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Democratic mayoral hopeful Muriel Bowser‘s campaign got a boost from labor this morning, receiving the endorsement of the District’s AFL-CIO union coalition in front of the national union’s 16th Street NW headquarters.
The Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO’s divided membership couldn’t agree on a candidate in the primary, but its executive board decided last week to endorse Bowser, according to the council’s president, Joslyn Williams. Some members of the 27-member executive board abstained from the vote until their individual unions have finished making their own endorsements.
Williams said the unions made their decision based on Bowser’s support for labor issues, including wage-theft enforcement and government workers’ right to unionize.
Bowser is about to prove her labor bona fides in a more practical way, too. With hotel union boss John Boardman at her side, Bowser said she plans to spend some time cleaning hotel rooms to experience the life of a maid at the new Marriott Marquis hotel.
Like her recent birthday party/fundraiser, Bowser leaned on her Democratic nomination in her speech. After listing a long list of what she would bring to the mayor’s office, Bowser promised that it would “only happen it we put a Democrat into office,” earning her the biggest cheer of the event.
Bowser makes an unlikely pick for the labor coalition, considering her vote against 2013’s Large Retailer Accountability Act, which would have raised the hourly wage at large retailers—-read: Walmart—-to $12.50 an hour. (Bowser rival David Catania voted against it too, while hopeful Carol Schwartz wasn’t on the D.C. Council.) Williams, once so fiery on the bill and what voting against it would mean for District office seekers’ chances, says he’s softened since both Catania and Bowser voted in favor of a citywide $11.50 minimum wage.
“The minimum wage was their salvation,” Williams says.
Photo by Will Sommer