AFSCME Endorses Harp

Thomas MacMillan PhotoIn her bid to be the next mayor of New Haven, state Sen. Toni Harp notched another labor endorsement Monday, from the union she used to belong to.

“She’s one of us,” said city staffer Harold Brooks (pictured), one of over a dozen AFSCME Council 4 members who gathered on the steps of the downtown public library Monday afternoon to announce their endorsement of Harp.

Harp spoke of her time as a AFSCME union steward when she worked in the city’s human resources department years ago.

Harp is one of five Democrats running for mayor. She’s been racking up one endorsement after another in recent weeks and has the backing of a number of unions. Monday’s endorsement comes ahead of Tuesday night’s convention of the Democratic Town Committee, where Harp is expected to win the party’s endorsement.

AFSCME President Sal Luciano (pictured) said the union, which represents state and municipal workers, has about 32,000 members in Connecticut. About 1,200 of those live in New Haven, about 1,200 are employed by the city of New Haven, and about 1,000 of those both live in and are employed by New Haven, he said.

Luciano said AFSCME will be providing “shoe-leather” support to the Harp Campaign—knocking on doors in advance of Election Day and helping with get-out-the-vote efforts on Sept. 10.

Luciano said Harp’s endorsement “comes from the ground up.” He said Harp met with rank-and-file members who “enthusiastically” decided to support her.

“At the state Capitol, we never worried where Toni stood,” said Claudine Wilkins-Chambers (pictured), a school paraprofessional and the head of Local 3429. “Toni has been there for working men and women.”

Harp said she’s “proud to see how the union has grown” since she was a member. “The people that AFSCME represents keep our city running every single day,” she said.

Harp said the “mobile city halls” that she plans to open would be staffed by AFSCME members.

In the meantime, her campaign will receive the support of AFSCME members. Harp said she’ll need the help because she faces “well-financed opponents who will not hesitate to run negative attack ads.”

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posted by: NewHavenerToo on July 22, 2013  9:24pm

I am a 10 year member of AFSCME and I DO NOT support Harp.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 22, 2013  9:31pm

The unions continue to prop up an empty dress. Any negative ads are well deserved.

posted by: fairgame on July 22, 2013  10:13pm

When did we decide to endorse Harp? As a union member, why wasn’t the union membership polled on the endorsement of any of the mayoral candidates? I received no invitation to support it or express my own candidate preference. In fact, I did not even receive notification of today’s event. Readers should be aware that a number of the people photographed for this article do not even live in New Haven. They may be employees of the city of New Haven but they are not tax payers. Many of us in the union, on the other hand are both, and we should have been polled on this endorsement.

posted by: swatty on July 23, 2013  12:25am

ahh. not me. I don’t support harp. Least wise no one ever asked…

posted by: True that on July 23, 2013  5:04am

More of the same.  Sal Luciano, another suburban union leader.  Add him to the list with Bob Proto (unite here) and cavalier with the police union.  Nearly every suburban union leader has endorsed Toni, and with good reason:  she is the queen of quid pro quo.  If she wins, we can expect higher taxes because the Unions will be looking for a return on their investments at contract negotiation time.  In order to stay in their good graces, she will be willing to give away everything.

For the rank and file union members who were uninformed about this, that happened because your executive board, most of whom probably live in the suburbs, decides which candidate will get YOUR money.  It’s your money and you have no say over how the suburban union leaders spend it.  They literally reach their hands into your pocket and pull out money to hand over to candidates whose family owes more than a million dollars in taxes, allows New Haven residents to live in filth, owns no property in New Haven (and therefore pays no taxes here), has a party house in Bethany, is traumatized by Newhallville, makes up a fantasy about being bullied and intimated ( the broken window story is a complete farce that everyone saw through, and has questions about whether or not she actually lives in New Haven.  But, your suburban union leadership can decide for you that your money should go to her.

posted by: Walt on July 23, 2013  5:42am

To me , an endorsement by the City employees’  Union means the Candidate is most likely poison for the rest of the taxpayers

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on July 23, 2013  7:49am

It’s good to know Ms. Harp has so much suburban support for her New Haven mayoral bid.

No doubt they know she’ll do great things for Milford, Hamden, North Haven, Branford, etc…

posted by: robn on July 23, 2013  8:12am

So that’s it then. Every major news outlet in the state does an expose on the harp family’s history of tax evasion but the Harp campaign just refuses to even address the issue?


posted by: Christopher Schaefer on July 23, 2013  8:51am

“AFSCME President Sal Luciano…said the union, which represents state and municipal workers, has about 32,000 members in Connecticut. About 1,200 of those live in New Haven”. So Harp is being endorsed by a union of which less than 4% of its members are New Haven residents. “Harp said the ‘mobile city halls’ that she plans to open would be staffed by AFSCME members.” Well, I have to give her credit. At least she is being totally upfront about how cronyism works. But I also have to point out that her idea of “mobile city halls” already has been implemented.  It’s called The Internet.

posted by: Curious on July 23, 2013  9:16am

“Harp said the “mobile city halls” that she plans to open would be staffed by AFSCME members.”

Continuing the proud New Haven tradition of exchanging favors for support in gaining office, only Harp doesn’t even bother to hide it.

Pay to play, the New Haven way!

@ NewHavenerToo and Fairgame, you’re not alone.  Local 34, one of Yale’s unions, decided to endorse Toni without asking us a single question.  No polling, no nothing.  Just leadership voting in a closed meeting to decide this is how to spend our union dues.  Should be criminal, but it’s not.

posted by: anonymous on July 23, 2013  12:09pm

Like the sexism/victimization accusations earlier this week, these endorsements are part of an elaborate media smokescreen to distract people from the enormous slumlord & back taxes issue hanging around this campaign’s neck, which has featured prominently in the Courant and Register and TV for days.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 23, 2013  12:32pm

The state pension funds are grossly underfunded by tens of billions of dollars and only has 53% of what it needs long term. That’s Toni Harp’s record. These people don’t care. The city pension fund is equally in the red by nearly a $100 million. Toni Harp promises more of it. Endorsement? Of course she got the endorsement. She will give it the same clear eyed view she does the family business, and all those tax liens which is precisely none. Party hearty.

posted by: InformedOpinion123 on July 23, 2013  1:16pm

I find it hilarious that so many union members - as noted in the comments - actually DO NOT support Harp. This is why I love the comment section. It’s where you get the real story!

posted by: nellie bly on July 23, 2013  3:59pm

I am another long term member NOT supporting Toni.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 23, 2013  8:33pm

Got calls from three members all yelling…WTF they were never asked. They are not voting for her. 2 for one candidate and one for another but not harp?

And I am with Robn…I want the issues addressed. Oh because her window was broken we are all suppose to feel bad and pretend her family does not owe a million in taxes? NOT!

posted by: lavenderblackbird on July 23, 2013  8:42pm

Are you joking?! I am a union member and have yet to make my mind regarding who has my vote. I was NOT asked at ANY point whether or not I supported Harp or any other candidate for that matter. Unbelievable!

posted by: swatty on July 23, 2013  10:24pm

Once again ethics comes to call.