By May 13, 2005Labor Unions

drip.jpgOK, this is a major drip, more like a gusher:

We reported below on the gathering at the Teamsters Conference in Las Vegas this week. This was not your father’s Teamsters Conference, this was a meeting of the Gang of Five hell-bent on unseating AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, a meeting of the dispossessed. It was well-known that the five amigos were there: Hoffa, Stern, Raynor, Wilhelm and O’Sullivan.

However, we learned from two different sources today that joining them were Firefighters President Harold Schaitberger and American Federation of Teachers President Ed McElroy. This is huge. Why? Because before turning up in Sin City, both were thought to be firmly in the Sweeney camp. They are not. You’ll recall (see below) that Schaitberger recently resigned in a huff as the head of the AFL’s Public Affairs Committee after being left in the dark by Sweeney about his re-organization plans. So maybe this could have been predicted, not sure, but it’s still very significant.

But there was no warning about McElroy, heretofore believed to be a strong Sweeney supporter. If Sweeney loses both of them — as our sources tell us he has — then he’s in deep you-know-what.

We’re not sure that John Wilhelm will be the candidate opposing Sweeney, but whoever it is, they will have the support of these now seven unions, getting precariously ever closer to the 51% majority needed to forcibly remove Sweeney. In the spirit of Vegas, we’d see Laborers’ President Terence O’Sullivan’s odds improving as a candidate. He just might be the Giacomo-style dark horse in this race. Stay tuned.