Major Labor Union SEIU Endorses Chuy Garcia | NBC Chicago
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Major Labor Union SEIU Endorses Chuy Garcia

The union will encourage all members to vote for Garcia and will contribute an unspecified amount of money to Garcia television advertisements

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel and challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade downtown Saturday, the same day Garcia picked up a big endorsement from the SEIU labor union. NBC 5's Katie Kim reports. (Published Saturday, March 14, 2015)

    Jesus "Chuy" Garcia picked up another major endorsement Saturday as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced their support for the mayoral candidate.

    The labor union, which represents workers in healthcare, property services and public services, touted Garcia's working man persona and decried Emanuel as a "millionaire's candidate."

    Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU's Illinois Council, told NBC Chicago he was upset with the cutbacks at O'Hare International Airport and with the school closings that happened under Mayor Rahm Emanuel's leadership.

    Balanoff also expressed concern about Emanuel's relationship with Gov. Bruce Rauner and took a shot at President Obama, who endorsed Emanuel in February.

    The union represents at least 100,000 workers in Chicago, according to Balanoff, who asked that all SEIU members and working families vote for Garcia. The union will also contribute an unspecified amount of money to Garcia television advertisements, Balanoff said.

    The union remains divided, however, on which candidate members support. While Garcia has Balanoff's backing, the local 73 chapter of the union, which represents parts of Illinois and Northwest Indiana, endorsed Emanuel.

    "Endorsements are helpful, but at the end of the day it's about the candidates going out and earning the public support with ideas, leadership and the strength to see through what's necessary to create jobs," Emanuel told NBC Chicago while marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade Saturday.

    SEIU did not endorse any candidate in the 2011 race.

    Garcia has picked up several major endorsements recently, including ones from former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. Danny Davis and the Teamsters Local 743, but the latest poll numbers from the Chicago Tribune show Emanuel with a double-digit leader over Garcia.

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