Union boss: layoff boycott cost her Democratic delegate spot

June 28, 2016 GMT

The head of one of Connecticut’s largest unions says she was blacklisted as a delegate from the upcoming Democratic National Convention because of a union boycott over state employee layoffs.

Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said her role organizing a union boycott of a June 2 state Democratic Party fundraising banquet cost her a spot as a delegate to the convention. For three of the last four national conventions, Pelletier said she has been a delegate.

Hundreds of union members picketed outside the Connecticut Democratic Progress Dinner in Hartford to protest more 1,000 pink slips — a number that could double — that have been handed out by the administration of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The unions traditionally buy tables at the dinner, but the governor’s deficit-reduction measures kept them away this year.

“I wouldn’t have done anything different,” Pelletier said. “That’s how they think they’re gonna get back (at me).”

Malloy’s office referred questions on the matter to the state Democratic Party, which denied that retribution factored into Pelletier being left off the delegate roster.

“We are proud a large percentage — more than one-third —- of Connecticut’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention consists of our friends in organized labor,” said Leigh Appleby, a state party spokesman. “We recognize that they are a vital component of our party’s broad coalition and we know they will make our delegation and our party stronger.”

Democrats will kick off their national convention July 25 in Philadelphia, with Malloy serving as a co-chairman of the platform committee. Malloy has been a loyal surrogate for Hillary Clinton and is a superdelegate for the former secretary of state.

Clinton won 52 percent of the vote over Bernie Sanders in Connecticut’s April 26 primary, with the backing of the Democratic establishment.

Pelletier said she was an early supporter of Clinton, who recently earned the endorsement of the national AFL-CIO. But of 18 endorsed Clinton delegates in Connecticut’s five congressional districts, Pelletier said, she was the only one snubbed by Democrats during the selection process earlier this month. Pelletier was also passed over for an at-large delegate spot by the state party.

“Out of all the caucuses both for the Sanders campaign and Clinton campaign, all were endorsed except for me,” Pelletier said.

Pelletier said she is scheduled to meet this week with national AFL-CIO leaders, who could still decide to send her as a guest to the convention.

“If not, then I will not be going,” Pelletier said.

neil.vigdor@scni.com; 203-625-4436; http://twitter.com/gettinviggy