Unions endorse Catherine Pugh for Baltimore mayor, City Council candidates

Unions endorse Catherine Pugh for Baltimore mayor, City Council candidates
State Sen. Catherine Pugh (center) puts her arm around a young girl on Tuesday afternoon near intersection of Pennsylvania and West North avenues. A police commander at the scene said officers tried to arrest an armed man when his weapon fell and went off. (Luke Broadwater/Baltimore Sun)

The Service Employees International Union's Maryland and DC State Council has endorsed State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh for mayor of Baltimore.

The umbrella organization represents several SEIU local unions of workers in the fields of education, early learning and human service to developmentally disabled Baltimoreans.

"Catherine's work on behalf of Baltimore families and working people across Maryland made her the obvious choice,"  Merle Cuttitta, president of SEIU Local 500, said in a statement. "As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, she has been a leader in the fight to expand collective bargaining rights to all employees at Maryland's community colleges - from adjunct faculty to groundskeepers."  

Pugh is among 13 Democrats running to become Baltimore's next mayor. She has been polling second to former Mayor Sheila Dixon. Incumbent Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is not seeking re-election. 

In Baltimore's City Council races, union members from two politically active SEIU locals --1199 and 32BJ -- have endorsed an initial slate of candidates. The unions represent about 5,000 Baltimore workers. They did not endorse for mayor. 

The unions endorsed: 
* Councilman Brandon Scott (District 2) 
* Jermaine Jones, who is running for the seat now occupied by retiring Councilman Robert W. Curran (District 3)
* Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton (District 6) 
* Kris Burnett, who is running for the seat now occupied by retiring Councilwoman Helen Holton (District 8) 
* John Bullock, who is challenging incumbent Councilman William "Pete" Welch (District 9) 
* Councilman Edward Reisinger (District 10)
* Shannon Sneed, who is challenging incumbent Councilman Warren Branch (District 13) 
* Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke (District 14)
"It is time to clean house. We will work hard to elect advocates who will represent Baltimore City's working families," Lisa Brown, executive vice president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, MD/DC Division, said in a statement. "What we heard from our members and Baltimore residents during the Uprising in the aftermath of Freddie Gray's murder was the need for change in our city and a demand for our elected officials to be our voice and act in our interest."