New Haven Mayor John DeStefano today received three big labor endorsements for his gubernatorial campaign, from the kind of union folks who actually get off their butts and work during an election.
New England Health Care Employees District 1199, Local 32 BJ (both SEIU affiliates) and UNITE HERE Locals 34 and 35 all pledged their support to DeStefano today. “We have found the mayor to be very supportive of labor in general, and the working poor in particular,” said Kurt Westby, Connecticut District Chairman of Local 32BJ, adding that the mayor was instrumental in passing a living wage ordinance in New Haven. “His record in New Haven is unparalleled.“DeStefano’s press conference was held at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, but his campaign scheduled media events in New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury, Danbury, Middletown, Manchester, Norwich, New Britain and Torrington. The labor announcement comes one day after DeStefano reported raising far less than his challenger for the Democratic nomination, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy. Some campaign watchers view the timing of the announcement as an attempt to offset the bad fundraising news.While some union endorsements look good only on paper, SEIU and UNITE HERE actually turn out their members as ground soldiers, said Bobby Proto, President of Local 35 UNITE HERE.“If you know the cultures of 1199 SEIU, and 32 BJ, and UNITE HERE, you’ll know that our culture is not just words, not just paper endorsements,” Proto said. “You’ll know that we’re ready and prepared to do the work across the state.“These union endorsements for DeStefano are the latest in a series on the part of labor, including the Communications Workers of America, the Connecticut State Building Trades, AFSCME Council 15 and a variety of locals. So far, Malloy has only announced the support of four relatively minor locals.“For the first time since 1986, the labor movement in this state- from the building trades to the machinists down at Sikorsky, to the hotel workers in this city, to the service workers- are doing something unique. They’re coming together,” DeStefano said.