More labor supporters of Christine Quinn’s defeated mayoral campaign are jumping over to Bill de Blasio’s bid for City Hall.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 have joined SEIU 32BJ in endorsing Mr. de Blasio, sending a not-so-subtle hint to his Democratic rival Bill Thompson, who is waiting to see if he can eke into a runoff election.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a relatively modest-sized but politically aggressive union, has announced more endorsements for the 2013 election cycle.
The support, which spans City Council races across the five boroughs, was given to a mixture of incumbents and open-seat contenders, and includes candidates who have amassed large labor coalitions like Austin Shafran in Queens and less establishment-oriented hopefuls like John Mancuso in Staten Island. All are Democrats.
She may not have announced her bid yet, but Council Speaker Christine Quinn has started to collect support from key labor allies as she campaigns for City Hall. To wit, the politically active Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union gave Ms. Quinn their official seal of approval tonight, with RWDSU President Stu Appelbaum offering especially effusive praise in the process.
“Throughout her career, Chris Quinn has consistently fought to make life better for vulnerable and marginalized residents of our city, including low-wage workers, immigrants, people of color, the undocumented, the homeless, the unemployed, and LGBT New Yorkers,” Mr. Appelbaum said in a lengthy statement. “We are a progressive, activist union that represents and organizes the most vulnerable and marginalized workers in our city today. We believe Chris Quinn will be a progressive, activist mayor for those workers and their families.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn won’t tolerate anyone messing with Mayor Bloomberg and Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, doesn’t want messing with Ms. Quinn for angrily leaving this morning’s rally celebrating the upcoming vote to pass the living wage bill after someone mocked the mayor.
Ms. Quinn made her exit from morning’s rally on the City Hall steps when someone shouted a crack about “Pharaoh Bloomberg.” Mr. Appelbaum, who was in attendance at the awkward rally, leapt to the Speaker’s defense this afternoon with a press release reminding people of her role in getting the living wage bill vote passed in the first place.
“Make no mistake, there would be no living wage law bill without the Speaker,” Mr. Appelbaum said. “Even though Chris may have left the rally after declaring her support for the bill, the most important thing for us to remember is that thousands of new Yorkers will receive higher wages because she had the courage to stand up and pass the living wage law.”
Assemblyman Rory Lancman grabbed the first major union endorsement in the race to replace Gary Ackerman in Congress, scoring the backing of the increasingly vocal Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union.
“Rory Lancman has been one of the most aggressive and effective advocates for working people in New York,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of RWDSU. “Our endorsement of his candidacy sends a clear message: Rory is the candidate of working people in this Congressional race.”
The RWDSU boasts of a 40,000 strong membership, but its real strength has been in its increasing advocacy of social justice matters over the last couple of years, most recently in its concerted push for a living wage bill in New York City.
The Jewish Labor Committee, which is headed by Stuart Appelbaum, is hosting their annual dinner as labor makes their big push for living wage legislation. Mr. Appelbaum is also the President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Among the labor bigwigs attending Mr. Appelbaum’s event is Richard Trumka, the national head of the AFL-CIO.
Further connecting the dinner to the living wage fight, the Jewish Labor Committee has recently been campaigning for the bill, which would require taxpayer-subsidized projects to pay higher wages. “Having prominent Jews on board with living wage and understanding living wage as an important issue for progressive Jews to support is certainly helpful,” one insider familiar with the event said. “Though let me stress that tonight is much bigger than living wage–Israel and other issues will be discussed.”
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union announced today that they were endorsing President Barack Obama for re-election.
In a statement, RWDSU head Stuart Appelbaum, who has made his name over the past several years as one of the city’s most ferocious critics of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, had high praise for the president, describing as a champion of the working class.
The coalition that is trying to stop Walmart from building one of their superstores in the five boroughs is taking their case to a new audience tonight: Brooklyn hipsters.
This evening, the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union–one of the leaders of the anti-Walmart fight–are hosting a concert featuring Indie artists Caithlin de Marrais (formerly the frontwoman of the acclaimed Ranier Maria) and Yellowbirds at Union Hall in Park Slope.
“We have a creative collective that is about getting cool and buzzed about bands and artists excited about the campaign against Walmart,” said RWDSU spokesman Dan Morris. “There is lot of interest in this campaign and in this fight.”
A poll by The New York Times showed that 62 percent of residents favor Walmart opening in the city.