The Daily News and NY Times are reporting that District 37, the city's largest union, will endorse City Comptroller William Thompson for mayor. The News writes that this is a "turnaround from four years ago that gives fresh momentum to Thompson's campaign."
The NY Times explains that though DC 37 backed Bloomberg in 2005 (it usually backs Democratic candidates), "Disputes between DC 37 and the Bloomberg administration, which have simmered throughout the second term, appeared to boil over during the endorsement process, giving Mr. Thompson an opening, according to those who have spoken to the union’s leaders. And Mr. Bloomberg’s sobering address to the union’s executive committee on Wednesday night, in which he warned members, 'You’re going to have to learn to do more with less' because of the economic downturn, appeared to hurt, not help, his chances."
Bloomberg spokesman Howard Wolfson told the Times, "DC 37 opposes pension reform, mayoral control of schools, and wants the city to hire more employees, even in a time of fiscal crisis. This is their job, so we understand their position. But these are clearly not things that the mayor could agree to, and so it’s not surprising that they would endorse Mr. Thompson...The real question is what promises Mr. Thompson made them and how much his promises will cost taxpayers." PolitickerNY points out that the Village Voice's "Wayne Barrett probed that question in 2005"—when Bloomberg was endorsed.
The union represents city workers in different jobs—its website says, "Our members care for the sick, the children, the elderly. We maintain bridges, parks, roads and subways. We staff the hospitals, schools, libraries, social service centers and city colleges. We do the clerical work, the maintenance work, the technical work that keeps this city running. Our state members uphold rent regulations and serve as interpreters and reporters in the courts. Some of us wear uniforms, some of us wear hard hats, some of us use computers or calculators." The union also has over 120,000 members and 50,000 retirees, which the News says could give Thompson's campaign much-needed volunteer help.