fb-pixel Skip to main content

Committee of unions representing 1,700 city workers backs Essaibi George in mayor’s race, bypassing Janey

Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George.
Boston City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

Councilor Annissa Essaibi George has snagged another labor union endorsement in her bid for mayor, this one from the Boston Presidents’ Committee of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Council 93, an umbrella group of local union chapters that represents 1,700 city workers.

“As an organization whose membership is made up of those doing critical work for the City of Boston, we know how important it is to elect a mayor who has our backs — and Annissa is and will be that leader,” said Christopher “Tiger” Stockbridge, co-chairman of the committee, in a Thursday statement announcing the endorsement.

Advertisement



The committee represents 17 locals whose members include inspectional services, library, parks, and public health workers; public works employees; school cafeteria workers; engineers; and civilians who work for the city’s fire and police departments. Other locals in the committee represent Suffolk County correctional officers and workers at Boston Medical Center.

Jim Durkin, the legislative and political action director for AFSCME Council 93, said Essaibi George “demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the work our members do and the important contributions they make every day.”

“Her roots in the city and her work as a public employee and a public sector union member were strong contributing factors,” he said.

In endorsing Essaibi George, the union bypassed the candidate who currently oversees the city operation where hundreds of its members work — Acting Mayor Kim Janey — although Durkin said the choice should not be construed as a snub of Boston’s acting executive.

“Absolutely not,” he said during a phone interview. “This is not a vote against any particular candidate, it’s a vote in favor of the person they think would be the best mayor.”

In a crowded race where local organized labor support has splintered among multiple candidates, Essaibi George has already received the endorsement of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the city’s politically powerful firefighters union, Local 718.

Advertisement



“Over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic our public service employees have proven just how invaluable they are to our community,” said the former public school teacher from Dorchester, who is seen as a relative centrist in a field where multiple candidates are framing themselves as progressives.

She continued, “They are, and have always been, the backbone of local government, and this will continue under an Essaibi George Administration.”

The pool of major candidates vying for mayor include Janey, City Councilors Essaibi George, Andrea Campbell, and Michelle Wu, state Representative Jon Santiago, and Boston’s former city economic chief, John Barros.

UNITE HERE Local 26, which represents 12,000 hotel and food workers, and has in the past been influential at City Hall, announced it is backing Janey.

Wu has also received substantial union support. Teamsters Local 25, which represents 12,000 workers, has endorsed her. So have OPEIU Local 453, which represents office and clerical workers at the MBTA, the Alliance of Unions at the MBTA, and the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Dorchester-based Laborers Local 223, one of the city’s biggest unions, is backing Santiago. That local, which former mayor Martin J. Walsh once led, represents 1,700 building trade workers. Santiago also snagged the endorsement of the National Association of Government Employees, which has 20,000 members living and working in the state.

Advertisement




Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.