U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah yesterday picked up the endorsement of the 3,500-member city white-collar union, AFSCME District Council 47 in the Democratic mayoral primary.
The larger, blue-collar city union, District Council 33, hasn't yet endorsed a candidate.
Even though Fattah has proposed privatizing the Philadelphia airport, something municipal unions oppose, DC 47 president Tom Cronin said that Fattah had earned the union's support with a longstanding pro-labor record and a focus on social issues about which his members care.
"We don't just pay attention to the bread-and-butter issues of a contract," Cronin said.
Fattah is one of three mayoral candidates who've picked up significant labor support. Besides DC 47, Fattah has the support of a Service Employees International Union local and the stagehands' union.
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, a member of the carpenter's union, has the largest number of union endorsements for his mayoral run, including the police and firefighters' unions, Teamsters Joint Council 53, District 13 of the Communications Workers of America, 19 construction trades unions, the Seafarers Union and a regional council of the United Auto Workers.
Brady also has the support of a member local of DC 47 - AFSCME Local 810, which represents probation and parole officers.
State Rep. Dwight Evans has the support of three politically active unions - the Transit Workers Union, which represents SEPTA employees, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and Laborers Local 332, which has made big donations to local candidates, including Mayor Street.
Among significant actors in the local labor movement, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and the Philadelphia AFL-CIO Council, an umbrella organization of unions, aren't endorsing candidates in the primary.
Unions can't ensure the support of all their followers, but they can make financial contributions and contribute field workers before and on Election Day.
In past years, some unions have given more than $100,000 to mayoral candidates. Campaign-finance laws this year limit donations to $20,000 per calendar year by a labor committee.
Candidates Michael Nutter and Tom Knox so far haven't received any labor endorsements. *