NEW YORK—A politically influential building service workers’ union endorsed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on Tuesday for mayor in the Democratic primary, providing her biggest union backing so far.
With the city’s major unions dividing their support among various Democratic mayoral candidates, the endorsement of Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ brings Quinn a labor plum in the heated race.
Union President Hector Figueroa pointed to Quinn’s role in passing measures requiring many businesses to provide paid sick leave and requiring some companies that get city subsidies to pay what’s known as a “prevailing wage.”
While Quinn declined to bring the paid sick time measure to a vote for three years, she ultimately backed it this year. The Council is expected to vote soon to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the initiative.
“Throughout her career, she has worked side-by-side with our union on the issues that matter most to workers — and she has a proven track record of getting things done as a manager and legislator,” Figueroa said in a statement.
The union represents 75,000 janitors, doormen and other workers in the city. While not the biggest of the city’s unions, it cuts a high political profile. The union aims to mobilize 5,000 campaign volunteers for the September primary and the November election, Figueroa said.
Quinn praised the union in a statement as a “backbone of New York City’s middle class,” which she calls the focus of her campaign.
Quinn has been the council’s leader since 2006 and a member since 1999.
Her Democratic rivals include former City Councilman Sal Albanese, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, the Rev. Erick Salgado, former Comptroller William Thompson and former Rep. Anthony Weiner. Republican contenders include billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joe Lhota and George McDonald, who heads a nonprofit group that helps the homeless.
Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. is running as the Independence Party candidate.