Why aren’t labor leaders flocking to self-styled union savior Jonathan Pelto? Perhaps it’s because he sold them out in 2001.
Yes, the ever-so-principled Pelto worked against labor, because when you boil it down, he’s a political consultant looking out for his own pocketbook.
In the Spring of 2001, New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 organized a strike at 40 nursing homes, fighting for more staff and higher wages. After the strike, some nursing home workers were locked out of their jobs for days. Disgraced former Gov. John G. Rowland was later sued by the nursing home workers union for infringing on union rights by providing millions in reimbursements for strike-related costs.
It’s interesting to note that, according to a Hartford Courant article from 2001, among reimbursements claimed was a “$500 payment made by most homes to the statewide nursing-home association for a “public relations campaign.”
It just so happens that back in 2001, Pelto’s public relations firm, Impact Strategies, Inc., was a monthly retainer for Connecticut Association of Healthcare Facilities, the trade association that represented nursing home owners during the strike.
According to Toni Fatone, the former CAHF executive vice president, Pelto “was a consultant for the organization for at least eight years. Right from the time he first formed Impact Strategies until the time the partnership dissolved.”
Fatone said Pelto worked directly with the board, providing both political advice and public relation services, including during the 2001 strike.
Just so we’re clear: Pelto continued to work as a consultant for CAHF, the organization who waged a PR campaign against striking nursing home workers, years after the strike, and now he’s claiming to be the union messiah?
In a press release issued two weeks ago, New England Health Care Employees Union District 1199 called Pelto out on his hypocrisy, saying, “when the future of low wage health care workers was on the line, Jonathan Pelto sided with the association paying him to defeat workers.”
SEIU continued, saying he was responsible for “devising strategies to portray workers as undeserving and greedy.”
Is that why Pelto hasn’t been endorsed by the Working Families Party? Because they know his loyalty can be bought so easily?
Taylor Leake, the communications director for the Working Families Party, said he couldn’t comment on Pelto’s candidacy directly, only that “he’s obviously made it clear that he’s seeking our endorsement and anyone is free to do that.”
According to Leake, the board is still going through the endorsement process and has not decided which candidate to endorse.
It’s clear there is no favorite, which really begs the question: Why isn’t Pelto, the so-called labor defender, receiving endorsements from organizations tied to labor rights?
Of course, Pelto has a line for that too. He quickly responded to SEIU’s press release claiming that they got it wrong. No, he wasn’t working against union workers! He was working with them to get money into nursing homes. I wonder, did that include the reimbursements from the state for scab workers?
The truth is, Pelto’s more-principled-than-thou act is only a ruse to gain union support for his ego-trip … oh, excuse me, I meant “candidacy.”
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