Head of Trades Council rips pick of Sullivan to lead EDA

Tells leaders of 15 unions: Contact Gov. Murphy and tell him we are emphatically opposed to Sullivan’s appointment

By Tom Bergeron
Trenton | Jan 26, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Breaking News

William T. Mullen, the president of the New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council, ripped Tim Sullivan, Gov. Phil Murphy’s selection to lead the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, in a letter to the heads of 15 unions in the state sent Friday.

Mullen, one of the most powerful and influential union leaders in the state, blasted Sullivan in no uncertain terms, writing: “We do not need a Tim Sullivan here in New Jersey. Tim Sullivan is the worst kind of anti-building trades legislator.”

Mullen went on to encourage his fellow union leaders to “Contact the governor and all of our legislators and let them know that we are emphatically opposed to Tim Sullivan’s appointment to the NJEDA.”

Sullivan currently serves as the deputy commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Economic & Community Development.

In the letter, Mullen said he came to his conclusions on Sullivan after contacting the National and Connecticut Building Trades. Mullen wrote, “Unfortunately, the experience the Connecticut Building Trades and their Foundation of Fair Contracting have had with Mr. Sullivan are blatantly anti-building trades.”

It is unclear where the letter was sent — or if it was sent to the governor. It first appeared in a tweet from Matt Friedman of Politico late Friday afternoon.

A spokesman for Murphy did not immediately respond for comment.

Murphy, however, has been a strong union supporter throughout his campaign, repeatedly expressing his full support.

On his campaign website, murphy4nj.com, he wrote:

“The union door is a primary door through which so many of us — and our parents and brothers and sisters — walked into the middle class. We will build a stronger, more inclusive New Jersey economy because of our support for organized labor, not the other way around.”

It also says:

“Phil Murphy is a strong advocate for organized labor and is proud to have been endorsed by leading labor organizations across our state. He has stood with striking workers in picket lines across our state and has appeared before the Port Authority to protest their unwillingness to provide fair wages to workers at Newark airport. As governor, Phil will stand up for our brothers and sisters in organized labor and work to create new pathways into good, union jobs that foster a middle-class life.”

(READ MORE from ROI-NJ on Tim Sullivan’s nomination.)

Mullen’s letter was sent to the New Jersey union heads of the electrical workers, sheet metal workers, laborers, bricklayers and allied crafts, plasterers and cement masons, roofers, operating engineers, teamsters, insulators and allied workers, boilermakers, elevator constructors, painters, pipe trades, carpenters, and iron workers.

A source told InsiderNJ the letter is directly related to an ongoing rift between Murphy and state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford).

The letter reads as follows:

TO ALL OFFICERS

Dear Sir & Brother

Governor Murphy has appointed Tim Sullivan as the head of the NJ Economic Development Agency.

Mr. Sullivan is currently the Deputy Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) we reached out to the National and Connecticut Building Trades to see how Mr. Sullivan stands on Building Trades Issues. Unfortunately, the experience the Connecticut Building Trades and their Foundation for Fair Contracting have had with Mr. Sullivan are blatantly Anti-Building Trades.

Apparently, Mr. Sullivan is not only opposed to prevailing wage expansion, but he has been actively meeting with the Connecticut Department of Labor seeking loopholes to get around the current Davis Bacon Laws in effect and the enforcement of those laws as it pertains to his Department.

We do not need a Tim Sullivan here in New Jersey. Tim Sullivan is the worst kind of Anti-Building Trades Legislator because although we already have these protection laws in place in New Jersey he apparently willing to seek and to circumvent them. That is something that we cannot risk here and that our Governor should never condone nor tolerate. Please contact the Governor and all of our Legislators and let them know that we are emphatically opposed to Tim Sullivan’s appointment to the NJ EDA.

With kind regards, I remain

Fraternally,

William T. Mullen

President