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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 17, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 07
Ed Murray wins key union endorsement
Section One
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Ed Murray wins key union endorsement

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray won a key endorsement in his race for re-election on February 15, when he secured the support of the Martin Luther King County Labor Council (MLKCLC).

The MLKCLC includes some 150 union locals representing more than 80,000 workers and is the largest county labor council in the state. Its endorsement opens the way for financial contributions and assistance in get-out-the-vote campaigns.

Murray had already been endorsed by some of the Labor Council's biggest members, including UNITE HERE 8, representing hotel and restaurant workers; the Seattle/King County Building & Construction Trades Council, representing 19 affiliated unions; AFSCME Council 2, representing county and city employees; Professional and Technical Employees 17, the largest union representing City of Seattle workers; Laborers 242, representing hod carriers and general laborers; IBEW 77, representing electrical workers; Sheet Metal Workers 66; and IAM 751, representing Boeing machinists.

SEIU 775, which represents home health care workers but is not part of MLKCLC, has also endorsed Murray. Its president, David Rolf, co-chaired Murray's minimum wage commission in 2014.

The MLKCLC endorsement is testimony to Murray's pro-labor record as mayor and his dogged pursuit of good relations with organized labor.

In the 2013 election, many of the same unions that support him now endorsed Murray's opponent, then-incumbent Mike McGinn, but since taking office in 2014, Murray has won over organized labor with an ambitious legislative agenda.

Less than six months into his first term, Murray signed a historic ordinance raising Seattle's minimum wage to $15 per hour. He also backed successful measures to offer paid sick leave to city employees and give secure scheduling to hourly workers.

In a brief speech to MLKCLC delegates, the mayor announced his latest accomplishments: upping paid family leave for city employees to 12 weeks and expanding the city's priority hire program, which promotes jobs for women, people of color, and the working poor.

Also endorsed at the MLKCLC's February 15 delegate meeting were King County Executive Dow Constantine and Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council Position 8.

Mosqueda, currently political director for the Washington State Labor Council, is running for the at-large City Council seat now occupied by Tim Burgess, who is retiring. Unlike Murray and Constantine - who so far have drawn only token opponents - Mosqueda will have a race on her hands.

The rare open Council seat has attracted nine candidates, including housing advocate Jon Grant, who ran unsuccessfully against Burgess in 2015, former Urban League and NAACP activist Sheley Secrest, and Transgender activist Mac McGregor.

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