Unions and a Post-Bruno Albany

As Liz noted, some of the state’s leading unions have been eerily silent ever since Joe Bruno announced his retirement. (A spokeswoman for 1199 SEIU, for example, declined requests for comments for two days.)

Two people I spoke to downplayed how durable or partisan the unions’ allegiances might be.

“[The unions are] so big, and they have so much money, that even if they were to fulfill their commitment to Bruno by supporting all the Republican candidates this fall, and the Democrats win, they’ll still land on their feet,” said one leading union official who asked not to be named.

“The next election is only two years away and they, and the teachers, are in a separate category of political actor,” this person said. “They’ve got nothing but money.”

Political science professor Doug Muzzio doesn’t think the unions’ silence means much.

"Talk is cheap. It’s in the lobbying, it’s in the campaign contributions, endorsements. They’ll do what they need to do to protect their interest. Whether it’s Democrats or Republicans that are in control, it doesn’t matter. It’s who you have to influence." Unions and a Post-Bruno Albany