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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Organized Labor's Influence on A-town City Council Prez Michael D'Amore

Michael D'Amore may already be President of Allentown City Council, but he's only been an elected official since 2005, He's faced the voters just twice. Yet for just two City Council races, he's picked up $13,851 in union contributions.

This might explain why he was holding hands with Norco Controller Steve Barron at T-Mobile last month. Or why he wanted Allentown's TC Salon built at prevailing, i.e. union, wage. Or why he pushed a union-backed proposal to "license" HVAC technicians, i.e. make them join a union. Or why just a few months ago, he sponsored a resolution calling on local colleges and hospitals to sever ties with non-union cafeteria service Sodexo.

It's safe to say he looks for that union label. I have no problem with his desire to organize workers. But what troubles me is that while he plays the role of union boss, Allentown's very real problems get worse. I've seen him try very hard to dismiss people who have complaints about Allentown parks or the systematic home inspection of low-income residents. But ordinary folks don't contribute to D'Amore. Unions do, and according to Lehigh County's records, they are by far his biggest contributor.

Other Council members are hopping on that gravy train, too. In his 2007 race for City Council, Peter Schweyer gobbled up $5,450 from labor unions. Time prevented me from looking over the reports filed by other Council members, but I'll be looking at the remainder soon. Hopefully, a Donovan proposal to post City Council finance reports online, will soon become law.

In the meantime, here's an itemized list of the union contributions made to D'Amore.
Labor Local, 10/23/09, $250
Sheetmetal Workers, 11/9/09, $250
William Newhard (union mogul), 10/23/09, $200
Local 32 BJ, 10/30/09, $2,000
Plumbers Local, 10/14/09, $200
Boilermakers, 4/22/09, $250
Steamfitters, 1/23/09, $500
Internat'l Union Painters, 2/9/09, $2,000
Sheetmetal Workers, 2/12/09, $500
Teamsters, 2/20/09, $500
LABORERS lOCAL 1174, 2/23/09, $1,500
Carpeters, 3/4/09, $500
Roofers, 3/31/09, $500
IBEW, 4/30/09, $500
Bricklayers, 4/30/09, $500
IBEW, 12/26/09, 12.26.07, $1,000
Plumbers, 11/1/05, $250
Roofers Local, 11/4/05, $250
SEIU, 11/4/05, $51.38
Carpenters, 11/7/05, $250
Steamfitters, 10/28/05, $400
Sheetmetal, 10/28/05, $500
Bricklayers, 5/20/05, $250
LABORERS Local, 6/2/05, $200
Bricklayers, 9/20/05, $100
UAW, 8/1/05, $100
Painters, 10/17/05, $250
LV Labor Council, 10/19/05, $100
Updated 9:56 AM: Allentown's campaign finance reform proposal, calling for online disclosure, has been introduced by Peter Schweyer, not Donovan.


Anonymous said...

Between Barron and D'Amore, they could fill up a clown car.

Like Callahan's forced smile on the picture.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile the $1.5 Million RACP grant for 19th Street sits in limbo with everyone scrambling for another local match because D'Amore and his union ideals.

If this falls through it can be directly attributed to this guy.

Anonymous said...

You say you are not opposed to unions but spend this entire post lambasting their evil ways.

And just to bring you back to earth, people vote not unions. This guy can raise money (nice list of platry peanuts contributions by the way) but you need to get voters in the booth. Duh.

Anonymous said...

Just want to be sure we understand. All those unions you listed are strictly for D'Amore. Not one else?
It's disgusting but thanks for such hard work to reveal it. Maybe D'Amore will address the poor handicap curbing as cited in today's front page Morning Call story.
Wasn't that constructed under the union label? Do they offer refunds?

Anonymous said...

RACP What is this? And is the $1.5 M for street renovations or the salon? Did that salon open? Did they complete construction without
union workers?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You say you are not opposed to unions but spend this entire post lambasting their evil ways."

When I criticize union excesses or their attempts to buy a politician, don't assume that I am therefore anti-union. I support the right to organize and believe unions are necessary.

This post reveals the relationship that D'Amire has with organized labor. The whole point of campaign finance reports is to inform the public. They are by far his biggest contributor and he spends an inordinate amount of city council buisness dealing with their wishes, while ignoring the concerns of other citizens who have problems, too.

D'Amore is apparently something of a union hack. Schweyer raked in quite a bit of money from them for his city council race in 2007, too.

People should know these things. They candraw their own conclusions.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"RACP What is this? And is the $1.5 M for street renovations or the salon? Did that salon open? Did they complete construction without union workers?"

I was unable to find an answer to that question and will try to find out today. maybe someone here will know.

Bernie O'Hare said...


As I recall, it was some kind of pig roast.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Just want to be sure we understand. All those unions you listed are strictly for D'Amore. Not one else?"

Those unions contribute to many different campaigns.

Jon Geeting said...

Just want to make sure people understand that this is a total 180 for Bernie on this topic. Whenever I point out that Charlie Dent's votes match up perfectly with the policy priorities of his various corporate donors, Bernie dismisses it with something akin to "Gee, I thought he was a puppet of Big Oil. Now it's Big Insurance?"

It's not an especially compelling point that politicians are very attentive to the concerns of the people who fund their campaigns. If several thousand dollars is all it takes for unions to capture Mike D'Amore, then shouldn't several hundred thousand dollars each from banks, oil and natural gas companies, and health insurance companies should have that much stronger of an influence on Charlie Dent's priorities? Can't have it both ways.

Bernie O'Hare said...


Let's get some things straight. I don't like the inordinate influence special interests have in elections. I support clean election law reform for that very reason. But in the bigger races, where so much money is needed, the influence of these special interests actually decreases.

Let's look at Callahan's big pension fund donor. In the Congressional race, that amounts to just 2% of the monies he's raised. But in the City race, it is well over 10%.

Let's look at unions. In D'Amore's case, it amounts to a large percentage of the fiunds he's raised, close to 50%. This, it is difficult for him to say he is not beholden to those interests. He may swear it means nothing, but thanks to Steve Barron, we know it does.

Anonymous said...

Would you look at the photo? Did someone say "gravy?" Is there any self control anymore?