November 5, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Several Long Island labor unions and the Working Families Party are considering challenging Rep. Kathleen Rice next year to “hold her accountable” for switching sides on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, strongly opposed by organized labor. Rice, serving her first term representing a Nassau County district, promised to vote against giving President Barack Obama fast-track authority on the deal while she was running for election in 2014, but in June voted in favor of it.
Michael Gendron, executive vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 1108 in Patchogue, said people are looking for a possible primary challenger, “if nothing else, just to send a message that we cannot be taken for granted." But while local and all but two national labor unions have cut off their contributions to Rice's campaign fund, officials of larger federations do not want to jeopardize Democrats’ chances of regaining the House next year. "We would like Nancy Pelosi to be speaker," said AFL-CIO government affairs director Bill Samuel, adding that the federation has not decided whether it will endorse or oppose Rice and other Congressmembers who voted for fast-track. Read more