Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ferrer sells out?

The New York Post reports (registration required, use that the 1199 health care workers union has officially backed Democrat Fernando Ferrer in his NYC mayoral bid, after Mayor Bloomberg refused to promise them a $1 billion benefits package in exchange for their endorsement.

Dennis Rivera, the union boss, told the New York Post, "We don't get mad. We get even." He said of Ferrer, "He has given a commitment to us to work with us to basically find a solution to upgrade the conditions of those workers and try to get them out of poverty." The article notes,
Both Ferrer and Rivera denied there was any "specific agreement" or quid pro quo for the endorsement.

"The only commitment I have made is based on an understanding of who these men and women — mostly women — are," Ferrer said.
Regarding the first statement, I would sooner believe that Bloomberg having the NYPD to randomly search subway and commuter train passengers has made the city any safer (which it has not).

The second statement is quite an inadvertent confession. Of course Ferrer knows who they are: they're voters! They're voters whose support he desperately needs.

The union's headquarters is in midtown Manhattan. Did they ever considered a cheaper, albeit less fashionable location, so that they could cut the dues payments and directly help their members in poverty?

This picture (Ferrer on the left, Rivera on the right) is from the article's online edition. The print edition has a couple of great dialogue balloons for the two, with the caption, "Here's what Fernando Ferrer and Local 1199 boss Dennis Rivera might have been thinking at the union's HQ in Midtown yesterday."

What might have Ferrer been thinking? "Let's see: $1 billion for 200,000 supports -- it'll cost the city just $5,000 a vote. Sure hope my antiperspirant is working."

What might have Rivera been thinking? "Ha! I'll show that fool Bloomberg. Uh, wait a second...what happens to us if he wins? Sure hope my antiperspirant is working."

Judging by Bloomberg's strong showing in the polls, Rivera has much to worry about.

The print edition has a very telling insert about the politics Rivera plays:
Gov.'s race, 2002
  • Gov. Pataki uses $1 billion from a new state health fund to provide raises to the workers in Rivera's union.

  • Local 1199 endorses Republican Pataki for re-election.

  • Mayor's race, 2005
  • Rivera wants 25,000 private home health-care aides added to the city payroll in return for the 1199 union endorsement, sources said.

  • Bloomberg refused the deal, saying it could cost taxpayers as much as $1 billion. Union endorses Ferrer.
  • Is anyone that naïve, to believe that Pataki's subsequent action had nothing to do with getting 1199's endorsement, and that Ferrer didn't get 1199's support by making a similar deal?


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