Chicago

Brandon Johnson lands big union backing

An influential labor group with ties to the Chicago Teachers Union introduced its endorsement of Brandon Johnson for mayor on Wednesday, including to the listing of labor organizations opting to again the Cook County commissioner over different progressives, together with U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García.

The Service Employees International Union Local 73 revealed its choose within the 2023 election outdoors the county authorities places of work downtown, formally becoming a member of CTU in its quest to see Mayor Lori Lightfoot changed within the February election with somebody nearer aligned with their pursuits.

Johnson, a longtime organizer with CTU, accepted the academics union’s endorsement and $59,900 political contribution earlier in September, shortly earlier than he joined the race.

Nabbing assist from two heavyweights within the Chicago labor space offers the union-friendly Johnson a crucial enhance in his bid to face out amid a crowded discipline of progressives additionally jockeying to unseat Lightfoot. The political may of each unions has grown up to now decade, significantly within the case of CTU, though the mayoral candidates they most lately lined up behind — Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in 2019 and García in 2015 — didn’t win.

The SEIU announcement additionally additional complicates how García — a darling of the political left who is predicted to announce a run for mayor — will maneuver the sphere if he enters the race. To make sure, he has wider title recognition amongst Chicagoans than Johnson and compelled then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel right into a runoff election throughout his final marketing campaign. But with CTU and a key SEIU native rallying behind Johnson this time round, Garcia’s path ahead is murkier.

Earlier final month, Johnson instructed the Tribune that he was in talks with SEIU Local 73, which represents non-teacher staff in Chicago Public Schools, concerning an endorsement.

The union has greater than 31,000 service staff in faculties, authorities, social providers and extra all through Illinois and Indiana. There are two different chapters of SEIU based mostly in Chicago: Local 1, which represents upkeep and janitorial staff, and Healthcare, each of which have beforehand matched Local 73′s endorsements however haven’t but introduced their picks.

In latest years, Lightfoot has tried to work with SEIU leaders and even employed the manager director of the SEIU Illinois State Council, Beniamino Capellupo, as a senior advisor working with labor unions. But regardless of quietly constructed a productive relationship with some SEIU leaders, it’s not clear if she is going to be capable to translate that into formal assist.

Johnson, in the meantime, has been working to boost money and earn endorsements from labor teams, together with his academics union base. Since its preliminary donation to Johnson, CTU contributed an extra $11,250 to his political committee final month. Johnson has collected $150,000 in contributions from the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of Teachers has pledged $1 million to his race. The unions representing native carpenters and electrical staff additionally donated to Johnson’s political fund.

Lightfoot has lengthy wrangled with CTU and different progressive organizations throughout her first time period. She led the town’s response to an 11-day strike academics strike in 2019 and a number of rounds of standoffs with the union through the COVID-19 pandemic over her plan to return to in-person education. Though CTU was on the forefront of those labor disputes, SEIU Local 73 joined CTU in its 2019 walkout and has additionally principally aligned with the academics’ union in its calls for.

For her half, Lightfoot has argued that she is a progressive mayor, and she or he has a constructive rapport with some labor leaders who admire her report on employee points.

In her first few months as mayor in 2019, Lightfoot pushed by the truthful workweek ordinance that requires giant Chicago employers to offer staff not less than two weeks’ discover of their schedules and compensate them for last-minute modifications. Later that year, Lightfoot handed her first funds, which set the stage for a $15 minimal wage lengthy sought by native unions.

When Lightfoot secured assist inside City Council to put the groundwork for Chicago’s first on line casino, she stood alongside Chicago Federation of Labor president Bob Reiter and members of UNITE HERE Local 1, which represents hospitality staff, in a celebratory information convention.

Besides Johnson, state Rep. Kambium “Kam” Buckner, Ald. Sophia King, Ald. Roderick Sawyer and activist Ja’Mal Green are mayoral candidates styling themselves as progressives. Also within the race are businessman Willie Wilson, Ald. Raymond Lopez and former CPS CEO Paul Vallas.

Johnson first gained public office in 2018, when he defeated Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin within the Democratic major for his West Side district after the incumbent earned the ire of organized labor by voting in opposition to the county’s soda tax. Before that, Johnson was a CPS trainer.

In Johnson’s time on the county board, he’s pushed a measure making it unlawful to refuse to point out or lease property to individuals with sure felony information. He additionally drafted a symbolic decision that supported diverting money from policing within the wake of nationwide protests demanding police budgets be defunded.

He reiterated his criticism of the political institution at a latest mayoral candidates’ discussion board, vowing to not improve the Chicago police funds earlier than decrying, “Can we just be honest? They don’t want Black people here,” concerning insurance policies corresponding to demolishing public housing, closing faculties or Lightfoot’s latest transfer to boost bridges through the civil unrest of 2020.

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