Locals 1199SEIU and 32BJ yesterday announced an initial round of endorsements in Baltimore City Council contests, supporting candidates in eight out of 14 races. These are significant and meaningful endorsements. 1199SEIU political organizer Ricarra Jones, in comments to Maryland Scramble, stated: “Endorsements from 1199SEIU and 32BJ are not just exercises on paper. These locals back up their endorsements with financial support, vigorous mail programs and boots on the ground. For example, 1199SEIU will have members full-time on the doors in Baltimore City, working on behalf of our slate of candidates.” Hereâ€™s the press release:
SEIU LOCALS ENDORSE BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES
Politically potent unions to work for a slate of insurgents; incumbents that will best represent Baltimore Cityâ€™s working families
BALTIMORE - Union members from two politically active SEIU locals - 1199 and 32BJ - have endorsed an initial slate of insurgent and incumbent candidates for Baltimore City Council. The endorsed candidates are:
- Jermaine Jones, who is running for the open seat to be vacated by Robert Curran in District 3
- Kris Burnett, who is running for the open seat in District 8 currently held by Helen Holton
- John Bullock, who will challenge incumbent William “Pete” Welch in District 9
- Shannon Sneed, who is challenging Warren Branch in District 13 and narrowly lost to Branch in 2011 by a handful of votes in a write-in campaign
The SEIU locals also endorsed incumbents Brandon Scott (District 2), Sharon Green Middleton (District 6), Ed Reisinger (District 10) and Mary Pat Clarke (District 14) for a total of eight endorsements for the 14-member Baltimore City Council.
“It is time to clean house. We will work hard to elect advocates who will represent Baltimore Cityâ€™s working families,” said Lisa Brown, executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, MD/DC Division. “What we heard from our members and Baltimore residents during the Uprising in the aftermath of Freddie Grayâ€™s murder was the need for change in our city and a demand for our elected officials to be our voice and act in our interest.”
“These candidates support the nationwide push for a more livable minimum wage of $15 per hour,” said Jaime Contreras, 32BJ SEIU Vice President. “They understand that higher wages are critical to helping workers better support their families and Baltimoreâ€™s economy.”
Candidates completed questionnaires and interviewed with Union members and staff to discuss their positions on issues including higher wages and workplace standards; water affordability; changing police practices; transparency in public contracting; immigration; education; affordable housing; and sensible economic development policy.
SEIU locals 1199 and 32BJ are known as politically potent forces, putting feet on the street to work for endorsed candidates, along with mail and other communications with Union members and the general public. More than a dozen member political organizers will be working full-time knocking doors and engaging Baltimoreans in the issues and election. 1199SEIU has 4,000 health care worker members and 32BJ has over 1,000 janitors and security officers in Baltimore City.
“I was proud to work with my Union to put together this slate of candidates,” said Denise Wall, an 1199 member at GBMC. “They share our passion for making Baltimore City a fairer, more just city where everyone has access to good paying jobs, quality education and housing, and opportunity for the future.”
“I am proud to receive the endorsement from 119SEIU and 32BJ,” said Jermaine Jones. “As Councilman, I look forward to working with SEIU to advocate for working families. Together, we will improve the quality of life for the moms, dads and people who call Baltimore home.”
“As a community organizer, I have spent my life working with communities to improve our neighborhoods, so I understand firsthand the challenges Baltimore residents face every day,” said Kristerfer Burnett. “On the Baltimore City Council, I look forward to working with SEIU members so everybody who works hard in our city makes a living wage, has the health care they need to take care of their family and can retire with dignity.”
“I am truly honored to be endorsed by 32BJ and 1199SEIU,” said John Bullock. “I look forward to working side by side to improve wages and benefits for workers and furthering the progressive movement in Baltimore.”
“I am honored to receive this endorsement from 32BJ and 1199SEIU,” said Shannon Sneed. “When elected, I will be ready to stand with workers to fight for increase in wages and create policy that reflects the priorities of our communities and show the importance of our unions.”