This story was updated to include labor endorsements of at-large Lansing City Council member Brian Jeffries.
Wednesday, July 17 — Although the two organizations rarely agree on politics, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and the United Auto Workers Region 1-C are on the same page for the citywide elections this fall.
Both groups have endorsed Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and his slate of candidates for Lansing City Council: incumbents Tina Houghton in the 2nd Ward, Jessica Yorko in the 4th Ward and Kathie Dunbar in the at-large race, as well at-large candidate Judi Browne Clarke.
The endorsements come before a key election for Bernero’s administration. Even though Bernero has an easy race, Yorko and Dunbar do not. Without either of them, the mayor’s ability to sustain a veto could be jeopardized.
The other incumbent seeking re-election is at-large Council member Brian Jeffries, who has opposed Bernero on significant issues.
The UAW endorsement of Yorko flies in the face of the union backing that one of her opponents, Chong-Anna Canfora, says she’s already received.
On Canfora’s campaign Facebook page, she writes that she has endorsements from Ironworkers Local 25, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1039 (the CATA employee union) and the Greater Lansing Labor Council, which represents over 40 Lansing area unions.
Jeffries said he’s already racked up other labor endorsements including the Greater Lansing Labor Council, the Michigan Education Association, the Lansing Police Lodge 141 and Teamsters Local 580.
The chamber issued a press release Monday with a headline that read: “Business and Labor Forge Unprecedented Partnership to Move Lansing Forward.”
"This is a special occasion that labor and business can come together to support candidates who want what is right for the City of Lansing," the press release quoted Norwood H. Jewell, director, UAW Region 1-C, as saying. "The UAW is proud of our long, rich history with the City of Lansing and we look forward to working together for more jobs and economic investment."
Added the chamber’s president, Tim Daman: "Today's joint announcement by the UAW and the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce reflects the level of collaboration that is badly needed if the City of Lansing is to overcome its challenges and reach greatness. We believe this group of candidates has the potential to foster an exciting new era where the Mayor and City Council are working cooperatively to move the city forward."