July 13th, 2012 12:58 pm | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: PDX Votes, City Hall

SEIU Backs Hales for Mayor

lede_3825(hales)Charlie Hales - WW staff photo

The Service Employees International Union Local 49 has endorsed Charlie Hales for mayor, a source near Hales' campaign has told WW.

The candidates have largely split the labor endorsements. Hales landed backing from the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Joint Council of Teamsters. his opponent, Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland), has been endorsed by the Portland Association of Teachers, and the city’s firefighters and police union.

SEIU organizes workers ranging from janitors to hospital employees. Its regional contracts include the Legacy hospitals and Reed College. Both candidates visited Local 49's shop on June 30 for endorsement interviews.

"Charlie really shone in our interviews," SEIU political director Felisa Hagins tells WW. "Frankly, Charlie connected better with our members and had a better grasp on what we do."

SEIU Local 49 sat out the endorsements in the May primary. One change since then: Hales has hired political consultant Mark Wiener, who has a long track record of delivering SEIU backing for candidates.

In addition, Local 49's statewide sister union, SEIU 503, has announced it's endorsing state Rep. Mary Nolan (D-Portland) in her challenge to City Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

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