NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Kicks Off Re-Election Bid With Garbage Union Endorsement

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off his re-election campaign with an endorsement from the union that represents the city’s garbage handlers.

The Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, which represents 14,000 active and retired sanitation workers, announced it is backing the embattled mayor as he hopes to garner the support of the city’s influential labor unions.

“This gentleman is a union-friendly mayor,” Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, told reporters at a press conference Monday afternoon.

De Blasio, the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years, is hoping to lock up key endorsements and big donors early enough to dissuade potential Democratic challengers from jumping into the race.

The 55-year-old father of two also received the endorsement of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

De Blasio did not receive the endorsement of these two unions four years ago. Both the sanitation workers and the RWDSU supported Christine C. Quinn in 2013, who was seen as the front-runner at the time.

The early endorsements could quell concerns in the de Blasio camp that big labor may look for a Democratic primary challenger; de Blasio has frustrated some union leaders in the Big Apple. (RELATED: Big Labor Is Frustrated With NYC Mayor de Blasio)

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 president recently asked his members to ““contemplate whether de Blasio really shares our trade union values,” in an Oct. 23 New York Daily News op-ed. “At Bill’s core, it’s all about Bill, not the trade unionist working families we represent,” John Samuelson said.

De Blasio has angered union leaders on issues like the prevailing wage and his fixation on banning horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. He was not backed by big labor during the primary campaign in 2013, but unions lined up behind de Blasio during the general election.

TWU workers are not the only labor group frustrated with de Blasio. Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, which represents 24,000 members, said that de Blasio sides with “deep-pocketed supporters” and his allies in the “progressive movement” over union interests. “If there’s a conflict, he’d go to the donor,” Floyd told the New York Daily News.

Early support from two influential labor unions is good news for de Blasio, who looks to retain his seat following the stunning loss of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to President-elect Donald Trump.

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