Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley is wearing his lack of union support like a red badge of courage, with the apparent hopes that his lack of union endorsements will be offset by mainstream, non-union voters to propell him into office. Last week, in an interview, Foley criticized Malloy for joining in a picket line of union workers outside a nursing home on the morning of the August 10 gubernatorial primaries.
“He clearly cut a deal with unions to get support from unions,” Foley said, acknowledging that he has no support from organized labor. “He’s an old-school Democrat, a career politician and understands unions are important to get elected.” Still, Foley said he has reached out to state unions including the AFL-CIO, which has about 260,000 members in the state, SEBAC and AFSCME.
“I’m going to need to have an open dialogue to figure out how to best solve these problems,” Foley said. “But I’m not in their pocket and I’ll negotiate very hard on behalf of the best long-term interests of the state of Connecticut.”
Malloy said he was proud to join Local 1199 nursing-home workers on August 10.“We have had Republican governors of the state of Connecticut for 20 years and the lack of leadership and accountability and transparency is evident to all,” Malloy said. “We are perhaps at our darkest financial moment and I will provide leadership and expect union members to come to the table to resolve these problems.”
Malloy defended Foley’s charge that he’s too cozy with unions.
“Let’s begin with the specifics: there were four nursing homes with ongoing strikes where the employer violated specific rules with respect to the treatment of employees and refused to enter into a contact entered by other members of their association,” Malloy recalled. “I walked the picket line with people who worked there for 20 years and were still making only $12 to $14 an hour. I will walk with them any day.”