Back when I started working on Social Security reform in the late 1990s, there was a progressive group known as the 2030 Center that was organized to fight against personal accounts, and I often found myself across the debating table from 2030's director, Hans Riemer. Social Security reform is a pretty small community and you tend to get to know, and often like, people with whom you disagree and work against on the issue. Riemer was one of those people, but nevertheless no one would mistake him for anything but a liberal on Social Security or, for that matter, pretty much any other issue.
Any other issue than public-sector pay, however. As the Washington Post editorialized last week, Hans Riemer is now a newly-elected member of the Montgomery County Council, Maryland, which is taking up legislation that would give the council somewhat greater leverage in its negotiations with public employees, whose generous pay and benefits have put increasing pressure on county finances. The bill merely says that when pay negotiations break down and go to arbitration--a process that in the past almost always favored public employees--the arbitrators should give strong consideration to the county's ability to meet employee pay demands without raising county taxes. This legislation would give employees a stronger incentive to reach agreement with the county rather than go to arbitration.
As you would expect, public employee unions strongly oppose this legislation, as they tend to oppose pretty much any attempts to rein in rising public-sector compensation. (I don't exactly blame them for that; they're unions, after all, not taxpayer advocates.) But, as the Post has noted in the past, Montgomery County public employee unions hold such political sway that they can effectively deny re-election to any elected official who crosses them.
The far-from-moderate Riemer is apparently among that group. The Post reports that he is considering supporting the arbitration reform bill. In response, the Post says,
Gino Renne, who leads the union representing 6,000 general county workers, publicly abused county lawmakers who are backing the bill. He singled out Hans Riemer, a Democrat who took office this week, telling him, "You're gonna be a one-termer, pal."
So there you have it: even a professional progressive advocate is not progressive enough for public-sector unions. And the sad thing is, given Montgomery County public employee unions' political power in the past, Renne's threat to Riemer is hardly an idle one.