Braddock District Supervisor John Cook has secured the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union by moving to the left of his opponent, Janet Oleszek, and the entire Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Cook has also applied for endorsements from other unions, among them the teacher’s union FEA, and the Northern Virginia Central Labor Council, which is the local AFL-CIO affiliate. Â Those two unions have not yet announced their endorsements.
In the questionnaire completed by Cook for the SEIU endorsement he supported a $15 minimum wage for ALL county employees. He also said he would open a discussion on the Fairfax Board of Supervisors to include a similar proposal statewide in the board’s Legislative Package, the Board’s wish list to be sent to Richmond. In his support of a $15 an hour minimum wage John Cook said:
“I understand the economic effects both nationally and locally from the large reduction in the buying power of the minimum wage. It is ironic we search for ways for the government to provide support and subsidies to working people because they are not paid at a level that reflects the value of their work.”
“”I don’t just talk about working with unions, I have done it!”
After completing the SEIU questionnaire, Cook went further telling the SEIU leaders he would attempt to get a bonus of $5,000 for every Fairfax county employee because in this time of tight budgets employees have not been given the raises that they deserve. Â (If the minimum wage were to be increased to $15 an hour, it seems likely that every other Fairfax employee would also need to receive a commensurate increase in their pay thus driving costs up even further.)
Needless to say, if Fairfax County were to enact these proposals it would cost the county many millions of dollars. There would need to be a substantial increase in real estate taxes to cover the costs. Even the liberal Fairfax county Board of Supervisors hasn’t proposed something like this with the accompanying tax increases. (As a sitting Supervisor, one has to wonder why John Cook hasn’t previously made these proposals to the board.)
This SEIU endorsement may or may not be good for John Cook’s re-election, but it’s bad for the other Republican candidates in Fairfax. All of them will be under pressure to either agree with Cook, and support a ridiculous minimum $15 an hour pay for all county employees, or disavow Cook and say he was wrong to support such a measure. That’s quite a bind for our Republican candidates.
Supervisor Cook tried something similar when he applied for the Fairfax Police Benevolent Association for their endorsement. He promised raises for all county police officers. Perhaps due to some skepticism on their part, the Police Association declined to endorse Cook. Â They made no endorsement in the Braddock district.
To clear up any confusionÂ that might ariseÂ about what Supervisor Cook said, or didn’t say, in his applications for union endorsements, we urge Supervisor Cook to release all union questionnaires, with his responses, to the SEIU, FEA, the Northern Virginia Central Labor Council and the Police Benevolent Association. Â When he does that The Bull Elephant will be happy to post his answers to the questionnaires in their entirety to quell any inaccurate rumors circulating in the community.