Teamsters Union withdraws endorsement for Sen. Roger Reinert, critic of blue laws [UPDATE]
Except on Sundays
-- Updated at bottom with statement from State Sen. Roger Reinert --
The powerful Teamsters Union has rescinded its endorsement for state Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth), an opponent of the Sunday liquor ban.
In a letter that was published by Bluestem Prairie, union leadership questioned Reinert's integrity and said his "demeanor toward the DFL leadership and our allies has been outright offensive." By their own account, this is the first time in more than 30 years that they've withdrawn support for a sitting legislator.
For months, Reinert has challenged the union on its opposition to Sunday liquor sales -- specifically the growler provision, which would have allowed craft brewers to sell 64-ounce refillable containers on the Christian Sabbath. The only explanation that union leadership has provided publicly is a vague reference to an alcohol distributor who would be required to reopen contract negotiations if the legislation passed.
But unlike liquor stores, brew pubs and breweries are allowed to open throughout the week and make beverages onsite -- meaning they shouldn't require Sunday deliveries. Reinert has said he offered to ban Sunday deliveries to brewers all the same but the suggestion fell on deaf ears. (Neither the union nor Reinert returned our emails over the holiday weekend.)
On the other hand, the union letter, which is signed by president Patrick Radzak and political director Ed Reynoso, accuses Reinert of making false claims about having been denied access to the labor contract in question:
Surely you remember the conversation when I offered that opportunity but you stated that no matter what the language said, you would not change your position on the issue. In other words, regardless of what the impact was to Teamster members working in the liquor industry, you would not care.
Just in case there was any confusion about the role labor plays in left-wing politics, Radzak and Reynoso conclude with this warning to the state senator:
I would suggest that you review how the DFL Party was established, and remember that the 'L' in DFL clearly does not symbolize liquor friends, it represents LABOR!
Read the letter in its entirely on the second page.
::: UPDATE :::
Reinert got back to us Tuesday, writing in an email that the union's assertion about offering to show him the contract language is "patently false." He continued:
Regarding my understanding that the "L" in DFL is for labor - I have a near perfect labor voting record. Not to mention I am elected to represent the people of my district and Minnesota, not the Teamsters.
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