The Massachusetts Building Trades Council AFL-CIO, the statewide coalition of 74 construction unions representing 75,000 workers, formally endorsed Congressman Steve Lynch on February 21st. Joining the state Building Trades Council in endorsing Lynch that same day was Painters & Allied Trades District Council #35, a New England-wide union representing commmercial and construction painters, glaziers and public sector workers. Two days earlier the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589, and its parent union the ATU, endorsed Lynch for US Senate with a unanimous membership vote at its morning and evening meetings. Last week, the 20,000 member New England Regional Council of Carpenters endorsed Lynch after having both Markey and Lynch address the Union.
The United States Senate is full of professional politicians and millionaires. It’s about time we sent someone to Washington who doesn’t just talk about representing the interests of working people. We need to send someone to Washington who understands the challenges facing working families. Steve Lynch understands that because he’s lived it. He knows the value of hard work and he knows what it’s like to collect unemployment when the work dries up.
While none of these endorsements is unexpected, the Mass State Building Trades Council brings a statewide coordinated effort by construction unions around membership contact and GOTV that will be helpful in a special election. All of these organizations endorsed Elizabeth Warren and worked hard for Elizabeth as well as Congressman John Tierney and then candidate Joe Kennedy III. They all worked in Congressman Bill Keating’s successful 2012 Democratic Primary as well.
The reality check here is that Organized Labor can deliver a 2-4 % bump for a candidate on election day BUT that candidate has to have his/her own creditable campaign operation in place to win. The most recent example would be on the North Shore where Labor support for Congressman Tierney, combined with Tierney’s and the Democratric Party’s GOTV operations, resulted in a Tierney win in a tough campaign. Inside Tierney’s CD, the State Senate race with now Senator Joanne Lovely and former Rep and MA AFL-CIO endorsed candidate John Slattery saw Lovely score a convincing win. Slattery failed to develop his own GOTV structure and Labor was fighting outside its weight class as Slattery’s only field operation.
Lynch will continue to earn Labor endorsements from a majority of Unions in the state that will give him a statewide outreach and introduce him to voters outside his CD. A Massachusetts AFL-CIO endorsement remains a high hurtle for Lynch with several progressive unions on the sidelines or endorsing Markey. A 2/3 vote at the AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) may be out of reach for Lynch. Congressman Markey remains the frontrunner financially and in all polls that have been released. Lynch faces an uphill battle going into April 30th.
This will be a ground game, grind out the vote Primary – that if it remains upbeat – should benefit the nominee in June. Special elections are jumpballs in politics. A tap and a strange bounce can alter the direction and outcome.
Full disclosure – my union has endorsed Steve Lynch.