Labor leader Bill Camp now on administrative leave

Days after firing its longtime executive secretary, Bill Camp, the Sacramento Central Labor Council board has rescinded the termination and instead placed Camp on leave, according to an internal letter signed Friday by the council’s president. The move comes after national AFL-CIO officials challenged the termination process.

Writing to union officials Friday, council President Lino Pedres said Camp is now “on paid administrative leave while (the board) looks into various issues regarding his tenure here.” The letter states the council expects its review to last several weeks, and the council has told Camp not to speak publicly about the issue.

The council board met with national union officials Friday. Afterward, Pedres issued a public statement saying the council is following an internal process “regarding personnel issues. To protect the integrity of that democratic process, we don’t have any further comment at this time.”

The week revealed a rift in the coalition, which represents 104,000 workers. Supporters of Camp contend the attempted firing stems from Camp’s opposition to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s ballot initiative, Measure L, which would increase the powers of the mayor’s office. Pedres had earlier said Measure L is not the issue. Camp could not be reached for comment.

Brian Rice, head of the Firefighters Local 522, said he supports Pedres’ efforts. “I think he wants to rebuild the Central Labor Council. I hope he doesn’t waver.” Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer said he supports a leadership change as well, saying the labor council’s relationship with the city had deteriorated.

Camp’s union representative, the Office & Professional Employees International Union Local 29 in Oakland, has filed a grievance on Camp’s behalf, contending in a letter to Pedres that Camp’s placement on administrative leave is “without just cause,” and calling the gag order a violation of Camp’s free-speech rights.

Eric Sunderland, a labor council delegate and Camp supporter, said he and others plan to make a statement at the labor council’s annual Labor Day picnic Monday in Land Park in support of Camp.

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