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The Skinny

Jerry Brown has a posse. It appears that the long-promised labor union support for Jerry Brown is on the verge of materializing at long last. Some big labor is set to move shortly to a new PAC, and it appears that Level the playing Field was left holding the bag in this first round. Could the fact that the initial big chunk of union money is moving to the California Working Families 2010 PAC be connected to history? Democratic consultant Chris Lehane, who is part of Level the Playing Field, was hired by Hollywood studios during the Writers Guild of America strike in 2007. The writers strike split labor, adding to the AFL vs. SEIU feud that had divided organized labor down the middle and led to SEIU severing ties with the AFL. Other battle scars, including some splits over health care also may have colored the decision on the govenror’s race. It’s just a sign that some deep divisions within labor remain – splits that involve both egos and tactics —  even as they all agree that Jerry Brown should be the next governor. They just don’t always see eye-to-eye on the best way to get there.  So, the first big chunk of money is going instead to Working Families 2010, in the form of $1 million each from the California Professional Firefighters, State Building Trades and at least that much from SEIU we’re told. Some involved in the decision deny Lehane had anything to do with it, citing a comfort level with Larry Grisolano, who is close to the Obama administration and is involved in the Working Families effort. (Grisolano also has a close relationship with SEIU.) In fact, some of those same union sources said that they expect some significant labor money to flow to Level the Playing Field as well. Apparently, there’s enough union money to go around.


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