Top labor leader rapped for ‘sexist mindset’ in fundraiser criticism

Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan is joined by state workers and retirees outside the Illinois Supreme Court in Springfield in 2015.(AP File Photo/Sara Burnett)

Leaders of one of the most politically active labor unions in the state blasted the president of the Illinois AFL-CIO on Friday for what they called “unwarranted attacks” on a longtime Democratic consultant.

The consultant, Hanah Jubeh, has worked for organized labor and union-backed candidates for more than a decade. But the Illinois AFL-CIO — which is backing J.B. Pritzker for governor — criticized Jubeh’s work as chief fundraiser in the current primary campaign for Pritzker rival Chris Kennedy.

“Based on past political campaigns, combined with this campaign, many people, especially within the Illinois labor movement, are seriously questioning her abilities to manage statewide campaigns,” the Illinois AFL-CIO said of Jubeh in a newsletter published Tuesday.

The unusual, personal criticism of a longtime union ally in the newsletter prompted a response from Service Employees International Union Local 1 leaders. They told Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael Carrigan in a letter Friday that his behavior toward Jubeh was “repugnant.”

“Your recent singling-out of Jubeh highlights a sexist mindset toward women that has no place in politics, the labor movement or anywhere else in society,” wrote SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff and the clout-heavy group’s secretary-treasurer, Laura Garza.

Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU Local 1. last year. File Photo. | Lou Foglia/Sun-Times

“It denotes a hostility toward women who refuse to ‘fall in line’ with their male counterparts. … We demand an apology for your unacceptable behavior.”

Carrigan did not respond to requests for comment.

The service employees’ union — which is an investor in the parent company of the Chicago Sun-Times — has not endorsed any of the candidates in the March primary for governor and will remain neutral in that election, officials said.

The union has been a major supporter of many Democratic candidates, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, former Gov. Pat Quinn and unsuccessful 2015 mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

Jubeh is a consultant and former political director at the Chicago Federation of Labor, whose president is chairman of the board of the Sun-Times’ parent company.

She told the Sun-Times on Thursday that she thought Carrigan’s criticism of her was motivated by sexism and that Carrigan wanted to compel her to stop working for Kennedy.

Carrigan sent Jubeh an email last week highlighting an endorsement Pritzker received. “This, on top of two lousy fundraising quarters for Mr. Kennedy, reflects poorly on your abilities,” he wrote to Jubeh.

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