Port Reform Storm

By Josh Feit July 30, 2009

On July 28, Local political consultant Cathy Allen sent out an email fundraising pitch to supporters of her client, Port candidate Tom Albro. The pitch trashed the Teamsters for trying to push a slate of candidates—Max Vekich (who's running against Albro) and Rob Holland (who's running against another Allen client, David Doud)—for being pawns of labor unions who, Allen argues, are trying to dominate the Port.

The funny thing is, Albro himself boasts about being a Teamster ("I put myself through school by working nights as a Teamster for the United Parcel Service") in his campaign YouTube spot .

Allen refers to union workers who are going door-to-door for Albro's opponent Vekich as "unemployed SEIU workers who are working the districts and Teamsters who are attempting to get their slate elected in order to increase the bargaining units..."

Allen's fundrasing letter  goes on to say that the Teamster/SEIU-backed "Port Reform" PAC is a "prominent" force to be reckoned with this election cycle.

They've raised $90,000 from  unions like the International Longshore Workers, SEIU and the Teamsters.

Allen tells PubliCola that the "unemployed SEIU worker" dig was meant to highlight that the union is siccing its unemployed membership on Albro by giving them summer jobs. She says the union PAC—King County Citizens for Port Reform—are "simply unions with contracts before the Port who want commissioners they can control."

Regarding her candidate boasting about his own association with the Teamsters, Allen says: "It just shows how little research these guys have done. Tom is pro union kinda guy."

The KC Citizens for Port Reform PAC disagrees. In a statement issued today, they say:
"It has come to our attention that Port Commission Candidate Tom Albro is misrepresenting his association with the Teamsters," said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 174. "Our records show that Mr. Albro was a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for, at the most, 8 months as a part-time, seasonal worker at UPS. Mr. Albro was suspended from the Teamsters for not paying his dues..."

Albro's opponent Vekich has racked up the union endorsements , including: The King County Labor Council, the local longshore workers unions, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, and yes, SEIU locals and the Teamsters.

Albro does not have any labor endorsements, but Allen pointed out—in a dig at the "Port Reform" PAC's claim to be the Green force in the race—that Albro has the Washington Conservation Voters endorsement.

Heather Weiner, who's running the Port Reform PAC's campaign says she's not hiding the fact that it's a union-backed effort. "We're supported by the men and woman who work at the Port, who are seeing their jobs go away and who are breathing in the polluted air everday, and they want that to change."

I've posted the text of Allen's email below the fold.

Date: July 28, 2009

From: Cathy Allen [mailto:

Hey, folks,

In the never-ending world of political intrigue, we faced a week of “leaks” and press over my last missive to you. Since then, we have succeeded in some significant advantages. Tom Albro managed to get an “Outstanding” from the Municipal League; David Doud managed endorsements from former Seattle Mayors Wes Uhlman and Charlie Royer in addition to State Democratic Legislators Judy Clibborn, Deb Eddy, Ross Hunter, Mark Ericks, and Larry Springer;  (in addition he has Republicans Rob McKenna, Kathy Lambert, Pete Von Reichbauer, and Reagan Dunn).

The Teamsters/SEIU PAC called “Port Reform” has been walking door to door in Seattle’s older neighborhoods (we are tracking them). They managed to leaflet Tom Albro’s house, where his very adept daughter Kelsie Albro reported the following:

“A young man representing, ‘Port Reform’ came to my house at about 2 pm and asked if I was intending on voting this election. I said I was, and he gave me a brochure supporting Max Vekich, Rob Holland and John Creighton. I looked surprised and said, ‘Do you know whose house this is?’

He said no. I said it was the home of Tom Albro – he asked, “who is he?’

I explained he was the guy he was handing out brochures against; he made a hasty retreat.

It would appear that this exuberance comes from unemployed SEIU workers who are working the districts and Teamsters who are attempting to get their slate elected in order to increase the bargaining units of those drivers who must be Teamsters (despite the increased cost to all of us and the limited competition it allows other small businesses in the area).

These campaigns are sizing up to be among the most prominent this cycle – and that the inclusion of the Teamsters PAC and their specific issue with the Port are likely to get more press attention.

In the meantime, please note that Bob Wallace is holding a fundraiser for David Doud tonight. Please feel free to attend.  Guaranteed to be cool and well-air conditioned.

Absentee ballots come out on Wednesday (you should have them by Saturday); voter pamphlet comes out on Monday. Vote early; let your friends know who to vote for and tell them to vote early. Only one in four is likely to vote.  Make sure it is not someone whom you cannot trust.

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