Although he had no problem with his firm helping employers against unions during union organizing campaigns, bargaining and labor disputes, Barack Obama’s former Labor Secretary Tom Perez couldn’t stand by his firm representing Maryland in lawsuits over Republican Larry Hogan ending unemployment benefits two months early.
“Maryland gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez resigned Friday from the Venable law firm after learning it is representing the state in its attempt to cut benefits for unemployed workers,” reported the Baltimore Sun on Friday.
“The governor’s position is inconsistent with my values and the future I want to build for Maryland,” Perez said in a statement. “As a result, I have resigned from my position with the firm.”
After his time as Secretary of Labor ended in 2017, Perez won the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, narrowly beating Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), and stayed in the position until January of this year.
In May, the Washington, DC firm Venable, LLP announced Perez had joined the firm as a partner in its Washington, DC office.
On its website, Venable states:
“We negotiate collective bargaining agreements; defend employers against unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board; defend employers in labor arbitrations arising from the discharge of union members, outside contracting, or an employer’s pension and health benefit fund obligations; and advise employers during union organization campaigns and petitions for union recognition…” [Emphasis added.]
Elsewhere, the firm states:
“Our experience includes many positive settlements that have achieved our clients’ objectives. We have also bargained to impasse, engaged in interest arbitration, and dealt with strikes and strike-related unfair labor practice issues before both the National Labor Relations Board and many public sector employee relations boards.”
In fact, at the time of his hiring, although it was noted by the Jacobin and Truthout—both socialist publications—most of his union allies stayed quiet at the dichotomy of a high profile and “pro-union” Democrat joining an “anti-union” law firm.
Although he was only with the law firm for two months, Perez—who is hoping to replace Hogan as Maryland’s governor—apparently had no problem with the firm representing ‘management’ in negotiations against unions in negotiations, strikes, as well as during union organizing campaigns.
He had no problem, that is, until he decided to run for governor and found his firm representing a Republican administration on an issue that his eight other Democratic Party primary candidates oppose.
“Perez joined the other eight announced Democratic candidates earlier in the day in issuing statements critical of Hogan’s decision on the unemployment benefits,” the Baltimore Sun reported. “The statements were gathered and publicized by the Metropolitan Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO Unions.”