Chicago mayoral challenger Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia earned the endorsement of the SEIU* Illinois State Council over the weekend.
In the February 24 Chicago mayoral election, the SEIU Illinois State Council, which collectively represents some 150,000 workers, took a neutral position, but reconsidered its decision after incumbent Rahm Emanuel was forced into an April 7 runoff election against second-place finisher Garcia.
"This election presents a clear choice for our workers, who've suffered for four years as Rahm Emanuel has eliminated or outsourced good jobs to companies that slash wages and benefits," SEIU Illinois State Council and SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff said in an announcement Sunday. "Chuy has been a longtime progressive champion and ally of all workers -- and while our rank and file members can't match the tens of millions of dollars that Emanuel's friends are funneling into his campaign, our volunteerism and our votes can make a real difference, too. Chuy will bring integrity to government, revive our neighborhoods and build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few."
Garcia, who will participate in a Monday evening televised forum with Emanuel, said he was honored to receive the labor group's endorsement.
"I'm proud to receive the endorsement today of the janitors, cafeteria workers, security guards, healthcare workers and thousands of other workers who form the backbone of SEIU's Illinois State Council," said Garcia. "This labor organization has a long and storied history that began on the South Side of Chicago, when a group of janitors decided to reject exploitation and instead organize for better working conditions. For decades, SEIU has been at the forefront of the fight for better wages, safe working conditions, and policies that put working families ahead of big corporate interests. I'm honored that these workers, their families and their union leaders have embraced our campaign coalition and our larger movement to make our great city work for all of Chicago's people."
*The SEIU Illinois State Council sponsors this website.