Several Large NY Unions Stop Funding Working Families Party

Big N.Y. Unions Stop Funding Working Families Party — a Backer of Bernie Sanders
Kenneth Lovett, Daily News

The Working Families Party, which is supporting Bernie Sanders for president, has lost the financial backing of several of the state’s biggest unions.

The rifts mostly began in 2014 over disagreements regarding Gov. Cuomo’s reelection and have continued through this year’s presidential primaries. Most of the state’s big unions are supporting Hillary Clinton.

“There were breaks that happened in the relationship between the unions and the WFP that still have not been repaired,” said one Democratic activist.

Many of the unions kept their disinvestment from the Working Families Party quiet for more than a year.

The powerful Service Employees International Union Local 1199 withdrew its funding and membership in late 2014. Continue reading

How the Working Families Party Could Disrupt Philly’s Political Machine

by Stuart Elliott

Jake Blumgart’s interesting article on the potential of the Working Families Party in Philadelphia appears even more relevant after the recent success of the WPF in Maryland. Blumagart writes

This time next year Philadelphia could be home to yet another political machine. That may sound like the last thing this city’s fractious electoral drama needs. But Pennsylvania Working Families could potentially give voice, and coherence, to some of those currently underrepresented in Philly’s politics, including the progressive wing of the labor movement and the liberal and left activists who find little to like in local clannish machine operations or the business-side reformers who typically challenge them.

Continue reading

Working Families Party Makes Promising Debut in Maryland Elections

by Bruce Vail


Seven of 10 candidates endorsed by Maryland’s Working Families Party won Democratic Party nominations in their districts on Tuesday. (Courtesy of Working Families Parties)

The union-friendly Working Families Party is reporting good results in its first foray into Maryland electoral politics,  as a statewide Democratic Party primary election drew about 400,000 voters to the polls on June 24..

The WFP—a budding alliance of labor unions and traditionally progressive groups that is now firmly established in New York, Connecticut and Oregon—began its first direct electioneering effort in Maryland this year with purposefully modest goals, says Executive Director Charly Carter. The party endorsed 10 candidates for the state legislature and concentrated on grassroots tactics to get them elected, she says, forgoing involvement in the higher-profile races for governor and state attorney general. Of those 10, seven were successful in winning the Democratic Party nominations in their districts on Tuesday, victories that are considered tantamount to final election in the heavily Democratic areas of Baltimore and suburban Washington, D.C.

As far as influencing state electoral politics is concerned, Carter tells In These Times, “We’re happy. We think we’ve made a good start.” One campaign proved victorious for a union organizer who used tactics he learned in his four decades of activism to rally support; another led to the election of a high school teacher who relied heavily on his former students to staff his campaign.

These are the kinds of people, Carter says, that Maryland needs in the legislature: “People who understand the issues of working people, and are not afraid to fight” a system of entrenched power.
Continue reading

Will Cuomo Keep His Promises?

The decision of New York Working Families Party to endorse the re-election of Governor Andrew Cuomo has sparked much discussion. This article by Sarah Jaffe is an excellent round-up and analysis, but Talking Union invites further discussion and debate. At the end of her article, TU has compiled some reports and opinions on the decision.–Talking Union

The Working Families Party went out on a limb when it endorsed the conservative Democrat.

by Sarah Jaffe

Andrew_Cuomo_by_Pat_ArnowWhichever candidate the Working Families Party decided to endorse in the New York state governor’s race, there was going to be blood.

There was Zephyr Teachout, the progressive activist and law professor who emerged in the days before Saturday’s convention as a potential challenger to incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the progressive third party’s ballot line in November’s general election. Her platform, she tells In These Times, was based on the idea that it’s time to demand more: investment in infrastructure, “really good jobs” and an economy that creates them and a challenge to “the concentrated economic power that is choking our economy.”

And then there was Cuomo, the governor who has drawn fire from progressive critics for trying to divert settlement money for foreclosure fraud victims into a general fund that could underwrite tax cuts for banks; freezing wages for public workers and allegedly helping to hand the state Senate back to Republicans. Most recently, in March, he angered progressives by wading into a messy battle over New York City charter schools and granting them what the New York Times called “some of the most sweeping protections in the nation,” including a requirement that the city either provide public space for the privately run schools or give them public money to rent private space. One state Democrat told Buzzfeed, “The core activists are asking, ‘How can we endorse this guy? He’s a right-wing douchebag.’ ”

Continue reading

The Third Party That’s Winning

With new strategies, the Working Families Party is shaking up the two-party system.

by Sarah Jaffe

The Working Families Party's Sauda Baraka has provided a voice for working families as the chair of the Bridgeport, Conn. Board of Education. (Ned Gerard)

The Working Families Party’s Sauda Baraka has provided a voice for working families as the chair of the Bridgeport, Conn. Board of Education. (Ned Gerard)

‘Sometimes, in years past, you couldn’t tell a Democrat from a Republican. No one wanted to talk about race; no one wanted to talk poverty.’

Sauda Baraka didn’t pursue a spot on the Bridgeport, Conn., Board of Education thinking it would be a springboard to higher office. As her children went through Bridgeport’s public schools, she saw herself simply as an “involved parent”—until 2004, when the Republican Party recruited her to run for the board. Connecticut reserves three seats on all school boards for a minority party—and at the time in Bridgeport, long dominated by a Democratic Party machine, the minority party was Republican. She accepted, and won.
Continue reading

Labor-Backed Party Ousts Democrat With Koch and AFL-CIO Backing

By Josh Eidelson

In Oregon’s May 15 primary, progressive challenger Jeff Reardon scored a two-to-one victory over Mike Schaufler, a five-term Oregon Assembly Democrat who appeared safe just months before his defeat. Reardon’s victory relied on support from the labor-backed Working Families Party, in coalition with environmentalists, MoveOn, and unions—though the state AFL-CIO, and some of its affiliates, stuck with the incumbent.

The Working Families Party, a progressive, labor-backed third party, hails Reardon’s victory as a national model. “Winning a race like this,” says WFP State Director Steve Hughes, “in the face of someone that’s funded by the lobbyists as he was, sends a message that we can hold these people accountable.”

Following this month’s election, The Oregonian declared Reardon’s victory to be the WFP’s “coming out.” Reporter Jeff Mapes wrote that the party hadn’t previously had “a big impact here,” but it “essentially ran Reardon’s canvassing operation.”

Continue reading

Ian Williams: Working Families Party–Third Party with a Difference

[Ian Williams takes a look at a third party with a difference in his latest Comment Is Free column.]

Hidden from view by the fossilised Democratic and Republican juggernauts, smaller political parties in the US are often ignored. Ralph Nader’s Green party candidacy made a mark in 2000, but not necessarily a good one in the eyes of those who blame his 100,000 votes in Florida for handing the presidency to George Bush.

In New York, the Working Families party (WFP) is different. It offers progressives the chance to voice their opinions without risking disastrously reactionary results. Continue reading