Published in
The Empire

AFSCME Backs Locals', Will Commit Resources for Barron in Congressional Battle

One of the country's largest public labor unions said on Tuesday that it would spend money on behalf of Congressional candidate and Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron.

AFSCME told Buzzfeed that it would help Barron in his race to take the newly formed 8th Congressional district.

Spokesman Chris Policano told the website that it would respect the voices of at least two of its members: DC-37 and DC-1707. A third affiliate -- the Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000 -- has not endorsed Barron, but signed off on AFSCME's spending in the race against Barron's rival, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries.

The groups credit Barron for his help on issues including funding for public jobs and support for subsidized early child care. Barron also recently received endorsements from the New York Amsterdam News editors and the district's 27-year incumbent, Ed Towns.

Ed Ott, former executive director of the New York City Central Labor Council and a union organizer, said in a phone conversation Tuesday that AFSCME's announcement to support the Barron campaign can range in action, from the outright donation to voter mobilization.

"They have the right to contact their members," Ott said. "They can send them letters, fliers, phone call. They can literally try to pull their members to the polls for him."

A spokesman for DC-1017 told the Empire that while the union is still in talks with the Barron campaign as to how it can best help the candidate, the group would do "whatever it takes" in its support for Barron.

While Buzzfeed mentioned that Jeffries has not been able to secure an endorsement from the AFL-CIO, its NY Hotel and Motel Trades Council affiliate endorsed him in March. He's also received the support of Transit Worker's Union Local 100, SEIU 32BJ, United Auto Workers and the Communication Workers of America District 1. 

A number of Democratic party clubs and leaders have also come out for Jeffries, including including Assemblyman and party boss Vito Lopez and City Councilman Al Vann. A slate of Jewish political leaders, including former Mayor Ed Koch and Congressman Jerrold Nadler, yesterday reaffirmed their support for Jeffries as they denounced Barron for his inflammatory and what they consider to be anti-Semitic criticism of Israel.