Labor unions will play a big role in this year's race for mayor in Toledo.
Today, 13abc learned the AFL-CIO is about to endorse independent D. Michael Collins in his race against incumbent independent candidate Mayor Mike Bell.
The AFL-CIO represents about 100-unions. The organization backed Democrat Anita Lopez in the primary.
The Collins second place finish on primary night shook up the mayoral campaign.
For the first time, a Democrat will not run in the general election.
But it also means the AFL-CIO-- which endorsed a Democrat-- now has to look somewhere else.
The head of the labor organization told us he and the union have a candidate.
George Tucker, Executive Director of the AFL-CIO in northwest Ohio told 13abc's Bill Hormann, "I can endorse Mike Collins today. I think the AFL-CIO will endorse Mike Collins when we go through our process."
That process begins next Monday night with a membership meeting and a vote on which of the independent candidates to endorse in the race.
Collins is humbled by the impending support and believes, had he gotten into the race earlier, this group would have backed him in the primary.
But he has their backing now, telling 13abc, "I embrace their support and I look forward to working with them."
This endorsement is not unexpected.
The unions are upset about Mike Bell's support to restrict collective bargaining rights and his apparent support for right to work legislation.
The fire and police unions picked Collins in the primary and their support is still strong.
Mayor Bell's campaign spokesman, B.J. Fisher told 13abc this is no surprise, saying, "We've known from the beginning that labor disagreed with what Mike Bell did."
But Mike Collins sees an opening and promises not to be a pawn of labor... but a partner with labor.
Collins says, "I will promise labor and I will promise this community they will have a very, very fundamental fair relationship between the working men and women who belong to labor unions and their government in the City of Toledo."
Wednesday night, the Toledo Police Command Officers Association meets and is likely to back Collins.
And the Toledo Ffederation of Teachers may endorse Collins, as well.
Unions will have a role in this mayor's race and union groups are already lining up against Mike Bell.