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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 23 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 34
Labor Council: No endorsement in Seattle mayor's race
Section One
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Labor Council: No endorsement in Seattle mayor's race

Union reps sharply divided between Murray, McGinn
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Union supporters of Mayor Mike McGinn and challenger Ed Murray fought to a standstill at the August 21 meeting of the Martin Luther King County Labor Council (MLKCLC). The meeting adjourned after two hours with no endorsement in the race for Seattle mayor.

As Labor Council delegates filed into the large meeting hall at Seattle's Labor Temple, both Murray and McGinn were on hand to greet supporters. Both inside and outside the hall, knots of delegates stopped to chat or line up last-minute votes.

Earlier in the day, the MLKCLC executive board met and voted to recommend a dual endorsement, based on the fact that both candidates had garnered significant union support.

SAILORS SHIFT TO MURRAY
Murray was backed by the Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council and many individual construction unions; Amalgamated Transit Union 587, the Metro drivers' union; United Transportation Union/SMART, which represents railroad workers; and the Washington State Council of County and City Employees Council 2.

Murray also picked up support from the Sailor's Union of the Pacific, which had supported Peter Steinbrueck in the August 6 primary. Steinbrueck finished third in the field of nine candidates.

McGinn had endorsements from the powerful IAM District 752, the Boeing machinists' union; UNITE HERE Local 8, which represents hospitality and food service workers; American Federation of Teachers Local 1789, representing community college instructors; and Teamsters Joint Council 28.

Teamsters Local 117 and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 42 gave endorsements to both candidates.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, the state's largest private-sector union, also backs McGinn, but it is not affiliated with MLKCLC and had no vote at the August 21 meeting.

DUAL ENDORSEMENT FAILS
When the executive board recommendation for a dual endorsement was put before the delegates, Murray's supporters spoke in favor of it, while McGinn's people tried to block it.

With a two-thirds vote necessary to pass the dual endorsement, and with both sides evenly matched, the meeting reached its time limit and adjourned without an endorsement.

'The Labor Council engaged in a vibrant and energetic exchange of viewpoints during the debate Wednesday evening on the Seattle Mayor's race,' MLKCLC Executive Director David Freiboth later told SGN.

'In the end, faced with two candidates with strong labor credentials, the body could not muster the two-thirds majority necessary to make a recommendation. It is possible the question will be revisited at our next delegate's meeting, September 19, but until then the Labor Council is on the sidelines.'

MURRAY OK WITH IT
Although the meeting adjourned with no endorsement in the mayor's race, Murray's campaign said it was satisfied with the outcome.

'We were fine with the results,' Murray consultant Sandeep Kaushik told SGN the next day.

'Our supporters in the labor community made a really strong showing at the meeting last night, which we very much appreciate. The outcome demonstrates that contrary to the claim by the mayor, and his attempts to polarize the race, the reality is that Ed has strong progressive support across Seattle including in the labor community.'

In the other Seattle city contest this fall, MLKCLC did approve a dual endorsement for incumbent City Council member Mike O'Brien and his challenger, Albert Shen.

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