Maya Wiley Is Endorsed by New York City's Biggest Trade Union, As She Campaigns for Mayor
A big achievement for Ms. Wiley is the local 1199's endorsement of the Service Workers International Union. The union endorsed Bill de Blasio in another crowded mayoral campaign in 2013.
New York City's largest group, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), endorsed Maya Wiley, the former MSNBC analyst and legal advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, on Friday, offering a major boost to her campaign as she attempts to establish herself as a leading contender in the highly competitive Democratic sector.
One of the first union endorsements in the wide-open mayoral race went to Local 1199 of the Service Workers International Union, which hoped to use its political weight to elect a Black woman as mayor for the first time.
The endorsement proved to be a big win for Ms. Wiley, who is running as a democrat who wants to lead New Yorkers out of the pandemic.
The union's support for Ms. Wiley at this critical juncture would be vital for her campaign. The union was an early supporter of Mr. de Blasio in 2013, helping him build the legitimacy he needed to run a successful campaign alongside many other candidates.
The union's president, George Gresham, said in a statement that “Maya Wiley has the necessary experience and vision to take us forward, and to reimagine what our city can be when working people have access to the tools and support they need to live with dignity.”
More than 200,000 health care employees, many of whom are women of color and critical workers who have served through the pandemic, are members of Local 1199. The union leaders vowed to use their membership and grassroots organizing to ensure turnout.
The endorsement will assist Ms. Wiley in making the case that she will successfully win the June 22 Democratic primary against other top contestants, including New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, and Andrew Yang, a former presidential nominee. Campaign activity has changed online since the pandemic, and it has become more difficult for candidates to differentiate themselves.
Ms. Wiley was surprised to hear that she did not qualify for the city's 8-to-1 matching scheme, which could have allowed her to obtain $2 million in public funds.
Julia Savel, Ms. Wiley's spokesperson, released a statement saying that “there were minor issues with some donations that should be resolved quickly, and the delay will not impact the campaign's operations.”
To qualify for the program, a candidate must have earned at least $250,000 in donations of $250 or less from 1,000 city residents. When a $10 donation from a citizen of the city is put to use, it yields $90.
Any candidate's filings are audited by the campaign finance board. The donation is not available if the donor has failed to provide details like an address or employer. Additional documents will be considered for the next payment due on March 15.
Mr. Adams and Mr. Stringer are the only people who have been awarded public funding so far. According to Mr. Yang's campaign, he recently exceeded the fundraising target and hopes to obtain public financing in April, pending the board's audit.
Ms. Wiley had raised a large amount of money and claimed victory in January, declaring on Twitter: “You did it! You have produced a new record.
Health care workers' union endorsement brings additional momentum to Ms. Wiley's bid, but some political strategists predicted that she will win the endorsement. Ms. Wiley is being briefed by Patrick Gaspard, who previously served as a political director at 1199 with President Obama in the White House.
Gabby Seay, the union's political director, is delighted to help a Black woman who has first-hand experience with racism and misogyny, such as Kamala Harris, who recently became the nation's first Black woman elected to the vice presidency.
When we say we help Black people, this is what we mean.
Mr. Stringer, who is vying with Ms. Wiley for progressive voters, earned the endorsement of the Manufacturing, Wholesale and Department Store Union, a major union, last year.
Three other widely desired unions remain undecided: Local 32BJ of Service Employees International Union, which represents building cleaners and airport workers, the Hotel Trades Council, and the United Federation of Teachers.
Ms. Wiley thanked the Local 1199 representatives for their support during the most dire times of the pandemic.
When I'm mayor, working-class voices in City Hall will be as loud and strong as the celebratory pots and pans at 7 p.m. “Every night during the spring of this year,” Ms. Wiley said in a press release.
Ms. Wiley, whose father was a prominent civil rights activist, served as Mr. de Blasio's personal attorney for two years and then became the chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
She's recently unveiled an ambitious reform agenda to move money from the Police Department to help families pay for child care and care for older relatives. The ultimate goal of her policy is to cut 2,250 police officers, which would allow “high-need” families to gain $5,000 annually to pay for those services.
Some political consultants have indicated that unions might hold less influence today or that labor endorsements may be less important this year. Ms. Seay opposed the request, stating that the union issued "on the ground" boots and pointing out that its members are solid Democratic voters.
She said, “There is no union like 1199.” “Ask Bill de Blasio in 2013, when he ran for mayor of New York City.
The union interviewed eight mayoral candidates and made them “walk a day” in workers' shoes to give them a deeper idea of what it is like to be a health care worker. Ms. Wiley spent time with Sandra Diaz, a home health aide who claimed that she felt Ms. Wiley would support her in case of an emergency. Ms. Wiley spoke about caring for her mother, who had Alzheimer's, prior to her death.
Ms. Diaz said, “She's very down-to-earth, and she's open to our ideas.”