The Greater Washington Central Labor Council has endorsed H. R. Crawford in the September Democratic party primary election for the Ward 7 City Council seat being vacated by Willie J. Hardy.
The Ward 7 contest is shaping up as the liveliest primary fight. The labor council also endorsed two incumbent council members, Wilhelmina Rolark (D-Ward 8) and John L. Ray (D-At Large) in their contests.
In announcing the group's support of the three candidates at a District Building press conference Tuesday, Robert E. Petersen, president of the organization, said Crawford and the others agree with labor on key issues of unemployment, housing and city service.
But Petersen acknowledged that the candidates' positions on workers' compensation also had much to do with the endorsements.
Hardy, who is leaving the council to set up a consulting firm, authored legislation earlier this year which cut workers' compensation benefits in the District. "She has only done one thing to earn the gratitude of her constituents," Petersen said of Hardy. "That was her decision not to seek reelection."
Hardy has announced her support of Crawford's main opponent in the Ward 7 race, Johnny Barnes.
Rolark sponsored an unsuccessful bill that adhered more closely to labor's position on workers' compensation than Hardy's. Ray argued in support of Rolark's positions in council debates on the issue.
Petersen said the group has decided to make no other council endorsements this year. "The other council members and other candidates do not meet our standards," he said. "They have demonstrated a lack of concern for the workers in this city and do not deserve our support."
Petersen said the current council is "pro-business and anti-worker."