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Kim Janey snags another key labor endorsement in Boston mayoral race

Acting Mayor Kim Janey thanked SEIU Local 888 for the endorsement and, “more importantly, for their tireless commitment to serving our city.”Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Acting Mayor Kim Janey has won the endorsement of another large union that represents government workers — SEIU Local 888 — in her bid for a full term.

Local 888 represents more than 8,500 public service workers, 2,000 of whom work and live in the city.

“We knew Kim Janey, long before she became mayor, as a staunch advocate on the city council for the dedicated workers who keep Boston running,” union president Tom McKeever said in a statement. “Now, our members who work for the City have seen first-hand the careful listener and compassionate leader she is as mayor. We look forward to ensuring that she wins a full term so she can finish the great work she has started — whether around affordable housing, equity and excellence in our schools, or simply making sure Boston works for its people.”


In a statement, Janey thanked the union for the endorsement and, “more importantly, for their tireless commitment to serving our city.”

“The public servants who wake up every single day to make Boston work are owed a great debt of gratitude from all of us,” she added. “During the darkest days of the pandemic, they gave their all, putting their health and safety on the line to provide their neighbors with the services they depend on. I am proud of them and so honored to have earned their support.”

SEIU Local 888 had clashed with Janey last month after she ordered all city employees who had been working remotely back to their offices by July 6. The union filed a complaint with the state’s Division of Labor Relations claiming the city did not seek its input and failed to bargain in good faith on the reopening.

But just before the return-to-work order took effect, the union reached an agreement with Janey allowing its employees, on a case by case basis, to request extensions allowing them to return after Labor Day.


It remains unclear, though, whether city employees not represented by Local 888 are being granted similar extensions. A Janey spokeswoman said the city continues to work with unions and employees and to evaluate requests for flexibility on a case-by-case basis, in adherence to contracts.

Some city employees had previously complained that they could not find child care arrangements quickly enough to return to work earlier this month.

But Janey, the former City Council president who was elevated to acting mayor after former mayor Martin J. Walsh left his term early, has picked up support from other city workers. Last week, she won the endorsement of 32BJ SEIU, which represents janitors, security officers, and custodial workers.

With the election for mayor 49 days away, polls show City Councilor Michelle Wu and Janey leading a field of contenders, including City Councilors Annissa Essaibi George and Andrea Campbell and the city’s former chief of economic development, John Barros.

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at Follow her @StephanieEbbert.