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Union leaders back Lee Saunders for AFSCME president

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 5/25/2012, 1:28 p.m.

In a joint statement, DC37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts, DC1707 Executive Director Raglan George, Jr., AFSCME Council 66 President Anthony Gingello, AFSCME Council 82 President James Lyman and AFSCME Council 35 President William Travis declared Lee Saunders to be their candidate of choice for AFSCME President.

"We believe our experiences with AFSCME presidential candidates Lee Saunders and Danny Donohue puts us in a unique position to help inform AFSCME members as they prepare to cast their votes this summer at our convention in Los Angeles. The choice between AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders and Danny Donohue may be tough for some of you, but our decision has been guided by years of history and work experience with both candidates--and on that basis, it is an easy one.

"Lee [Saunders] is our candidate," read the statement.

In the joint statement, which was emailed to the AmNews, Roberts and company mentioned how Saunders has been in their corner, even when things were rough.

"We worked with Lee when, for nearly four years, he led DC37 through its darkest times," read the statement. "We worked with him when he was executive assistant to President Gerald McEntee, and we've worked with him since he was elected secretary-treasurer of AFSCME. Over the years, we have also worked with CSEA President Donohue. Their decisions have impacted our members significantly and have provided a good measure of how they would lead AFSCME.

"No matter the fight, Lee Saunders has been there for us."

The statement mentions Saunders' help advocating for the preservation of day care jobs and his work to unseat political candidates the authors felt were "anti-worker."

"Simply put, we know both candidates well and we are ready to move forward together with Lee. We urge our fellow delegates to vote for Lee and secretary-treasurer candidate Laura Reyes. It's the right choice for the future of all AFSCME members," added Roberts, Gingello, Lyman and Travis.