So what if it’s at odds with the AFL-CIO’s national strategy? Big unions have had a silent pact with New York State Senate Republicans for years. It’s an important political expedient; after all, it only takes one party to kill a bill. But at this year’s AFL-CIO convention at the Sheraton in midtown, dissent was, quite literally, a laughing matter.
As hundreds of delegates chorused their ayes to officially sanctioned Republican incumbents, two lone delegates cried nay. By the end of the day, 61 incumbents got the union imprimatur, and the room was erupting into howls of laughter every time the two shouted “no.” The conscientious objectors were from Local 1930, the tiny city librarians’ union. “I guess it was amusing because the vote was so overwhelmingly against us,” sighs dissenting librarian Christine Karatnytsky. “There were between 600 and 700 people in the room, and here we were, just two people saying no…. It was just so absurd that, after a while, we were laughing too.”