AFL-CIO will give Lopez full support - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

AFL-CIO will give Lopez full support

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The mayor's race in Toledo is getting attention from the national AFL-CIO.   The local union has endorsed Democrat Anita Lopez and that has drawn the interest of the state and national union.

Thursday, the Northwest Ohio branch will launch a voter outreach effort in support of Lopez and Toledo city council candidate Shaun Enright.

It is obvious who the local Teamsters and AFL-CIO are endorsing.  There is a huge sign supporting Anita Lopez outside the union headquarters on the Anthony Wayne Trail.

County Auditor Lopez is seen by unions as the best candidate to beat Mayor Mike Bell (I- Toledo), and the local AFL endorsement means support from the state and national union as well.

George Tucker is the Executive Secretary with the Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO.  He tells 13abc's Bill Hormann, the state and national union will "provide call lists (and) they can provide people on the ground here to assist us."

That means campaign guidance, manning headquarters, walking door-to-door; and it means money.

But it also means taking a stand against Ohio Governor John Kasich.  Tucker says, "The interest is from the national union and the state union because of the so-called right to work."

The governor said in Bowling Green, this week, that right to work legislation is not on the state's agenda.  The move to adopt right to work language which would not compel a worker to join a union or pay dues, was withdrawn in the Spring.

But Mayor Bell's close relationship with the governor has energized unions to back Lopez.

The County Auditor says union support will be a big factor in the race and it's the Mayor's fault, saying, "Senate Bill 5 was an issue the mayor supported and it's coming home to roost right now for him."

Senate Bill 5, restricted collective bargaining rights in Ohio until voters rejected the measure in 2011.  Mayor Bell was a very vocal in backing the governor on the issue and the mayor did have substantial support from residents and business owners in Toledo.

Ironically, the 21-member Toledo Fire Chief's Association, which opposed the mayor on SB5 and other issues, *endorsed* Mayor Bell late Wednesday afternoon.

The mayor says the group backed him because they know the tough decisions he made were an effort to save jobs.  Mayor Bell told 13abc, "If you look at similar sized cities, they're struggling a lot right now and we're the ones that are adding police officers, we're adding firefighters, we're fixing roads;  we're doing the things people asked us to do and we haven't raised their taxes."

But with regard to the unions, the mayor has raised their contempt even though he has not laid off any union workers.

The state and national AFL-CIO sees Anita Lopez as a potential political star and she will get money and manpower.

The local affiliate represents 100-unions and 35-thousand workers.

They do not all live in Toledo, of course,  but they can contribute time and money and that can make a big difference.

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