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Jack Evans snags early union endorsement thanks to ‘living wage’ vote

Evans launched his mayoral campaign on June 8. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
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Is it already mayoral endorsement season?

With the April 1 primary now only eight months away, candidate Jack Evans sees no need to wait, securing an endorsement today from the Maryland/D.C. State Council of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

The IAMAW is not typically seen as a heavyweight among city labor interests, politically speaking, but council president Lonnie Vick said Tuesday that its members would be fighting hard for Evans, a Democrat who has represented Ward 2 on the D.C. Council since 1991.

Vick cited Evans’s recent vote in favor of the controversial “living wage” bill aimed at large retailers like Wal-Mart as the “primary reason” for the early nod. “We try to make our decision based on the facts at hand,” he said.

Mayoral competitors and fellow council members Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) both opposed the bill. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), who has not announced whether he will seek re-election, has yet to say whether he will veto the legislation, though he has made comments critical of it.

The IAMAW has about a thousand members in District-based jobs, Vick said, including bargaining units at the D.C. jail’s privatized Correctional Treatment Facility, the Government Printing Office, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Central Armature Works and the Allen-Mitchell & Co. machine shop. (The union also represents workers at The Washington Post’s printing plant in Virginia.)

Vick did not know how many of the union’s members were District residents.

Evans, in a statement, said he is “honored” have the endorsement and is “proud to stand by the District’s working families.”