Fight over Sacramento labor leader’s ouster escalates

Longtime Sacramento labor leader Bill Camp, who appeared to have been abruptly fired Monday, may still have his job.

In a letter Thursday, the national AFL-CIO cautioned local officials at the Sacramento Central Labor Council that Camp, the council’s executive secretary, should not be considered terminated yet.

Addressed to the president of the Sacramento Labor Council, Lino Pedres, the letter states that in order to “properly” terminate the executive secretary, the labor group’s executive board must provide sufficient notice of the meeting in which the vote is taken, have a quorum, publish meeting minutes, and report the decision at the next delegates meeting for final approval.

“Though we fully respect the council’s independence in decisions around staffing, until these constitutional requirements have been met ... Bill Camp should not be considered terminated by your council.” The letter was signed by Al Davidoff, national AFL-CIO director of governance.

Several sources said AFL-CIO Western Region Director Jennifer Hernandez will be in Sacramento on Friday to meet with labor council executive board members to determine whether local leaders took the proper steps in terminating Camp. Hernandez and other AFL-CIO representatives could not be reached Thursday to confirm the meeting.

Pedres, who earlier told The Sacramento Bee that he held an executive board vote to oust Camp, did not respond to efforts to reach him Thursday.

The fight over Camp’s ouster as executive of the 104,000-member organization comes as proponents and opponents of a Sacramento’s strong-mayor ballot measure jockey for support from area labor leaders.

Camp, who has been with the labor council since 1999, told The Bee this week that he was not given a reason for his termination, but contended it was because of his strong opposition to Measure L, which is being advanced by Mayor Kevin Johnson and others and would dramatically increase the powers of the mayor’s office.

“There was an illegal ambush,” Camp said. He said he believes the mayor’s allies are trying to get rid of him so they can win the labor council’s support for the measure. He said he learned he was being fired when he found a letter taped to his office door, signed by Pedres and Central Labor Council recording secretary Margarita Maldonado, both officials with the powerful Service Employees International Union.

Camp could not be reached Thursday to comment about the AFL-CIO letter.

In his conversation with The Bee on Wednesday, Pedres said Camp’s dismissal stemmed from “several issues related to his work. It’s not about Measure L.” Pedres declined to elaborate.

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