An official with a union that represents a number of blue-collar workers with the state of Alaska, the municipality of Anchorage and other entities said a mailer issued by the Dave Bronson campaign sends an incorrect message that the union has endorsed the candidate.
The Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 71 has not endorsed Bronson, who is running for Anchorage mayor against Forrest Dunbar, said Jordan Adams, the union’s business manager, in a letter to Bronson dated Thursday and posted on the union’s site.
The mailer that Adams references recently hit mailboxes. It’s titled “Anchorage is at a CROSSROADS.”
It contains a quote attributed to Todd Peplow, president of Local 71, that says he and “hundreds of Union members” support Bronson because his opponent, Assembly member Forrest Dunbar, voted to support COVID-19-related business shutdowns.
The union did not approve that statement from Peplow, Adams said.
“In utilizing his official title and purporting to speak for ‘hundreds of union members,’ Mr. Peplow” violated the union’s constitution, protocols for candidate debate and the direction of the executive board and general membership, Adams said in the letter.
“The actions he took were unauthorized, invalid, and must be rescinded,” Adams said of Peplow’s statement.
Peplow, in an interview Friday, said he didn’t seek authorization from the union. He said he won’t retract his statement.
Peplow said his reference to hundreds of union members supporting Bronson refers to members of various unions, not just Local 71, that he has met in Alaska.
“I’m president of Local 71 and if they use my title as president, I consider that free speech,” he said.
He said he did not consider the mailer misleading.
“It doesn’t say Local 71 members,” Peplow said.
The local union chapter represents about 2,500 public employees, such as labor, trade and crafts-workers with the state.
The union chapter only gives contributions or endorsements to candidates who reach out to it and communicate how their vision will benefit members, Adams writes.
The union was not afforded that opportunity from Bronson, Adams writes.
On the other hand, the union has provided a $1,000 check to Dunbar, who reached out to the union, Adams writes.
Bronson’s public positions suggest he would take actions that would not benefit the union’s members, Adams writes.
“Since your own public statements indicate that you would ‘cut everything but police,’ we are left with the impression that would also mean the essential services our members provide, upon which police, fire, and the public rely,” Adams’ letter says.
Peplow asserted that Adams unilaterally issued the check to Dunbar.
“The board wanted to stay neutral, and he made that donation,” Peplow said.
Adams did not return a request for an interview.
Bronson said Friday he doesn’t think the quote is misleading.
“We had a guy that endorsed us,” Bronson said, and the campaign went with it.