New Haven – At an Executive Board meeting on Monday night, the leaders of Local 34-UNITE HERE announced the union’s endorsement of Toni Harp for Mayor in this year’s election. The recommendation of the union’s Political Committee, comprised of politically-engaged New Haven residents, was unanimously accepted by the full Executive Board.
Mary Thigpen, who works at the Yale Health plan and lives in the Quinnipiac neighborhood, said that the Committee was impressed by the scale of Harp’s accomplishments in her nearly four years as Mayor. “She has committed the City to local hiring and is encouraging other area employers to follow suit through New Haven Works. We need that kind of leadership to turn around the jobs crisis affecting our families and neighbors in New Haven.”
In addition to the Mayor’s record on jobs, committee members cited her track record on education and youth services. “Her efforts to get our high-school kids college credits or skills training in trades make a real difference for our families,” said Barbara Vereen, a Newhallville resident and Chief Steward for Local 34. “My son will graduate from George Washington University and we saved $68,000 in college tuition thanks to credits he was able to get while still in high school.” Mayor Harp’s work to expand the Summer Meals Program for children under 18 and to prevent youth violence through YouthSTAT were also important to the union’s endorsement.
“On the issues that matter to our members, our families and our neighborhoods, Toni Harp has delivered as mayor,” added Laurie Kennington, President of Local 34 and a member of UNITE HERE International Union’s Executive Committee. “Her commitment to working people has been very visible to union members who live and work in New Haven.”
Local 34-UNITE HERE represents over 3,600 University employees who perform a wide variety of administrative, research, and clinical work across the University. Together with sister unions Local 35, Local 33, Local 217, and the community organization New Haven Rising, Local 34-UNITE HERE has been a leader in fighting New Haven’s jobs crisis.