Public Employees Local 71 on Thursday sent a scathing letter to the campaign of Dave Bronson after a mailer sent out by the conservative candidate suggested he had the support of the union.
“Today, I find myself in the unfortunate position of informing you that your recent mailer quoting Todd Peplow constituted an unauthorized and invalid endorsement, which must be corrected,” wrote a letter signed by Local 71 Business Manager Jordan Adams. “To be clear: Public Employees Local 71 has not endorsed your candidacy, and I must correct this misinformation publicly.”
The letter is a response to a mailer where Bronson flaunted the endorsement of Peplow, an outspoken conservative who currently serves as Local 71 president, where he claimed to speak for “hundreds of union members.” Local 71 has not endorsed either Bronson or progressive Forrest Dunbar, but it has given Dunbar a $1,000 campaign contribution.
The letter takes aim at Peplow, accusing him of violating the labor organization’s constitution and “longstanding protocols for candidate discussions.” It details Peplow’s repeated efforts to get the union to endorse Bronson but noted that Bronson was apparently not seeking union support and never met with the union officials to explain his political and policy positions. It also notes that Peplow’s opposition to Dunbar was apparently driven by “lifestyle” issues and not issues related to unions and labor.
“The only arguments Mr. Peplow has brought to our membership to deny Mr. Dunbar support have been based on his personal non-union issues related to lifestyle and actions of Mr. Dunbar’s family,” says the letter. “Had he made enough of a case to support your candidacy, our membership would have taken action to do so a mere two weeks prior to Mr. Peplow acting on his own and disregarding our members direction that they approve all endorsements.”
Because Bronson didn’t ever directly speak with the union, Adams explained that they examined the record. While Dunbar “has consistently supported the essential work provided by our members employed by the Municipality of Anchorage and actively sought to improve their working conditions and workplace rights” that resulted in the $1,000 campaign contribution, Adams says the entire board—which, in Adams’ words “includes a weight of conservative voters”—rejected a similar motion to back Bronson.
While Bronson hasn’t talked directly with the union (a similar experience for several media outlets and forums representing minority communities), the letter does take note of his public statements.
“Since your own public statements indicate that you would ‘cut everything but police,’ we are left with the impression that would also mean the essential services our members provide, upon which police, fire, and the public rely,” Adams writes in the conclusion of the letter. “Without our services, roads are not cleared, facilities are not operational, and schools are unable to accommodate a much-needed return to the classroom. The information publicly available and provided by your campaign to date serves to undermine rather than support our membership, which precludes our ability to endorse you.”