1199 SEIU Endorses Bill de Blasio

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s campaign for mayor got a significant boost Friday, with the endorsement of the city’s largest union: 1199 SEIU.

It is the first major labor endorsement for Mr. de Blasio, who has been aggressively courting unions as he tries position himself as the “progressive alternative” to the race’s early  front-runner, Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Mr. de Blasio’s campaign manager, Bill Hyers, heralded the endorsement as proof the campaign is gaining momentum, despite concerns from many supporters about the entree of former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is expected to appeal to the same outer-borough, ethnic voters, and is expected to formally join the race in the coming day.

“Game-changing is a cliché in politics, but not when it comes to the mayoral endorsement of 1199 SEIU. Representing more than 250,000 members over five boroughs, no endorsement means more than this,” Mr. Hyers said in a statement.

“Their support validates our belief that Bill de Blasio is THE PROGRESSIVE CHOICE for New York City Democrats — and it confirms the strength of our effort,” he continued. “Moreover, their members are some of the most politically active residents of New York City, deeply connected to and active in our communities, and they have pledged to dedicate thousands of volunteer hours for door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and rallies for our campaign.  We are honored to have their support.”

The endorsement is a partial loss for Ms. Quinn, who many believed could have a shot with the group because some of staffing overlaps–although others have long expected them to go with Mr. de Blasio.

Here’s a statement from 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East president George Gresham:

“The nurses and caregivers of 1199SEIU – New York City’s largest union with over 200,000 members throughout the five boroughs – have enthusiastically endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor, because he is a principled champion of working people, and has the strongest vision for the future of our city, including good jobs, affordable housing, and quality education and healthcare for all. Our members are some of the most politically active residents of the city, we are deeply connected to our communities, and we intend to devote thousands of volunteer hours to door knocking, phone banking and building support. The elected leaders of our union voted unanimously to endorse Bill de Blasio because he has consistently stood side-by-side with caregivers for quality healthcare and issues that matter most to working families, and we will work passionately to ensure he is our next mayor of New York City,” he said.