OK, so this is not really live blogging the convention since I am back in my hotel room after attending the Labor reception. But there’s no wireless in Bally’s convention area and I wasn’t about to lug my laptop over there and back to the hotel anyway.
Pretty much this started like any other convention, meeting up with folks I’ve seen and haven’t seen over the year and a couple months since the last one. Glad-handing, smiling, telling dumb stories, sharing potty-training secrets (really!) and finding out about some of the campaigns out there.
Mitch Manzella was working the crowd for Carol Gay, and though I didn’t see her someone told me she was there. Governor Jim Florio held court in a few places, telling stories that made folks laugh and since he’s out of office that means they were funny. Joe Cryan, our chairman, moved around everywhere very well and spread his charm throughout the crowd. Essentially, a schmooze-fest like the first night of a convention should be.
The most notable thing that happened (besides dipping rice crispy treats in a chocolate fountain) was during the presentation part of the Labor reception. First, all the speakers — there were five — were brief and to the point. That’s remarkable in and of itself.
But the best part was when Charlie Wowkanech from the AFL-CIO gave a proud and happy shout-out to Senator Steve Sweeney, who is an Ironworker union leader.
Sweeney, most Blue Jersey readers should recall, is the leader of a legislative effort to take wages and benefits away from state workers. He maintains that private sector workers are making less and have lower benefits, so he as a leader of the working man and woman wants to reduce state worker benefits.
Needless to say, the AFL-CIO was not amused and put out a press release that said, in part:
Most troublesome about Senator Sweeney and Assemblymen Green and Moriarty’s announcement yesterday is that it undermines the collective bargaining process by bypassing negotiations and simply imposing their will upon thousands of middle class public employees. We are deeply disappointed with this action and respectfully urge these Legislators to retract this proposal and instead raise these concerns at the bargaining table.
In June the AFL-CIO was “deeply disappointed” and troubled by Sweeney’s efforts, efforts which have not let up since then. But today, in the gladhanding atmosphere of a party convention, all is forgiven.
That’s all for tonight, as I need to get a good night’s sleep to be ready for tomorrow. Could someone call the casinos for me and see if they can bring back $5 minimum blackjack?