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Question B Behind Boycott of Local Democratic Party Ball

Supporters of organized labor say the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee took the wrong position on a controversial measure to limit collective bargaining for local police.

The drama and protest surrounding a two-year-old Montgomery County law that inhibits the power of county police leaders to negotiate decisions that affect rank-and-file officers seem ceaseless. 

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) are joining labor unions in a protest and picketing of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee's Spring Ball on May 11. The unions are upset with the committee's decision to support Question B last November, which put the county law on 2012's ballot for voters to decide. (The law was affirmed, easily.)

Brown, a native of Prince George's County, is expected to announce his candidacy for governor May 10. 

"The committee took this position despite being asked to remain neutral on the referendum, which has been the traditional practice in disputed matters between the party and government," said Jos Williams, president of the Metropolitan Washington Council of AFL-CIO, in a statement.

The law in question applies to officer reassignments, disability guidelines, distributing equipment and how to implement a computerized system for writing reports, Patch reported.

Representatives from police union FOP Lodge 35 sued County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and his spokesman Patrick Lacefield the day before the election, alleging that public funds had been illegally used to sway voters on the issue, including the use of Ride On bus advertisements, a website and paid county employees handing out flyers on Election Day. 

A release from Montgomery County's UFCW Local 1994 noted the symbiotic relationship between the Democratic Party and unions, suggesting the partnership may be splintering locally.

"Labor will not tolerate being treated as an ATM and foot soldiers for a party which is often indifferent—and sometimes openly hostile—to working families in Montgomery County," said President Gino Renne.

Montgomery County Young Democrats will also protest the ball. 

Bubba May 07, 2013 at 02:22 AM
I agree that public funds in no way should have been used in a referendum. I think it is one major legacy of Leggett that should never, ever be repeated and should, in retorspect, be deemed illegal. At the same time, on the issue of the FOP use of their collective bargaining rights; they used and abused it and it was right they lost that right.
tanisha May 07, 2013 at 11:07 AM
I totally agree with Bubba.
Woodside Park Bob May 07, 2013 at 02:46 PM
I also agree with Bubba. Brown's position on this makes me less likely to vote for him when the primary election is held.
Confused Voter May 08, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Wow! I remember being so confused about effects bargaining, and there being no facts. All I read were allegations made by the police chief. It appears that everyone here was influenced, because you BELIEVE the union was wrong. What if Leggett allowed lies? Even if all he did was exaggerate the problem, then you all have been duped, and you paid the bill to boot. I think this protest is timely. Democratic leadership in Montgomery County, like the current councilmembers, act like landed gentry. It was just dumb to vote against labor after Wisconsin and Ohio. They are getting what they deserve.

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