Here’s an expanded version of my “Albany Insider” column from Monday’s editions:
Add the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union to the list of labor groups not happy with the liberal Working Families Party, which suffered a big loss in New York last week after backing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.
“I have concerns about the role the Working Families Party played in the primary,” said Stuart Applebaum, the union’s president and Clinton backer. “The WFP didn’t speak for the unions in this election.”
“After the New York primary, the WFP and its supporters need to evaulate the role that the party played and what that should mean for the future,” he added.
Asked if his union might quit the WFP, Applebaum said that “we want to speak to the party and the unions that have left to see their reasoning and whether we lose anything not being involved.”
The Daily News reported last week that several major unions either quit the party or stopped funding it over disagreements with WFP leaders dating back to their handling of the endorsement of Gov. Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign. The powerful Service Employees International Union Local 1199 and the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council quit the WFP while the city United Federation of Teachers withdrew its funding.
Told of Applebaum’s concerns, WFP state Director Bill Lipton said “we have huge respect for all of our over 30 affiliates as well as our allies.”
Lipton insisted that despite the recent defections, “organizationally, politically, and financially, the WFP has never been in a stronger position than it is now.”