Amazing how one’s perspective and perhaps principles can be altered by the relationships that require a sudden shift in stance.
One reading today’s Michigan Capitol Confidential might find it surprising Virg Bernero is siding AGAINST big labor in a dispute pitting a developer against the wishes of the unions with regard to the developer’s workers making union scale.
At issue was the council’s last-minute decision to hold up an environmental cleanup tax abatement for the project unless the developer agreed to pay union-scale wages and benefits for all of the construction jobs needed to build his $23.1 million upscale apartment complex.
Interestingly, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is standing up for the entrepreneurs and opposing the union-scale wage requirement. This will come as a surprise for many who know him only from his frequent cable TV news appearances and recent rhetoric on the gubernatorial campaign trail as a strident defender of Big Labor.
Indeed, no one has as taken a few hits for labor as has the mayor of Lansing. Truth be told, the bold, and often brash Bernero has pretty much held his ground when challenged on such things as Automaker bail outs that benefit the UAW over preferred stockholders or other such paltry union-owner disputes or affairs. Nope, he is a big labor guy.. ..all the way.
Well.. until pressed by ‘other’ responsibilities.
A quick look at state campaign finance records reveals the financial relationship of Bernero to this entrepreneur with $4,600.00 in contributions to the Mayor’s failed gubernatorial bid, and other support as far back as 2004 for his senate seat.
But in reality, there is more.. The Bernero administration was working with Gillespie on a prior marketplace venture, been a ‘defacto’ publicist for Gillespie, and certainly might not want this ‘private’ (with brownfield money) development to be sidetracked by such trivial things as an oppressive union scale. At least not when it matters.
The city contracted with Virg’s friend, is breaking the contract and may become liable. And in the midst of it all, no one seems to know who is for, against, or saddled up with labor, entrepreneurs, or the people of Lansing anyhow.
All of this has become a freak show, but hardly moves the dial on the surprise-o-meter.
A message to you union guys fighting ‘your guy’ Virg.. principle is for some, a matter of convenience. Especially when there is money, relationships and political payback involved.. Don’t worry though.. it can’t last forever, can it?