Progressive Democrats can typically count on the support of labor unions, but embattled California Gov. Gavin Newsom could be an exception.
In a statement this week, one incoming union president revealed that he plans to end all political expenditures — including support for Newsom amid an ongoing recall effort — as part of a plan to reduce dues by 50%.
“You can hold me accountable”
Richard Louis Brown laid out his plan during a Fox News Channel interview, telling The Story host Martha MacCallum: “After I am sworn in and I assume office as the Local 1000 president, I can officially tell you that…we will not support Gavin Newsom in this recall effort. You can hold me accountable for that.”
He went on to acknowledge that he is not yet the union boss and spoke only “as an American, as a taxpayer, and as a public servant” currently represented by the union. Nevertheless, he indicated that other union leaders are also wary of progressive politics.
“They will not support the issues of the Democratic Party,” Brown said, according to Fox. “It’s dividing our union.”
The soon-to-be union president is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and most recently worked as an analyst for the California Debt and Investment Commission in the California Treasurer’s Office.
Newsom might be disappointed to learn Brown’s position after winning his 2018 race with widespread union support. Since then, the governor has faced bipartisan backlash and at least 2 million Californians have reportedly signed a petition to force a recall election, surpassing the 1.5 million signatures required.
“He will not get any help from us”
The governor has been harshly criticized by some of his constituents for enacting COVID-19 mitigation measures deemed draconian and deleterious to the state’s schools and businesses.
Making matters worse, Newsom was caught last year dining without a mask at an upscale restaurant even as the state remained under a strict lockdown.
Now, Newsom once again faces voters under even more difficult circumstances and without strong union support.
“He is going to need support from public-sector unions to help him fight his recall,” Brown recently told the Associated Press. “When I become president of Local 1000, he can look for somebody else to support him. He will not get any help from us. He’s on his own.”
Some union members are sure to criticize Brown for his partisan stance, but many others are likely relieved to be rid of the strong Democratic Party ties often associated with such groups — not to mention the promise of lower dues.