Posted tagged ‘HGEA’

HGEA defends Hannemann endorsement

September 7, 2010

There’s apparently some dissension in the HGEA ranks about the union’s endorsement of Mufi Hannemann over Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary for governor.

In an unusual Aug. 30 letter to members, HGEA chief Randy Perreira said Hannemann and Abercrombie have both been good friends to the state’s largest public workers’ union, but that Hannemann gave more straightforward answers on issues of concern to the union — fixing the economy, support for collective bargaining, a better split on health benefits, protecting retirement benefits — during interviews with the board and political action committee.

“He articulated his vision for the future and pledged support to work with HGEA to address critical issues,” Perreira said, adding that Abercrombie at times didn’t respond to questions and “lacked specifics for how he felt Hawai‘i should move forward.”

“I realize that this endorsement of Mr. Hannemann has not been universally accepted by our members,” Perreira said. “To those members, I ask they consider our endorsements in their proper context, which takes into account what issues are most important to public employees.”

John Radcliffe, a lobbyist and union advocate working on the Abercrombie campaign, said in an e-mail to campaign staff that the letter clearly signals the union is split.

“In the 44 years that I have been involved with unions and politics, I have never seen a letter sent by a union leader to the rank and file in the middle of a campaign,  that had to ‘explain’ why this candidate was chosen over that one, and pleading that the members put their personal choices and desires aside to support the chosen candidate,” Radcliffe said.

“The fact that Randy felt he had no choice other than to send out this letter, using the rather weak argument that Mufi spoke more clearly in his support of the union’s ‘core issues’ than did Neil, is prima facie evidence, if it was needed, that the HGEA rank and file is not happy with the decision — and is split.”


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