To show how public employees were living
high off the hog, Cassidy slyly took no salary
during the first six months in office.
SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | Just a few months ago, San Leandro’s Stephen Cassidy was known across the East Bay as the gruff, often arrogant, anti-union mayor. Times have changed, indeed. Off went the pounds and gone is the animosity towards public employees. However, next year is also an election year.
On Monday, Cassidy refused to heed the advice of a public speakers who called on him to condemn the “terrorist actions” by striking BART workers.
Cassidy said he chose to telecommute on Monday, but would travel to his job in San Francisco on Tuesday.
“However, I believe in the right of individuals to collectively bargain and I’m not going to castigate anyone, as was requested,” said Cassidy. “But, I do hope both sides can come to an amicable settlement ASAP because it is highly disruptive for so many individuals.”
The newfound friendliness to labor, however, slightly dissipated when he thanked AC Transit workers, currently working without a contract since Monday, for not striking or “we would be swimming to San Francisco.”
Cassidy’s comments may not seem earthshaking to some, but they are in sharp contrast to the divisive rhetoric he employed four years ago in his successful campaign for mayor. During that campaign, Cassidy stoked anti-union fervor in San Leandro while routinely demonizing its city employees. The tenor rose so high that his opponent, former Mayor Tony Santos, labeled him as belonging to the Tea Party.
Earlier this year, as contentious negotiations between two of the city’s public employee unions and Police Officers Association over pension reform moved forward, Cassidy, at one point, claimed managers represented a higher tier of employment over regular city workers. The attempt at creating a class divide upset some union members.
Regardless, San Leandro is still one of the most ardent union towns in the Bay Area and any elected official looking for higher office past the mayor’s office will tone down the hate on public workers, at least, eventually.