Beltrami flips: Would take ‘leave of absence’

Alaska AFL-CIO Boss Vince Beltrami, fielding questions during KAKM’s Running series.

Weeks of intense criticism of AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami have taken their toll.

The candidate who flipped from being a Democrat to a noncommittal has withered under pressure and in a recent letter to supporters, the union boss now says he will take a leave of absence from his job as AFL-CIO president, if elected to Senate District N.

There are a few problems with that:

  • Beltrami doesn’t disclose if he’ll take a paid leave of absence or if he’ll forego his $185,000 a year job.
  • Beltrami has to run for his job as AFL-CIO boss in another two years, which would be right in the middle of his Senate term.
  • How can he run for his AFL-CIO job if he is on leave?
  • Beltrami also doesn’t say if this would be a seasonal leave of absence, for the 90-day session, or if it’s an indefinite leave, since legislators work all year long.

And because it’s a personnel matter, voters will never know if the union is storing his earnings in a trust somewhere, which he’ll be able to access after he leaves office.



It’s been a tough week for Beltrami, who went on the record on Alaska Public Media in support of broad-based taxes, and the restructuring of the Permanent Fund dividend.

“Some kind of broad-based revenues we have to be able to agree on,” he said during his moment at the mic on KAKM.



Beltrami also figured in a graphic published by an independent group opposing his candidacy, in which some of his less-than-civil Twitter comments were captured. According to the word cloud below, Beltrami likes to belittle those who disagree with him, using the words “lame” and “coward” more than any other words he uses on Twitter.


To see how the word cloud was created, here are two examples of the kind of political dialogue he has provided Alaska workers as theirAFL-CIO boss over the past few years. Will Beltrami do better as a senator than he does as a mean-spirited, belittling union bully?