PRECEDE Bethlehem Brown Goes After Union Vote Undaunted By AFL-CIO Move to Clinton
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Democrat Jerry Brown won support from a Philadelphia transport workers local today and kept up his fight for Pennsylvania’s union vote as if the national AFL-CIO leaders behind Bill Clinton didn’t exist.
Brown told a morning rally that such major unions as the Teamsters and United Mine Workers are not necessarily following the AFL-CIO’s national political arm in its support for the Arkansas governor.
He told the rally in Philadelphia’s 30th Street train station that voters in the April 28 presidential primary here should signal Washington they are dissatisfied by crowning his efforts with the victory that eluded him in New York earlier this month and Virginia last week.
″Look, Mr. President, Mr. and Mrs. Congress, put America to work,″ Brown said. ″It’s very nice to have 35,000 troops in Japan, but what the heck are they doing?″
″They can double their pay, they can bounce checks, but they can’t deliver health care,″ Brown said. ″Let ’em know you’re not satisfied with the way it’s going.″
Brown aides said the endorsement from the transport workers local here was likely to be followed by support from other small labor organizations across the state as the primary nears.
″There are plenty of rank and file out there,″ Brown said after speaking at a noisy, packed Steelworkers hall Wednesday night. ″We’re not about getting the top. We want ordinary citizens to take it back.″
The former California governor dismissed Clinton’s endorsement earlier this week from the AFL-CIO’s political arm in Washington, a move widely seen as an attempt to keep Brown a marginal candidate in the primary and help the front- running Clinton nail down the nomination earlier.
″They want to jump on the bandwagon, but where is the bandwagon going?″ Brown asked, seizing the opportunity to jab at the Arkansas governor - a tack he had largely abandoned since the bruising New York primary.
″Can you protect the voice of working people with a right to work governor in a right to work state? Are you going to protect the environment coming from a state like Arkansas where even the fish can’t swim in the rivers?″ Brown said.
Meanwhile, ABC News reported Wednesday night that the supervisor of four anonymous security guards, who accused Brown of tolerating drug use in his home while governor of California, backed up their story.
The supervisor, Robert Ford, also said he reported the incidents to his boss, Capt. Donald Buckland. But Buckland disputed Ford’s account, saying he never received any such report.
Brown, who called the allegations ″categorically untrue″ and ″bizarre″ when they first were aired last week, called Wednesday’s story ″rubbish ... an absolute fabrication.″
Brown, who had a solid record with organized labor in California, ran strong in Michigan last month with the help of scattered local unions and is counting on the same help in industrialized Pennsylvania, even though many of the big unions are with Clinton.
Brown was scheduled to pick up the backing of a Transport Workers local in Philadelphia today and has more endorsements from small locals lined up, according to his state volunteers.
Some labor activists see a vote for Brown as a vote against Clinton and therefore as a last-ditch hope for an open convention, in which some bigger name Democrat might step in.
At a union hall in Erie earlier Wednesday, just down the street from a General Electric plant, tool and die maker Ed Kobierski said he was voting for Brown, not because he thought he could win, but because he liked his anti- establishment message.
″I guess I’m in the kick-the-bums-out category, and of what’s available, he’s the most appealing,″ Kobierski said.
Kobierski has problems with what he considers a lax commitment to labor from Clinton. For instance, he said that at a recent labor gathering in Philadelphia, unionists riled over replaced strikers chanted at Clinton, ″Scab, scab, say it, Bill.″ Clinton refers to those people as replacement workers.
″He wouldn’t say it, because he wants the scab vote, too,″ Kobierski said.
Brown said a good showing by him in Pennsylvania, with its 169 Democratic delegates, and such upcoming primary states as Indiana, Ohio and California would give the Democratic Party the ″spine and spunk and energy to fight the complacency″ in Washington.