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08 June 2010

Barrow Wins AFL-CIO Backing Despite Opposition From Local Labor Leaders

During the latter part of May, the Georgia AFL-CIO announced its candidate endorsements for the 2010 election season. Among the hopefuls backed by the state labor federation are U.S. Senate candidate Michael Thurmond, gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes and Secretary of State candidate Gail Buckner. However, the state AFL-CIO's endorsement of John Barrow has some local labor leaders shocked and disappointed at the move.

In a memo published on the blog "Down With Tyranny," Communications Workers of America Metro Atlanta Retired Members' Council President James Starr wrote that Georgia AFL-CIO President Richard Ray pushed through an endorsement of Congressman Barrow despite the Savannah Democrat not being supported by a single member of the Savannah Regional Central Labor Council.

"I was shocked and extremely disappointed that Richard Ray who chaired the meeting actually entered the debate and actively opposed us while he controlled the gavel," the Starr memo reads. "Allowing so much bad information to be published which we were not permitted to refute. Such as Tasso Knight saying since Obama Healthcare was adopted he received a letter from ATT telling him about his premiums would have to go up. Another speaker bringing up the ATT charge back."

"We were not allowed to refute this misleading garbage. After the fact, Richard did apologize and say he was wrong for speaking. That is like a person picking up a gun intentionally pointing it at another person pulling the trigger and say I apologize I was wrong."

The memo goes on to assert the following:

The President of the Savannah Central Labor Council, told us that not a single member of that labor council supported John Barrow. They are the 12th Congressional District of GA. This endorsement is unbelievable.

Regina Thomas his opponent in the Democratic Primary has been a strong ally and friend of working families, retirees, and senior citizens in both Houses of the GA General Assembly. Her word is the bond.

John Barrow earned the ire of many in his district for opposing the health care bill signed into law by President Obama back in March. Many, including Montgomery County Democratic Party chair John Brewer, have yanked their support for Barrow's 2010 re-election bid and vow to field a credible primary opponent in 2012 [Allen, Jonathan and Aujla, Simmi (2010-5-27). Jim Clyburn's Georgia jaunt worries Democrats. Politico. Retrieved on 2010-6-8.].

Recently, national labor leaders indicated they would target for defeat any Democrat who opposed the Obama-backed health care bill [Stein, Sam (2010-3-9). Labor On Dems Who Block Health Reform: We'll 'Take Them Out'. The Huffington Post. Retrieved on 2010-6-8.]. The Georgia AFL-CIO's endorsement of John Barrow and fellow Democrat Jim Marshall, who opposed the health care bill as well, seems to contradict the threats of national union leaders.