k Texas Observer MARCH 15, 1968 ournal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c ladden Lets COPE Get off the Hook Galveston Don Gladden almost won endorsement from the State AFL-CIO’s Committee on end settled for a statement that Texas organized labor “recommend[s] support for our friend Don Gladden for lieutenant governor.” Probably Gladden had the votes to win a floor fight on endorsement but he decided in a meeting with the AFLCIO executive committee, just before the matter was submitted to delegates here, that endorsement would not be worth the price of causing an almost-certain split .in the state labor organization. Gladden still is uncertain whether he decided the matter correctly. He had things going his way when he decided to let COPE off the hook and not take the issue to a probably divisive battle on the convention floor. It was a tough decision and some tears were shed by more than one man before it was taken. Don Yarborough, as expected, won COPE’s full endorsement for governor. Republican voters were urged to “consider the qualifications” of John Trice for that gubernatorial nomination. Gladden maintains he has the strongest backing from Texas organized labor that any candidate for lieutenant governor has received. This claim probably overlooks 1962, when the AFL-CIO concentrated, in . vain, on electing Jimmy Turman virtually to the exclusion of every other statewide race. Also, Yarborough’s 1960 race for the state’s No. 2 job drew high state labor interest, though Gladden is probably correct in saying he has more support from labor this year than Yarborough did eight years ago. Saturday night, after the COPE meeting broke up, the machinists union, the State AFL-CIO’s largest single component, with 30,000 members, voted endorsement of Gladden and Yarborough. The next morning the local presidents of the communications workers unanimously voted endorsement of Gladden. These two unions formed the bulk of Gladden’s delegate support here and never wavered in their commitment to his endorsement. Generally, Gladden’s votes here were among the industrial union members; opposition came from the building trades from whose ranks comes State AFL-CIO president Hank Brown. Brown was the leader of opposition to endorsement and put the question here as one of whether delegates support the leadership of their labor organization. This was a basis on which Gladden did not want to wage his contest for endorsement, knowing that if the issue became a vote of confidence for Brown then Gladden would fare less well than otherwise. THE REASONS for Brown’s insistence on no endorsement do not lie in fears that labor’s money would be spread too thin thereby, though most of the state news media reported the story this way. Endorsement does mean labor commits itself to back a candidate with money, whereas recommendation does not, but Gladden said he was not primarily seeking labor’s money. He told the Observer he gladly would have taken endorsement even if it meant he would not receive a penny of labor money. Endorsement, to Gladden, meant credibility as a candidate against the powerful Ben Barnes. It would mean, as he often said this weekend, he “would not be relegated in press accounts to the bottom paragraphs of stories on inside pages next to stories of Johnnie Mae Hackworth’s gubernatorial campaign.” Endorsement meant, in Gladden’s mind, that he would be taken seriously by the press, by political workers, by other liberal campaign money sources, and by the voters. Brown probably under s t o o d this and yet he persisted in holding endorsement from Gladden. Probably Brown felt he had been put on the defensive in a very public way by Gladden’s determined bid for endorsement and resented this. But, more to the point, Brown had committed, somewhere along the line, that Barnes’ candidacy is to be given every advantage. The nature of the deal that Brown has made with national labor leaders is still uncertain. One version is that Sen. Ralph Yarborough, George Meany, Hank Brown, and Gerald Brown, the executive secretary of the Texas building trades council, had met, evidently in Washington. President Johnson is said to have been in touch with the men by telephone during the course of their deliberations. It was reportedly agreed that Texas labor would concentrate on Don Yarborough’s election and would not impair Barnes’ efforts. Thus a considerable amount of out of state money, the figure $200,000 was heard, most of it from labor sources, would be raised for the DY campaign. Brown is reported to have given this version of the situation during a caucus with the Harris county delegation the Thursday night before the convention began. That afternoon Brown reportedly told an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers caucus that national labor money would be made available to Don Yarborough so long as Barnes was not by Texas labor. Yarborough denies making any such agreements that would withhold help from Gladden and aid Barnes. He is known to have talked about the DY campaign with labor leaders, discussing how to help that drive. Whether Ralph Yarborough was or was not party to a deal in support of Barnes, probably Meany and President Johnson were the main prosecutors of the understanding with Brown, as was discussed in the last issue of the Observer. If, as is speculated, Brown did make a commitment to national labor leaders that the State AFLCIO would not impede the Barnes campaign, then Brown’s prestige was on the line at Galveston. Indeed, that appeared the issue here, since getting some Texas COPE money was not Gladden’s main concern, as he said several times during this weekend. Also a consideration in the proceedings, but to a far lesser extent, was Gladden’s underdog role in the race. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers became an object of much interest for both Brown and Gladden, though this union had only about 6,000 of the more than 121,000 votes at the convention. Since the IBEW is a building trades union and since Gladden had managed to have them leaning his way through most of the three-day convention \( they went back and forth, according to who was portance became magnified. Gladden felt he could carry most of the industrial unions and, if he could make inroads in the
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.