SEIU Local 617 backs Baraka for mayor; ditto NJ Working Families Alliance

It’s getting difficult to process the barrage of labor endorsements for Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka.

Today SEIU Local 617 announced its support for Baraka.

“More than ever, the City of Newark needs a leader who demonstrates compassion and respect for working men and women who carry out their duties while facing issues concerning wages and benefits,” said Rosa Reyes Maldonado, President of Newark-based SEIU Local 617.  “Ras Baraka understands the issues facing those of us who live and work here, and we proudly endorse him for Mayor of Newark.”

SEIU Local 617 represents 2,300 public sector workers, including sanitation workers, in the City of Newark.

The New Jersey Working Families Alliance (NJWFA), a statewide labor and community organization coalition, also endorsed Baraka on Thursday.   

“We’re going to harness grassroots strength and statewide resources to educate and move thousands of Newark voters to the polls on Election Day,” said Analilia Mejia, executive director of NJWFA. “We’ll do it because Ras is exactly the kind of bold progressive candidate the New Jersey Working Families Alliance was founded to elect.”  

In its endorsement, the NJWFA also claimed that it has a “grassroots network” of more than 10,000 Newark voters, a base they assert helped push the Newark municipal council to pass an earned sick days ordinance in January. The law will take effect shortly after the Newark municipal elections in May.   

“I am honored and incredibly excited to receive the endorsement of one of the most effective grassroots political forces in the state,” said Baraka, the South Ward Councilman, in a prepared statement. “Together we made history by passing earned sick days in Newark, and in May we’ll make history again with a resounding victory for working people in every ward.”  

“In our Working Families Alliance, unions and real grassroots community groups have united to advance progressive policies and elect bold leaders,” said Ken McNamara, President of CWA Local 1037 in Newark.  “What our individual union can do alone is nothing compared to what we can do in solidarity with grassroots partners and our brothers and sisters in the labor movement. And now progressives are coming out for Ras Baraka in a big way.”

SEIU Local 617 backs Baraka for mayor; ditto NJ Working Families Alliance