Dissident union members seek to weaken president AFSCME unit to vote Sunday BALTIMORE CITY

October 01, 1993|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,Staff Writer

In an election scheduled for Sunday, Baltimore members of the AFSCME civil servants union will once again attempt to weaken the power of Glenard S. Middleton Sr., executive director of the union's statewide Council 67.

The challenge to the controversial Mr. Middleton is being launched by members of Local No. 44 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the third-largest Baltimore City labor union with 4,300 members.

Mr. Middleton's stormy four-year tenure as president of Council 67 has been marked by fistfights, threats, lawsuits -- including one over a contested election -- and alleged mismanagement that led to his dismissal, later overturned.

A slate of 13 delegate candidates calling themselves the "New Direction" team is seeking election when polls open at 8 a.m. at Frederick Douglass Senior High School, 2301 Gwynns Falls Parkway in West Baltimore. Polls will stay open until 4:30 p.m. in the race to elect delegates to Council 67's convention Oct. 15-18 in the Bahamas.

"We're trying to lay a foundation" to oust Mr. Middleton, who also is president of Local 44, said Anthony P. Marciszewski, a public works mechanic and delegate candidate leading the campaign. "Local 44 has the largest membership of any local in the council with more than 4,000 members. We want to show them that 60 percent of their dues is going to Council 67 -- that's a half-million dollars worth of representation that we're not getting."

Mr. Marciszewski argues that Mr. Middleton cannot meet the needs of Local 44 and serve as executive director of the 14,000 member Council 67 at the same time. "Our members make up more than one-third of that council and we have no full-time president," he said. "We're getting very little service for our dues."

If the New Direction delegates are elected, he said, they will push for a convention amendment prohibiting any full-time employee of Council 67 from holding any position as officer or executive board member of its affiliated locals.

Efforts to reach Mr. Middleton, who makes about $80,000 annually as executive director of Council 67, were unsuccessful.

Mr. Marciszewski lost a race to Mr. Middleton a year ago to head Local 44 in a protested election now under review in federal court. He said he will soon challenge Mr. Middleton again for the presidency of Local 44.

Mr. Middleton, a former Baltimore jail guard, was elected to the top job with Council 67 in 1987 in an angry, hectic election that had to be resolved by the national union. He was fired from that position by his board in 1991, a decision later overturned by the union's national president. The day after the board's vote to replace Mr. Middleton with staff representative John H. Carter, a fistfight broke out in the parking lot between members of the two factions.

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