To former Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza, union is a four-letter word.
Rimsza, mayor from 1994 to 2004, wrote a letter for one mayoral candidate that blasts three others who he claims are preferred by "out of control" union bosses.
Rimsza believes that "Greg Stanton, Claude Mattox, and Wes Gullett all have ties to labor unions with a lot to gain from a Mayor sympathetic to their cause," according to a news release sent out by the candidate Rimsza supports, Peggy Neely.
Rimsza then goes into detail about the supposed sins of each union-supported candidate:
"Mr. Mattox is supported by the largest public employee union in the city and stood with them by voting to support the food tax increase and the pay raises..."
"Mr. Gullett was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is the largest public employee union in the country. Nationally, they pushed for the boycott of Arizona. Locally, Mr. Gullett tried to get Maricopa County government to bargain with his union supporters..."
"And Mr. Stanton was an ardent opponent of SB 1070 and is supported by several labor and union groups such as the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union and the AFL-CIO affiliate Maricopa Area Labor Federation, who together have stood against Arizona and supported boycotting the state..."
We can't speak for all of these candidates, but it should be noted that Wes Gullet once served as former chief of staff for the highly conservative former Governor Fife Symington. As a lobbyist, he obviously takes money from those willing to give, but that doesn't necessarily mean Gullett personally supports the SEIU's causes, any more than a defense lawyer supports the alleged crimes of a client.
Neely seems to be using Rimsza to garner support from right-wing Tea Party types, though labor unions don't have as many sympathizers in Arizona -- a right-to-work state -- as they do elsewhere in the country.
Whether the attack on labor unions and the three mayoral candidates works for Neely will become apparent in the August 30 Phoenix election.
Neely's also a big supporter of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
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