Jack Shea, president of the Allegheny County Labor Council which organizes the Pittsburgh Labor Day Parade has barred Gov. Tom Corbett from marching, overruling an invitation from the Laborers District Council of Western Pennsylvania, which endorsed the Republican governor. Corbett’s Democratic opponent Tom Wolf has been invited and will march.
“I believe that I am a friend of labor. Obviously, Mr. Shea doesn’t feel that way,” Corbett said Aug. 25 at the groundbreaking of a Consol Energy well pad on Pittsburgh International Airport property. Corbett said he will speak to members of the Laborers during a private event after the parade.
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Shea said, “He’s against us 364 days a year and then one day of the year he wants to march with us? It doesn’t make sense.”
In dismissing Corbett this year, Shea has mentioned the governor’s support for privatizing state-run wine and spirit stores, which employ about 3,500 union clerks. Corbett said his support of privatized liquor stores is not anti-union but pro-consumer Corbett said to the Tribune-Review.
“What he is worried about is the public-sector unions more than the trades and the private-sector unions,” Corbett said of Shea to the Tribune-Review.
Marty Marks, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, said it is tradition for the labor council to invite only politicians it has endorsed. Republican Congressman Tim Murphy of has marched in the parade with the labor council’s endorsement.
“Most people that have an anti-labor record to the extent that Tom Corbett does won’t be so presumptuous to assume that they would be invited,” Marks told the paper.