Attorney General Martha Coakley has gained one of the most sought-after union endorsements in the race for US Senate, winning key backing from the Service Employees International Union local council.
The council, which represents five unions and 60,000 workers, voted on the endorsement last night. It is the first time the council decided as a group to back one candidate.
"This was a big endorsement," Coakley said this afternoon in an interview. "SEIU, I believe, is a modern and progressive union. They look at the future, they have modern organizing methods, and I think they represent workers who look forward with technology, particularly in health care."
She continued, "I think people are pretty competitive about getting these endorsements, both because they represent a group of active people who get involved in elections, but also because they serve as kind of a shorthand for who is going to work for labor unions and who is going to work on behalf of those workers."
Because the special election season is so abbreviated, endorsements from powerful, politically active organizations that can turn out volunteers quickly could play a particularly big role. The Democratic primary is Dec. 8; the special election is Jan. 19.
The Globe reported last week that Coakley and US Representative Michael Capuano have been racing furiously to lock up labor union endorsements. The other Democrats running in the primary, Stephen Pagliuca and Alan Khazei, have not been a factor in the tussle for labor backing.
Here are the other union endorsements that have been announced by the campaigns:
Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts (12,000 members)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, five local chapters (8,000 members)
Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Union Local 3 (3,000 members)
Unite Here New England Joint Board (6,000 members)
United Food and Commercial Workers (40,000 members)
Teamsters, nine local chapters (21,800 members)
Unite Here, Local 26 (6,300 members)
New England Regional Council of Carpenters (10,785 members)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 103 (6,000 members)
Office & Professional Employees, Local 6 (5,400 members)
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