Keaney vs. Gaspard

As the media fades to irrelevance in the last days of the campaign, the people who matter are the ones doing Get Out the Vote, GOTV to the insiders.

And a major Bloomberg campaign player who has, until now, escaped notice is Maura Keaney. On loan from the union UNITE HERE, she’s running Mike’s GOTV operation, playing a similar (if better-funded) role to 1199′s Patrick Gaspard on the Ferrer campaign.

Her low-profile spot running an election day operation expected to include about 10,000 people (not the 50,000 number the campaign touts, but still a lot) says some interesting things about labor politics.

For one thing, her union, UNITE-HERE, has quietly become a more important political force in the city than it gets credit for.

“We don’t have a process, as some unions do, about generating a lot of press about the numebrs we have,” the union’s chief of staff, Chris Chafe, says. “We just put our shoulders into it and get it done.”

It’s also a reminder that, for all the (accurate) reports of the decline of labor, unions are still the masters of GOTV. Keaney’s working for Mike under ex-1199er Patrick Brennan.

And, as Chafe notes, Keaney’s and Gaspard’s roles are a sign of the strength of the Change to Win unions, which include SEIU and UNITE HERE, and which recently split from the AFL-CIO.