Ramos gains more labor endorsements in Newark mayoral race, says "I'm running, and I'm winning"

By Mark Bonamo | January 27th, 2014


WEST CALDWELL - In a white-walled work room, Newark mayoral candidate Anibal Ramos, Jr. stood before roughly a dozen members of Plumbers Local Union No. 24 on Monday, getting more needed labor endorsements.

In front of several pipe threader machines, Ramos weaved together a narrative of a candidate determined to gain critical labor support and to stay in the race to the end, come what may.

"Other candidates in this race for mayor talk about their support for organized labor, I have a track record of supporting organized labor," said Ramos, 38, slapping at Newark's other mayoral candidates, former Assistant Attorney General Shavar Jeffries and councilmen Darrin Sharif and Ras Baraka, despite Baraka having received several labor endorsements.

As part of his labor bona fides, Ramos listed his sponsorship of Newark's paid sick leave bill, the second to be passed in New Jersey, which is expected to be finally approved by the council on Tuesday.

"I wholeheartedly support collective bargaining and the right to organize," Ramos added, pointing out his support of increasing the state's minimum wage, approved by voters in November. "As mayor, I will make job creation and economic development a top priority. I will ensure that the city's job training programs are aligned with all available jobs in Newark. I will cut the red tape that continues to hinder economic development in our city, and I will encourage responsible development in our city's neighborhoods."

Ramos was officially endorsed on Monday by Plumbers Local 24, Steamfitters Local 475 and Sprinkler Fitters Local 696, as well as the New Jersey Association of Pipe Trades, which represents 10,000 union members across the state in eight building trade unions.

Ramos was previously endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1158 in December. Ramos was endorsed by two of the largest building trades unions in the state – the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters (NRCC) and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825 - in June.

Lew Candura, the business agent for Sprinkler Fitters Local 696 and the Morris County Democratic Chairman, noted the symbiotic relationship between labor and politics in New Jersey.

"We feel it's a great partnership when you have labor and government working together," Candura said. "It's government doing what's right for the people they represent by enticing business to come in to the community and try to help residents obtain good-paying jobs. To me, it's a hand in glove situation."

Ramos, rumored in recent weeks to be considering dropping out of the Newark mayoral race, made it clear that the gloves are off, and his fists are still raised.

"We're going to announce some additional labor endorsements in the next few weeks," said the North Ward councilman, whose campaign has raised more than $500,000 for the May election. "These workers here and in Newark have an investment in our city and in its potential, and we need to have effective partnerships with labor unions to help get more Newarkers to work in a city with more than 14 percent unemployment. They are ultimately going to be part of the solution.

"We are in a very strong position, and I am moving forward aggressively," Ramos added. "I'm running, and I'm winning."

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