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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An update on the labor situation at the AG's Office

An interesting twist on the labor dispute at the Minnesota Attorney General's Office. According to another e-mail to staff posted on this site, Lori Swanson has announced that Miles Lord (former judge, AG, U.S. Attorney) and former Judge Jonathan Lebedoff will conduct an "informal advisory" on the staff's stance on unionization. The unionization issue -- which had been festering since Mike Hatch left the office last May -- recently resurfaced when three assistant AG's publicly identified themselves as supporting a union and called upon Swanson to recognize it.

Lord and Lebedoff -- who combined have practiced law in Minnesota since the days the dinosaurs roamed the Earth -- will apparently function as a two-man Warren Commission, visiting the attorneys in the office today to help Swanson get a "sense of the staff."

I am not sure how I feel about this idea, but I think it's better than Swanson doing the gauging herself as she indicated she intended to do in yesterday's e-mail. At the very least, one has to give Swanson points for innovation for coming up with this.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Cohen:

Thanks for the continuing coverage of this issue. I do not work at the AG's Office any longer, but your assumptions about Swanson's actions are truly naieve. You, like most people, approach this matter as if she (or Mike-- smae thing) would behave in an above-board or fair manner. No such luck.

Miles Lord is an old pal of Hatch's and I think the same is true of Lebedoff. Swanson would never have brought these two in if she didn't know the outcome before they started. Nor is there any apparent promise of confidentialy. much less some genuine guarantee of confidentiality, which would be essential to get a serious read on staff attitudes.

Please join the real world as to how Lori and Mike operate when you cover these issues. The track record for Hatch is long and utterly consistent... Swanson is Hatch. There is no separation or independence there. None.

Anonymous said...

How can she possibly think that having Lord and Lebedoff meet with attorneys and observe them while filling out a ballot to declare whether the AG3 letter "speaks for them" is getting a "sense of the staff?"

Anonymous said...

Isn't the best way to get a "sense of the staff" to hold the vote on whether the attorneys want to join a union?

What is taking so long?

Anonymous said...

it's called a "boss campaign" or "union busting" That is what is taking so long.

Anonymous said...

Many of us did not have the opportunity to speak with Lebedoff/Lord; many of us weren't asked to sign the "ballot," which was poorly worded and structured so that it was obvious to the Deputy Attorney General collecting the ballots which box was being checked. Staff members are afraid for their jobs and afraid to speak up about the conditions at this office. The ballots and the interviews were a meaningless publicity stunt.

Anonymous said...

Swanson's statement that she was out with the flu, implying that she didn't know about the AG3's letter, is preposterous because any kind of constituent letter is tracked more closely than most litigation -- and given an inordinate amount of attention an resources. It is hard to believe that Swanson would have little or no knowledge that a letter with the substance that the AG3's letter had, would be unaware in the first place, or unresponsive in the second.