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This post has been updated to reflect a new endorsement from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37

Days before their umbrella labor organization is due to announce its endorsement in Baltimore County elections, the Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37 have endorsed Joseph Bartenfelder in his race with fellow County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz for the Democratic nomination for county executive.

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The two unions representing about 3,500 workers in Baltimore County have joined several other locals affiliated with the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO in making its endorsement before the council. The organization with some 180 affiliated locals is not expected to announce its choice until Thursday.

Check out our story on how union endorsements may break toward Bartenfelder this week.This post has been updated to reflect a new endorsement from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37

Days before their umbrella labor organization is due to announce its endorsement in Baltimore County elections, the Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 37 have endorsed Joseph Bartenfelder in his race with fellow County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz for the Democratic nomination for county executive.

The two unions representing about 3,500 workers in Baltimore County have joined several other locals affiliated with the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO in making its endorsement before the council. The organization with some 180 affiliated locals is not expected to announce its choice until Thursday.

Check out our story on how union endorsements may break toward Bartenfelder this week.

BCFPE President John Ripley said the endorsement was based on interviews with candidates, polling the membership and the records of the candidates.

"Along with his traditional labor-friendly positions, county employees found [Bartenfelder] more approachable," said Ripley, whose union represents about 1,700 employees in 185 different categories, including correctional officers, civilian employees for police, fire and sheriff's departments, code enforcement and animal control officers.

Ripley, a lieutenant at the Baltimore County Detention Center, said, "I've always had Mr. Bartenfelder's personal cell phone number. ... You don't fake that kind of sincerity."

Joe Shanahan, the business manager with the IUOE Local 37 — which represents some 1,800 heavy equipment operators in the county — said in a written release that Bartenfelder "has a longstanding record of respecting the need for apprenticeship programs within Baltimore County," and would work with state government to "increase and maintain jobs."

Bartenfelder has served on the council since 1994 and before that in the Maryland House of Delegates for 12 years.

Bartenfelder, whose family runs a farm in Fullerton, has already been endorsed by several local affiliated with the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO: Baltimore County Professional Firefighters Association, Maryland State United Auto Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers, Plumbers and Steamfitters. Kamenetz has been endorsed by the Laborers International Union of North America, which is also affiliated with the council, and the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, which is not.

The third Democratic candidate, Ron Harvey, who entered the race on the last filing day last week, has no announced labor endorsements. The only Republican in the race, Kenneth Holt, has also received no announced labor endorsements

-Arthur Hirsch

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