The state chapter of the Service Employees International Union this morning formally backed US Representative Edward J. Markey for Senate over US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, an expected nod that gives Markey access to the labor group’s formidable get-out-the-vote operation.
SEIU said Markey’s stances on immigration, health care, and budget policies helped him secure the support of the union, whose membership includes hospital workers, homecare providers, janitors, security guards, and social workers.
Jeff Hall, an SEIU spokesman, said the endorsement, decided after both candidates addressed an SEIU forum last Saturday, would translate to “hundreds of volunteers” and concentrated vote-rustling efforts in “gateway cities” like Springfield, Lawrence, Lynn, New Bedford, and Fall River for the April 30 primary. The union claims 85,000 members across the state.
SEIU officials, in the release announcing the decision, said that forum attendees filled out scorecards and “rated both candidates highly but Markey received the highest ratings.”
SEIU, part of organized labor’s more progressive wing, has long been a Lynch antagonist. In 2010, the union’s regional political director challenged Lynch in his House primary.
Conor Yunits, a Lynch spokesman, said the campaign had not been relying on winning SEIU’s backing.
“While we would have loved to have the support of SEIU, we were not counting on it by any means,” said Yunits. “They made their decision and we respect it. We’re going to continue to work to support a number of issues that are important to their members.”