AFL-CIO, despite some concerns, endorses Markey for US Senate

The AFL-CIO of Massachusetts has endorsed Representative Edward J. Markey for US Senate, siding with the veteran Democrat despite concerns from some unions about his opposition to nuclear, gas and oil projects.

While the endorsement is not surprising since the AFL-CIO typically backs Democrats, Markey has had some difficulty courting trade unions that backed Representative Stephen F. Lynch, a former labor leader and onetime ironworker, in the Democratic Senate primary.

Those unions have expressed concerns that Markey’s push for climate change legislation and enviromental protection laws make him hostile to new energy projects like the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which those unions believe could create jobs.

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Nevertheless, Markey has a 96 percent lifetime rating from the AFL-CIO and, unlike his Republican opponent, Gabriel E. Gomez, filled out the AFL-CIO’s candidate questionnaire, said Steven Tolman, president of the AFL-CIO of Massachusetts.

Tolman said the AFL-CIO would now contact the 400,000 workers it represents in Massachusetts in hopes of turning them out to vote for Markey in the June 25 special election to fill the Senate seat long held by John F. Kerry.

“His record of standing with working families is stellar,” Tolman said Monday.

Tolman declined to disclose how group’s 72 board members voted, but said Markey garnered support from “well over 85 percent” of them. A candidate needs the backing of two-thirds of the members to win the endorsement.

Francis X. Callahan, Jr., president of the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, declined to say if he voted for the Markey endorsement, but said his group still wants to meet with Gomez, a private equity investor and former Navy SEAL.

“We’re often painted as jumping lockstep with the Democratic Party,” said Callahan, whose group backed Lynch in the primary. “We want to see where the candidates stand on the issues. I don’t know where Gabriel Gomez stands on a number of issues that are important to our membership.”

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