Is he a soccer nut? A patriotic American? Or just plain old cynical Third Way Democrat with a problem on his left looking for ways to appear "labor friendly?"
My fellow Kossacks, you be the judge.
New York state Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued a notice stating that state employees in the Executive branch could take an extra hour off at lunchtime to catch Team USA take on Germany in the World Cup.
Let's look at it below the fold.
Andrew Cuomo - most certainly someone with no record of being a friend to organized labor - issued an order today allowing employees under his direction to take an additional paid hour off at lunchtime to view the USA vs. Germany World Cup match.
On it's face - it seems like simply a nice gesture for his employees. However, given his record and the way the entire thing went down, it seems something else might just be at play - at least through the lens of those of us who view Andrew Cuomo as an extremely cynical anti-labor politician.
The notice was issued by the Executive Chamber right around lunchtime as the game started. In the world of New York State government, that means it's going to be a while before word trickles down from the Chamber, to the agency heads, to the agency HR department and finally out to the employees themselves, meaning many were not able to take advantage of the "gift" Cuomo was giving out as they weren't made aware of it until too late.
From a Cuomonian perspective this accomplishes a few things:
1. He gets to present an "I'm so awesome and love my workers" face to the rest of the world, who largely don't know his history with his own workforce. For example, both the Huffington Post and Time have written blurbs about it, FluffPo practically fawning over him for how "a boss should be for the World Cup." Of course, the Twitterverse also blew up with tons of tweets and retweets about how awesome of a boss Andrew Cuomo is, and surely, more articles are to come if the national media takes notice. Woohoo - free PR for Andrew Cuomo showing how awesome he is with labor and how much of a rock-star progressive he is, amirite? "Look at MEEEE! I'm so LIBERAL and PRO-LABOR I gave my employees a whole hour off!"
2. Many of his employees actually didn't get to take advantage of his "gift" simply because of the late notice and either having already returned from lunch or, in the case of many of the hardcore fans that would have really wanted to see the game - the ones most likely to be clamoring to watch the game - already scheduled the day as a vacation day to watch the game and not being in anyway. Again - win-win for Andrew Cuomo! He gets to say he did something awesome for his employees when in reality, far fewer were able to take advantage of it than the general public would be led to believe.
3. Of course, government employees getting an extra hour for lunch set the conservative chattering class in NY all ablaze with righteous indignation about how government employees are coddled jackasses who don't work and how it cost the state a shit-ton of money with bullshit calculations. Nevermind the entire state workforce couldn't have all left for an hour at the same time since a great deal of them tend to do shift work in public safety (cops, corrections officers, etc) and human services (24/7 mental health institutions and hospitals). Or that many other work regular M-F day shifts, but are in critical positions that deal directly with the public and therefore, can't simply walk away from the job. Also, nevermind that productivity in public and private sector offices around the nation likely took a huge nosedive today - that matters for naught with the professional chattering class. Andrew Cuomo wins again, as he's successfully gotten the resident anti-civil-servant, Koch-funded jagoffs in the state to get their followers all worked up in a lather so they can continue talking about how shitty civil servants are, making Cuomos job of screwing over civil servants that much more popular with the public.
Call me cynical, but I'm not buying that this was out of a sense of altruism, patriotism, fandom, or respect for his workforce. As with everything about Andrew Cuomo, this was about.... Andrew Cuomo and the Andrew Cuomo Brand. It helps him in any number of ways with no downside - at least if one considers that the conservatives pissed off about this would have never voted for him anyway.
*Don't get me wrong, as an employee, I'm grateful that the governor made the gesture so my coworkers could see the game if they wanted (I'm a soccer nut, so planned on a vacation day and hitting a pub for the game anyway). But as a Cuomo watcher who doesn't trust the guy as far as I could throw him, I see something more here than just someone trying to be a good boss. YMMV - maybe you think I'm just paranoid, and you're welcome to hold that opinion.