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Labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan snags government employee union endorsement in AG campaign

Shannon Liss-Riordan spoke at a protest in 2020Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe/The Boston Globe

One of the largest labor unions in the Commonwealth has endorsed labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan for attorney general.

The National Association of Government Employees, a Quincy-based union which represents 22,000 public-sector employees in Massachusetts and more than 40,000 nationwide, announced Tuesday that its members unanimously voted to back Liss-Riordan, who hopes to succeed Attorney General Maura Healey, who is running for governor.

“When I am your Attorney General, public servants will always have a strong ally and partner who will fight to uphold the dignity of work,” Liss-Riordan, 52, wrote in a statement announcing the endorsement.

Liss-Riordan, a Democrat who launched her campaign at Ironworkers Local 7 in South Boston, has focused her career as a partner at Lichten & Liss-Riordan in Boston on representing exotic dancers, drivers, food service employees, and other low-paid workers who allege wage theft and misclassification as independent contractors by their employers. She has received national recognition for suing companies like Amazon, Google, and Starbucks on behalf of their workers.

In the race for Democratic nomination to be the state’s chief law enforcement officer, she faces Quentin Palfrey, the Massachusetts Democrats’ 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor and an attorney who has served in the Biden administration, and Andrea Campbell, a former Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate. Whoever wins the party’s nomination is poised to face Republican Jay McMahon, a Cape Cod trial attorney who previously ran for the position in 2018 and is the only GOP contender for the position.

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Liss-Riordan has also expressed her support for Massachusetts is Not For Sale, a group that is opposing a potential 2022 ballot question that would allow companies such as Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and DoorDash to keep classifying drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.

The campaign of the onetime US Senate candidate said her attorney general bid has been endorsed by almost 30 labor unions across the state, including UAW Region 9A, Teamsters Local 25, SEIU 888, and Operating Engineers Local 4.

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When she announced she was running for the seat, Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, told the Globe that Liss-Riordan called him to say that she may run, and that labor officials would take her candidacy “very seriously.”

The AFL-CIO has a formal process before it chooses to endorse any candidate, and it has not yet chosen to endorse in the attorney general’s race, according to Tolman.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 402,000 workers across Massachusetts are members of a union, or 12.6 percent of all workers. About 10 percent of the US workforce are union members.

Palfrey has a labor endorsement in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2222, which represents thousands of telecommunications workers throughout greater Boston.

Campbell has also garnered some union support, snagging the endorsement of the Laborers’ Local 175, which represents construction workers across the Merrimack Valley.

Matt Stout of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Samantha J. Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthajgross.