Lansing Labor Council, which represents over 40 labor unions in our community representing over 16,000 working families. Pictured here Keeping Calm, Greater Lansing Labor Council President Glenn Freeman III. with Chong-Anna Canfora and Glenn Freeman III."

And from her campaign website:

  The Canfora family has a strong, proud union background: Chong-Anna's father in-law is a 45-year member and former union official of Ironworkers Local 12, her husband, Luke, is a current member of the Communication Workers of America Local 32035, is a former member of OPEIU 459 and is a current national staff member of the AFL-CIO, and Chong-Anna is a former member of OPEIU/MAGE Local 2002 and a former OPEIU/MAGE district convention delegate.

She also touts the endorsement of Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wigglesworth, who in the last election endorsed Proposal 4, which would have amended the state constitution to guarantee the unionization of home heath care workers.

Do we need another union supporter on the council when, according to the Report of the Lansing Financial Health Team (page 41), the pension system for city workers is already underfunded to the tune of $650 million? $218 million of it is for pensions and $431 million is for "other post-employment benefits" - primarily, health insurance. $650 million is more than 3 times the City's $191.5 million budget for 2014.

We already have four council members who we can count on to put the desires of organized labor before the needs of Lansing citizens. At-large council member Derrick Quinney is the Health and Safety Director for the Michigan State AFL-CIO and a UAW member. He was endorsed by the Greater Lansing Labor Council in his 2011 campaign. He - along with Brian Jeffries, Carol Wood and former councilman Eric Hewitt - nearly killed the Market Place project in October 2010. They voted against brownfield tax incentives for the project because it did not include a project labor agreement. Judge Rosemary Aquilina ruled later that the council had no legal basis for denying the incentives.

In first ward council member Jody Washington's 2011 campaign, she was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the Lansing Firefighters union, the Michigan Nurses Association, the MEA, the United Auto Workers union, the Greater Lansing Labor Council, the Greater Lansing Building Trades, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Plumbers and Pipefitters union, and the Southeast Michigan Building Trades. She has strong family ties to organized labor.

At-large council member Carol Wood also was endorsed by the Greater Lansing Labor Council in her 2011 campaign. As the only council representative on the boards of the city's two retirement systems, she sat by quietly as unfunded pension liabilities climbed to $218 million.

It does make you wonder who some council members work for when you see the amount of campaign contributions they take from union PACs.