NEW YORK—32BJ SEIU has endorsed Jeff Klein in the 34th state Senate district, which includes parts of the Bronx and Westchester. The union’s leadership body decided to remain neutral in the Democratic primary contest for the 11th Senate district in Queens where John Liu is challenging incumbent Tony Avella.
The decision comes in the wake of the unprecedented coalition of labor unions, community organizations, Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, other progressive elected officials and the Working Families party that has come together to elect a Democratic majority in the state Senate in November.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to endorse Jeff Klein for Senate,” said Héctor Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU. “Sen. Klein fought to secure state funding for full-day pre-K for all of New York City children and has committed to passing legislation that would allow the city to increase its minimum wage, broaden tuition assistance to include qualified immigrants (known as the DREAM Act), and reform campaign finance laws.”
“Equally important as Sen. Klein’s promises on progressive legislation is his pledge to end the Independent Democratic Caucus’ alliance with the Republicans and work for a Democratic majority in the Senate,” Figueroa said. “We need a Democratic Senate to make good on our promises to working families, and we will mobilize our members to make sure Sen. Klein is re-elected with a mandate to do so.”
32BJ’s decision to stay neutral in the 11th district in Queens is part of an overall strategy to take back the state Senate for the Democrats.
“The most important political victory for working families in November will be a Democratic majority in the Senate,” said Figueroa. “Remaining neutral in some primaries will allow us to put more resources into securing a Democratic Senate, which could help to shrink the income gap and open up educational opportunities for more young people.”
32BJ SEIU has 75,000 members in New York, and a total of 145,000 members in 11 states plus the District of Columbia. Over the next few months, the union plans to do an extensive voter education drive, with canvasses and street events street as well as phone banks, mailings and community outreach.
With more than 145,000 members, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service union in the country.