April 2, 2015
By Stephanie West
Philadelphia, Pa. – Mayoral hopeful Jim Kenney picked up another major union endorsement this week when AFSCME members representing more than 27,000 city workers and retirees announced their support for the 56-year-old former city councilman.
Pete Matthews, president of AFSCME District Council 33, Fred Wright, president of AFSCME District Council 47, and Henry Nicholas, president of AFSCME/NUHHCE District 1199C hospital and health care workers, issued the official joint endorsement on Wednesday.
The council presidents noted that Kenney's positions on school funding, jobs and the economy and crime were the main reasons for the joint endorsement.
"The next mayor of our city must fight for good jobs and an economy that works for all Philadelphians," Wright said. "Jim Kenney has the right position on issues that impact our members, their families and working families in Philadelphia."
Matthews called the unified endorsement "unprecedented" and predicted it will have a large impact on what is expected be a very low turnout election.
"The fact that all of AFSCME is joining forces with the other city unions in a unified effort is unprecedented in recent mayoral elections," Matthews said. "AFSCME members live, work and vote in the city, our children go to Philadelphia public schools, and we have close ties to every community and neighborhood."
Nicholas said the election is an opportunity for union members to work with their fellow Philadelphians, and to take a greater leadership role in raising the standard of living for the city's working families.
"We all agreed that we don't want to repeat the mistakes of past elections when labor was divided," said Nicholas. "This new unity will have a significant impact on the election because the unions working together for Jim Kenney have tens of thousands of members and retirees who live and vote in the city. They will play a huge role in mobilizing their families, friends and neighbors to vote for a candidate who moves Philadelphia forward for working people."
Kenney already has the support of the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, SEIU and many other unions in the construction trades.