Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

UFCW Local 21 endorses Mike McGinn for Mayor of Seattle

In a major boost for Mike McGinn's candidacy, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 21, announced this morning that they are backing the former Sierra Club leader and environmental activist to be Seattle's next mayor.

"We like Mike. He has a proven track record in this city of making things happen to better the lives of working people," explained Rachel Marcotte, a UFCW member who serves on the union's executive board and works at a local grocery store.

UFCW's press release (emailed to NPI) cited three reasons for the organization's decision to support McGinn rather than Joe Mallahan:
  • Winning housing and health benefits for Teaching Assistants at University of Washington (President of Graduate and Professional Student Senate, UW)
  • Helping head up effort to pass Seattle Parks Levy (Head of Great Cities, a local community organization)
  • Partnering with community members to preserve industrial land inside city of Seattle (Sierra Club leader).
Steve Williamson, Assistant to UFCW President Dave Schmitz, added:
We made this decision because we feel that Mike McGinn is a candidate with a broad range of experience rooted in the local community. The election is about the future of this great progressive city and Mike will do right by our members and help advance the lives of working people. Looking closely at his values and the leadership he has already provided, we feel strongly that he would represent working people in our city.
The King County Labor Council, the Carpenters, the Laborers, and the Police Guild have all endorsed Joe Mallahan, McGinn's rival. UFCW, which happens to be Washington State's largest private sector union, is McGinn's first big endorsement from the labor movement.

UFCW certainly has the ability to put boots on the ground... in a tight race, their help could make the difference for McGinn. However, this announcement could also prompt the unions backing Mallahan to invest more energy and resources into the contest to prevent a McGinn victory, since their primary concern is to prevent the Alaskan Way Tunnel project from getting off track. (McGinn, as readers know, is fiercely against the tunnel, while Mallahan is ardently for it).


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