Jul 24, 2013 | Press Release

Crain's - Organized labor group plots big election spending

Updated: July 23, 2013 3:46 p.m.

The New York City Central Labor Council, organized labor's largest umbrella group in the city, was unable to unify behind a candidate in this year's mayoral race, but is launching what it called an "unprecedented" effort to support City Council candidates. The recently-formed "NYC CLC Political Action Campaign Fund" is a new independent expenditure committee that will be able to spend unlimited union dollars on favored candidates as a result of the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

"What's different is that we're being much more aggressive this year," said a CLC spokeswoman. "This is definitely by far the most we've ever done."

The efforts are being directed by Central Labor Council political and legislative director Marco Carrion, and the CLC has retained mail consultant Mack Sumner Communications, which has worked for President Barack Obama and labor-backed Democrats across the country. It's not yet clear how much the committee will spend, but while the CLC has typically sent out one or two mailers for each favored candidate, the plan this year is to send out seven to 12 in each race, the CLC said.

The group has endorsed in 42 council races and plans a focused effort, including mailers and canvassing, in seven to 10 of those, the spokeswoman said. Those efforts must be independent of the campaigns themselves.

So far, the new committee has been mainly targeting two races where it has already been engaging in door-to-door canvassing. One of them is an effort to unseat longtime Brooklyn Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez and replace her with Carlos Menchaca, a community organizer. The second race is for term-limited Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie's seat, where the CLC is backing Daneek Miller, president of the Amalgamated Transportation Union Local No. 1056.

- published in Crain's on July 23rd, 2013