Two unions have revealed their endorsements for New York state Senate.
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 announced last week their endorsement of former New York City Council Member Robert Jackson for state Senate District 31, which covers the northern tip of Manhattan and parts of the borough’s west side. Representing more than 12,000 bus drivers, escorts and mechanics and 1,900 retired active members, the union cited Jackson’s “courage, perseverance and integrity” as reasons for their endorsement.
“Robert Jackson has demonstrated a real commitment to the values of organized labor and of working-class New Yorkers,” said Michael Cordiello, president of ATU Local 1181, in a statement. “Indeed, we witnessed that commitment firsthand when Robert supported our union’s members throughout their struggle during the 2013 strike and its aftermath; when he advocated for the continuation of the Employee Protection Provisions in Department of Education school bus contracts; and when he held City Council oversight hearings to expose the lies and anti-union animus of the Bloomberg administration as it attempted to break our union and deprive hard-working men and women of a fair day’s pay.”
Jackson said he was “honored” by the endorsement.
“I thank  for what they do every day to drive our children and make sure they are safe,” said Jackson in a statement. “My campaign is getting a great reception every place we go, and this is another sign of the momentum we are feeling as we build a large and diverse grassroots campaign that is moving this campaign forward. I look forward to working with ATU Local 1181 to win this campaign. Together, we can make a difference for families today and for generations to come.”
In other state Senate endorsement news, 32BJ SEIU endorsed Jeff Klein for Senate District 34, which includes the Bronx and Westchester.
“Sen. Klein fought to secure state funding for full-day pre-K for all of New York City children and has committed to passing legislation that would allow the city to increase its minimum wage, broaden tuition assistance to include qualified immigrants [known as the DREAM Act] and reform campaign finance laws,” said 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa in a statement. “Equally important as Sen. Klein’s promises on progressive legislation is his pledge to end the Independent Democratic Caucus’ alliance with the Republicans and work for a Democratic majority in the Senate.”
When it came to the 11th Senate District in Queens—where former New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu is challenging incumbent Tony Avella for his seat—32BJ SEIU decided to remain neutral, citing the union’s desire to take back the state Senate for Democrats and not engage in in-fighting.
“The most important political victory for working families in November will be a Democratic majority in the Senate,” said Figueroa. “Remaining neutral in some primaries will allow us to put more resources into securing a Democratic Senate, which could help to shrink the income gap and open up educational opportunities for more young people.”
Jackson will be running against incumbent State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who is coming off of his second straight congressional primary defeat at the hands of Charlie Rangel.
When the AmNews contacted a spokesperson for Espaillat, he had this to say about the upcoming race: “Senator Adriano Espaillat led the fight to renew the rent laws protecting over 2 million tenants, and has championed environmental causes like safeguarding our water supply from hydrofracking. On affordable housing, the environment and other critical issues in this district, the senator’s record far outshines his opponent’s.”
Espaillat held a fundraising event at Negro Claro Lounge in Upper Manhattan this past Wednesday.