Unions to Bloomy: Un-Happy Term Limits Birthday
The one-year anniversary of Mike Bloomberg's term-limits flip-flop is being celebrated today by a pair of unions who chose the date to announce their endorsement of Bill Thompson for mayor -- while throwing in some tough language about the incumbent.
Electricians Local Union No. 3, one of the city's most powerful construction unions broke with fellow building trades locals to back Thompson. Here' Chris Erikson, Local 3 business manager, on why they did it:
"We believe that Bill Thompson will be an outstanding Mayor. During his tenure as Comptroller, Bill has shown his commitment to New York's working families. We know that as Mayor, he will be the advocate that hard-working men and women across our City need."
The electricians then added a couple zingers: "A year ago today, on October 2, 2008, Republican Mike Bloomberg declared his intentions to overturn term limits so he could run for a third term - claiming he was the only person that could guide us through these tough economic times. Today the City is facing a 10.3% unemployment rate, a record number of homeless families sleeping on our streets, a slew of incomplete development projects, and a middle class flight."
And there was this from United Auto Workers Region 9A director Bob Madore as he announced his union's backing for Thompson: "Bloomberg ignored the voters of New York to suit his own interests. And now he wants to use $150 million of his own money to buy the election - while the City's middle class residents get squeezed out of the City due to the very financial crisis he's pledged to fix... It's time for change in New York City, and Bill Thompson offers us that change."
Unions are so far fairly evenly split between Thompson and Bloomberg. Thompson's endorsements include the giant District Council 37, the Communication Workers, Transport Workers Union Local 100, the Retail Workers (RWDSU), and the Public Employees Federation.
Bloomberg is big with the construction trades (which is why Local 3, which backed Bloomy in 2005, is a notable exception), the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers, sanitation workers, and SEIU Local 32BJ.
Still to weigh in are several heavyweights, including the United Federation of Teachers (which is currently negotiating its contract with City Hall), and health care workers 1199 SEIU. Also unannounced is Hotel Employees Local 6, although sources say a Bloomberg endorsement by that politically active union is upcoming.
(n.b.: UAW Local 2110 represents Voice workers, though it doesn't consult directly with us about its political endorsements -- a major mistake on its part, sometimes leading to moral, if not political, embarrassment.)
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