I'd like King Edwin to explain an April 6 fundraising letter to unions (you can read it here). He not only solicits $2,000 contributions, but clearly suggests some sort of quid pro quo, pointing to very specific pro-union activities that leave me wondering whether he is a mayor or union agent. His letter makes these points.
* He was "the lone voice as a community leader" in urging Congressman Charlie Dent to support the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act. He attaches a letter to Congressman Dent, penned on the city letterhead.
* He protested "the virulent anti-union campaign engaged in by DHL" in response to workers' efforts to organize.
* He takes credit for the Housing Authority unionization.
* He "internalized and unionized jobs that were formerly outsourced, i.e. janitorial services."
* Allentown's "professional licensing ordinance" demonstrates "my firm commitment to unions."
In exchange for these pro-union efforts, Pawlowski wants more than some union endorsement. "I am requesting a contribution of $2,000 to my re-elect campaign which will ensure our victory in November. I would be most grateful to receive your contribution before the primary on May 19, for it will keep our momentum building toward a final victory in November."
Rather than separating himself from potential problems, Pawlowski looks like he's selling his office. His fundraising letter looks very much like a shakedown.
"As Mayor of the City of Allentown and a strong supporter and advocate of organized labor, I write now to request the endorsement of the [redacted] in my race for a second term as Mayor. 1 also ask for your financial support and volunteers as well, both very crucial to the success of my campaign and my victory in November. As Mayor, I vow to continue my initiatives into the future and achieve the results we all look forward to. and I need your vote in order to do that.
"I would like to take this opportunity to mention my past performance on behalf of labor in the Lehigh Valley within the context of my job as Mayor of Allentown. I have always taken a stand for the rights of workers and have spoken out against corporate labor law violations. The enclosed letter, which I wrote in 2007, shows my strong opposition to the virulent anti-union campaign engaged in by DHL in response to the workers' efforts to organize their union with the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO.
"Additionally, I have been the lone voice as a community leader in urging Congressman Dent to reconsider his position on HR 800 and vote to provide expanded protection for labor union organizations. The Employee Free Choice Act legislation must be passed in order to ensure workers' common sense approach to organizing and negotiating and thereby preserve and honor the grand pro-union heritage of the Lehigh Valley. Please see the enclosed copy of my letter to Charlie Dent dated March of 2007 urging him to cast his vote in favor of this critical safeguard.
"As Mayor I opened the door for the Housing Authority staff to be unionized. On another front, I led the way for our school district to work with the labor council to create a labor sponsored apprenticeship training program at the Allentown schools. In addition, I internalized and unionized jobs that were formerly outsourced, i.e. janitorial services. And finally, I joined with the Sheet Metal Workers to create a professional licensing ordinance in the City of Allentown, only the second city in the whole state to accomplish this. Altogether this demonstrates my firm commitment to unions and represents substantial strides for organized labor under my leadership.
"Therefore, I humbly ask for the endorsement of the [redacted] and for a personal endorsement as well. In addition, I am requesting a contribution of $2,000 to my re-elect campaign which will ensure our victory in November. I would be most grateful to receive your contribution before the Primary on May 19, for it will keep our momentum building toward a final victory in November. Checks can be made to: [redacted]."