The nation’s largest health care worker and property services unions, the Service Employees International (SEIU) Locals 1199 and 32BJ, issued endorsements in the Baltimore City elections Friday.
In citywide races, SEIU has endorsed City Council President Brandon M. Scott (D) for mayor; City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed (D) to succeed Scott as Council president; and Councilman Bill Henry (D) for city comptroller.
“As frontline healthcare workers, we are proud to endorse candidates who will fight for a healthy and equitable Baltimore City,” said Lisa Brown, Executive Vice President of the Maryland/DC Division of 1199SEIU. “With candidates like Brandon Scott, Shannon Sneed, and Bill Henry, we can start to build a Baltimore where everyone can enjoy high-quality healthcare, great public schools, decent housing in safe communities, and good union jobs.”
Jaime Contreras, a vice president president of Local 32BJ, praised Scott for testifying Thursday at a Maryland Senate hearing urging passage of the Secure Maryland Wage Act, which would improve wages to help attract and retain experienced and trained workers at BWI Airport, the Port of Baltimore and Baltimore Penn Station. The union noted that Scott, Sneed and Henry have all supported the $15 an hour minimum wage and have pledged to ensure that Baltimore Police officers do not ask for immigration status and will not enforce ICE’s administrative warrants of removal.
Scott, who is in a multi-candidate Democratic primary for mayor that includes incumbent Bernard C. “Jack” Young (D), said he was “deeply humbled” to receive the unions’ endorsement.
“Fighting for the rights of our workers has always been my priority as a public servant, and I look forward to working with and organizing alongside working people as mayor,” Scott said in a statement.
Sneed is in a multi-candidate primary for City Council president, while Henry is taking on incumbent Comptroller Joan Pratt (D), who has held the job since 1995.
The unions also announced that they are endorsing several incumbent Baltimore City Councilmembers: Zeke Cohen in District 1; Danielle McCray in District 2; Ryan Dorsey in District 3; Sharon Green Middleton in District 6; Kristerfer Burnett in District 8; and John Bullock in District 9.
The unions have endorsed public health professional Phylicia Porter for the open seat in District 10, where Councilman Edward Reisinger (D) is retiring; attorney Phillip Westry over Councilman Robert Stokes (D) in District 12; community activist Akil Patterson to succeed Sneed in District 13; and Odette Ramos, executive director of the Community Development Network of Maryland, to succeed Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke (D) in District 14.
The unions said they will contribute significant support to endorsed candidates, including volunteers who will knock on doors, make phone calls, and organize within their communities and on social media.