Anita Lopez gained the backing of a major voice in labor in her race for mayor today.
The Toledo area AFL-CIO ( The Greater Northwest Ohio Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO) voted unanimously Monday night to endorse the Democratic Lucas County auditor for mayor.“We are very excited about Anita’s campaign,” said George Tucker, executive secretary of the labor council, and who was among the crowd of about 300 at her announcement one week ago.
“Her policy positions are worker friendly. Her plans to grow our economy are solid. She comes from working class Toledo and will have the confidence of our citizens to move an agenda forward that addresses Toledo’s biggest problems,” Tucker said.
Three weeks ago the labor council screened Lopez along with fellow Democrat Joe McNamara and unaffiliated mayoral candidate Alan Cox (who is the president of a city AFSCME local).
The AFL-CIO says the endorsement “highlights the fact that the Toledo race for mayor is the top target for the Ohio AFL-CIO in 2013.”
“It brings with it a ready field program that will communicate with voters on Lopez’s candidacy via door-to-door canvasses, phone calls, direct mail and work-site leafleting. The AFL-CIO field program, often cited as a crucial component of past campaigns in Ohio, will be rolled out in the coming weeks in every Toledo neighborhood.”
Lopez’s ultimate opponent is Mayor Mike Bell, who incurred organized labor’s wrath by wresting concessions out of the city unions in 2010 by getting city council to give him the power to impose unilateral cuts because of the city’s “exigent circumstances.” In the end the cuts were negotiated – but under the threat of exigent circumstances.
Then the mayor supported Issue 2 (a.k.a. Senate Bill 5) in a 2011 referendum that would have weakened public employee unions (and strengthened the hand of mayor and council, as well as school boards and superintendents). The measure failed under an intense barrage of opposition from public employee unions, private unions, and the Democratic Party.
“Our members are fired up and ready to go for this race,” Tucker said of the volunteers that he said will provide the manpower for the field effort. “In the 2011 campaign to defeat S.B. 5, we learned who our friends are,” he said. “Anita Lopez is a friend to Toledo workers.”
The council has more than 100 affiliate union members and while it doesn't have its own political action fund, it encourages its member unions to support its candidates, and it communicates directly to union members.
The AFL-CIO includes among its affiliates the building trades unions, AFSCME, Toledo Federation of Teachers, and the Toledo police and firefighter unions.