Potts’ Campaign Strategy Could Use a Little Retooling

Looks like the Blue Dog beat me to this story, but I’m going to post my version anyway….

Maverick gubernatorial candidate Russell Potts has won an endorsement from the Public Service Workers Union-UE Local 160, representing the employees of Virginia’s state mental hospitals. Given the nature of their job, the members of Local 160 clearly have developed a higher tolerance for bizarre rhetoric and crackpot logic than the rest of us.

Local 160 represents about 200 employees. President Allen Layman said Potts “recognizes the state employee is about 21 percent behind the private sector [in salaries]. He promises to change the climate. State employees have felt taken for granted.”
As recounted by Wayneboro’s News-Virginian, Potts “hopes to fashion a coalition of supporters from Virginia public and private workers, women, African-Americans, Hispanics, teachers and police. And he reminded UE Local 160 members Monday, “We only have to get to 34 [percent], not 51,” to be elected.”

Earth to Potts: The only conceivable way that 34 percent of the vote will win the election for you is if Kaine and Kilgore split the rest of the vote 33/33. If either Kaine or Kilgore win 35 percent, you’ve lost! Given the lopsidedly Democratic-leaning constituencies you’re targeting, you’re more likely to hurt Kaine than Kilgore making it all the more easy for Kilgore to push his numbers above that magic “35 percent” number.

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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    This is interesting. Potts is sounding more and more like a democrat every day. Amazing, he continues to move further and further to the left. At this pace by election day he will be Stalin.

  2. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    We do not allow comparisons to Stalin here! Right, Barnie?

  3. Anonymous II Avatar
    Anonymous II

    Well, how about Eugene V. Debs?

  4. Steven Avatar

    With Tim Kaine running a Haiti-to-Heaven campaign, Russ Potts will take union and teacher and public service votes away from the Democratic candidate.

    I still say Dickie Cranwell has arrived to salvage the house races.

    ~ the blue dog

  5. Allen from the Union Avatar
    Allen from the Union

    Since Jerry Kilgore is taking the bucks from the GEO Group (parent company of Atlantic Shores Healthcare) who made an offer to privitize Eastern State Hospital(where UE 160 has a Chapter) and Tim Kaine has squandered numerous chances to improve the working relationships between state employees and management, we had few choices other then Senator Potts. At least he’s straight with us. And by the way, we have 1,000 members, at Chapters at Eastern State Hospital, Central State Hospital, College of William & Mary, Piedmont Geriatric Hospital and Western State Hospital.Give us a break folks, we’ve only been organizing in Virginia (a very anti-union state) for 3 years.

  6. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Allen, It’s interesting to hear someone from with a labor perspective. Labor’s been pretty darn quiet in Virginia over the past few years. None of what you just posted here made it into the newspaper account that I read. I wondered if you could elaborate on both Kilgore and Kaine. The Kilgore situation seems self explanatory, but what’s your beef with Kaine?

    Another interesting aspect to your endorsement of Potts is that the Public Service Workers Union has been organizing in Virginia for only three years. You must have won a slew of NLRB elections to pick up state workers at five different facilities. Maybe those elections made it into the local newspapers, but they never registered in the broader public consciousness. A growing union in Virginia, how ’bout them apples?

    Do you consider state facilities ripe for representation? Are you running organizing campaigns at other facilities? What are the winning issues for you? I’d be happy to post your observations on the main blog so they won’t collect dust in an old “comments” section.

  7. Allen from the Union Avatar
    Allen from the Union

    Jim, we don’t fall under NLRB. Virginia also doen’t officially reconize us. They take dues deductions out (Wilder gave us that years ago) and depending on which place you’re at, management decides whether they will talk to you (a real hodge podge of fiefdoms out there) i.e. Eastern State Hospital gives us a meeting room and a space in their official communication paper. Piedmont, Central State will not allow us on grounds. Western will talk to us by way of a assistant administrator, who according to them is the only “official” person who can speak to us. William & Mary (because of the ACLU) is suppose to give us a meeting room like other “student and employee groups”, but often won’t because the rooms have been committed far in advance.(Yea right). Oh I could go on, but my blog is getting too long.

  8. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Did you win elections in order to represent employees at those state facilities?

  9. Allen from the Union Avatar
    Allen from the Union

    We kind of fall uner the minority union concept, whereby we sign up a certain number of workers and when we reach a level where we feel there’s a workable membership number, they’re chartered. And to answer one of your questions, It is a fight to organize every single day. Workers are often scared or apathetic. When you see a housekeeper who has been a good state employee for 17 years and makes $14,000, cry because they are afraid if they voice an opinion they will be fired, it can really make you angry. I’ve worked for the Commonwealth over 30 years now, and seen the good the bad and the ugly in Virginia public service.

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