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Unions react to Democratic mayoral primary

Stephon Johnson | 9/12/2013, 3:46 p.m.

Despite no official call for the Democratic New York City mayoral nomination, Tuesday night pointed toward a Bill de Blasio coronation.

And many unions thought so as well. After receiving the endorsement of many unions, de Blasio had members of the New York State Nurses Association on stage during his victory speech, along with 1199 SEIU President George Gresham, who was introduced by “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon.

“Thank you for giving us something to believe in,” said Gresham. “Thank you on behalf of my 5-year-old daughter for giving her a future in New York City.”

Gresham also talked about returning New York City to the blue-collar crowd but realized that a November victory isn’t guaranteed for his candidate of choice. “We have to continue to be vigilant and strong, and make sure that we complete the job that we started,” he said.

The day before primary night, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Locals 798 and 600 joined IA Local No. 1 in endorsing de Blasio for mayor of New York City. Local 1 President James Claffey said that de Blasio’s the best candidate to uphold working-class New Yorker needs and also the best chance of preserving the arts in New York City.

“We are proud to have our IATSE sister Locals 600 [cinematographers] and 798 [hair and makeup artists] join us [stagehands] in endorsing Bill de Blasio for mayor of New York City,” said Claffey. “Bill de Blasio has been a staunch advocate for New York’s cultural institutions, which have been and will continue to be integral to this city’s vibrant and diverse identity and strong economy. We are confident that, under his leadership, the countless productions that all behind-the-scenes workers make possible will continue to thrive and be seen as the standard-bearers of their crafts in not just New York City, but around the world.”

As for the teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers isn’t sure what to make of Thompson finishing in second place. One report by WNYC radio described union members as “shocked” that Thompson ended up in second and had UFT President Michael Mulgrew leaving the former city comptroller’s primary party early to attend Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s victory party after his defeat of Eliot Spitzer for city comptroller became official. The morning after, Mulgrew’s released statement was short and to the point regarding the Democratic nomination for mayor.

“We are awaiting the final count,” said Mulgrew.