Four labor unions, including some that often support Democrats, endorsed Republican Jack Martins in the 3rd Congressional District race in the past week.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Civil Service Employees Association, the New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters, and the National Electrical Contractors Association cited the Old Westbury state senator’s efforts to protect workers’ rights and the middle class.
“If we are to turn our country around and put people back to work, making decent wages with decent benefits, we will need more elected officials like [Martins] who will fight to maintain a dignified middle-class in America,” the CSEA president, Danny Donohue, said in a statement.
The unions represent more than 425,000 workers in the public and private sectors from around the state.
The CSEA is one of six New York affiliates of the AFSCME, the country’s largest public services employees union.
Martins is running against Democrat Tom Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, to replace U.S. Rep. Steve Israel.
The AFSCME endorsed Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, in October 2015. The District Council of Carpenters backed Christine Quinn, the former New York City Council speaker, for mayor in 2013’s Democratic primary.
The CSEA often endorses incumbents and backed both Martins and Israel for re-election in 2014, but supported Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Garden City Democrat, in her bid that year for the open 4th Congressional District seat.
The union has also backed the Village of Flower Hill mayor, Elaine Phillips, a Republican, to succeed Martins in the 7th Senate District.
“Throughout my time in public service, I’ve fought to make life better for hardworking families; cutting taxes, investing in economic development and enhancing job training programs to give people greater opportunity,” Martins said in a statement on the CSEA endorsement. “I appreciate the membership’s confidence, support and endorsement of my ability to do the same in Congress.”
Suozzi drew ire from Nassau’s CSEA chapter as county executive when he cut Nassau’s workforce under pressure to get the county’s finances under control. The union also opposed a 2008 plan of his for a state cap on school district property taxes.
Suozzi has a slate of other labor endorsements that includes the New York State Union of Teachers and Westbury-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500.
“Tom Suozzi has a long history of taking on powerful interests, and putting people before politics, to solve serious problems for working men and women, while Jack Martins has compiled a long record in Albany of playing follow his Republican leaders,” Suozzi’s campaign manager, Kim Devlin, said in an email.
A Martins strategist, E. O’Brien Murray, countered that Martins has a “long record of bipartisanship” and broad public support “while Tom Suozzi is the divisive one who claims he has changed.”
Both candidates released their second TV ads this week.
In Martins’ ad, out Monday, he touts his efforts in Albany to “ease the burden on families and remove barriers to success.” In Suozzi’s ad, out Tuesday, he pledges to be “a new kind of old-fashioned Democrat,” invoking John F. Kennedy.