Street laborers’ union refuses to endorse mayoral candidate
The union that represents laborers in the city’s street maintenance division has refused to endorse either of the two candidates running for mayor on Tuesday.
The union is called the Public Association of Government Employees, or PAGE, and represents about 500 blue-collar, clerical and technical workers. It also represents laborers who were the subject of our special report last week, detailing the bullying and infighting that have plagued the streets division for years.
PAGE President Jeff Stump said the union doesn’t think either of the mayoral candidates is qualified.
“We feel Tammy Buffington doesn’t have the experience and her views on the commission (CIR) and unions are not something that we agree with and as far as Mayor Beutler we can’t endorse him because of issues in the street department that he has failed to address after a year and a half.”
Those issues, he said, are bullying, harassment and inadequate training — all the things detailed in our special report.
The union also declined to endorse a candidate in District 1, northeast Lincoln. Stump said they didn’t endorse Democrat Doug Emery because “he’ not a qualified candidate” and after promising not to “come after our pension” Stump said the first thing Emery did after getting elected was start working on reducing city employees’ retirement benefits.
“The first thing he came after was our pensions,” Stump said.
The union endorsed the Democrats in two districts: Jonathan Cook in southwest Lincoln and Carl Eskridge in northwest Lincoln. The union did not endorse anyone in the southeast Lincoln district, where incumbent Jon Camp is running against newcomer Bobbi Kosmicki.
“We just don’t feel that we know enough about them,” he said.