Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez announced the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union Locals 500 and 32BJ on Monday.
The unions collectively represent more than 30,000 education support personnel and property services workers in Maryland.
It is the latest union endorsement for the former Maryland and U.S. labor secretary, and one of the last big union endorsements to be made in the 2022 primary campaign.
“Tom Perez has an unmatched track record of protecting immigrants and helping workers win back wages and jobs when they were wronged,” Jaime Contreras, executive vice president of 32BJ SEIU, said in a statement. “What sets Tom Perez apart is that he experienced the struggles facing immigrant families and devoted 35 years to protecting the civil rights of minority communities and ensuring working-class families get their fair share. We will do whatever it takes to make the difference in this campaign because the difference he’s made in people’s lives cannot be overstated.”
Pia Morrison, president of SEIU Local 500, said Perez has the experience to “be an excellent governor on day one,” alongside his lieutenant governor running mate, a former Baltimore City councilmember.
“Tom Perez and Shannon Sneed have a long history of standing with unions and working families and there is no clearer example of a more worker-friendly team. From championing Paid Family and Medical Leave, to fighting to increase wages for woefully underpaid public school support professionals, Tom has stood alongside our members time after time and we’re proud to stand alongside him now,” Morrison said.
Perez’s campaign said that throughout his career in public service, he has developed experience taking on fights and winning for working families.
“When unions succeed, Maryland succeeds,” Perez said in a statement. “…And as governor, I’ll always ensure that workers have a seat at the table as we work together to create a Maryland where no one working a full-time job lives in poverty, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, where families can access high-quality healthcare, and where workers are able to organize and collectively bargain.”
The SEIU locals are the latest unions to endorse Perez’s campaign. In October, he received the backing of AFSCME Council 3 and AFSCME Council 67, the largest state employee union. Perez’s campaign said his collective union endorsements represent more than 120,000 households in Maryland.
The other Democratic hopefuls in the governor’s race are former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, nonprofit executive Jon Baron, Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot, former state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, former Obama Administration official Ashwani K. Jain, former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr., author and former anti-poverty CEO Wes Moore, former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman, and college lecturer Jerome Segal.
The 2022 primary is June 28.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to correct that Monday’s endorsement came from SEIU Local 500.