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July 15, 2009 at 12:38 PM

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SEIU endorses Constantine

Posted by Keith Ervin

Three locals of the powerful Service Employees International Union have endorsed Metropolitan King County Councimember Dow Constantine for county executive.

SEIU spokesman Adam Glickman said union leaders faced a difficult choice between Constantine and his council colleague, Larry Phillips, whom the unions have supported in past council campaigns and whom Glickman called "a good friend of SEIU's and certainly a progressive candidate with good values."

But the unions, which represent health-care workers, home-care workers and janitors, "overwhelmingly" chose Constantine over Phillips, state Rep. Ross Hunter and state Sen. Fred Jarrett.

"Our folks, like all working families, need affordable housing, need mass transit, need public-health services, and Dow has had a real record of standing up for those issues and fighting for those issues," Glickman said.

The locals also viewed Constantine as an effective campaigner with the strongest likelihood of defeating former TV news anchor Susan Hutchison, he said.

Hunter and Jarrett, who have called for county employee union concessions on health-care costs and wage increases, "utterly failed to show any leadership" in the Legislature when programs for the poor were cut back and wages for most state employees were frozen, Glickman said.

Constantine and Phillips both have won a substantial number of union endorsements.

Constantine's backers include the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and unions representing firefighters, longshoremen, sailors and grocery and retail workers.

Phillips has the support of Teamsters, Laborers and carpenters' unions. Some unions have endorsed both Constantine and Phillips.

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