New York Union Drops Candidate After Sexual Harassment Reports

Earlier today the Executive Board of 32BJ SEIU unanimously voted to rescind their endorsement of Assembly Member Micah Kellner for a City Council seat.

It was the first time the union, which has 75,000 members in New York City, has ever rescinded an endorsement. The union’s members include janitors, property maintenance workers, doormen, security officers, window cleaners, building engineers, and school and food service workers.

In a statement from the Union secretary-treasurer Kyle Bragg said, “Given the allegations against Kellner, we cannot in good conscience continue to support his candidacy, and call on him to withdraw from the race. We are deeply disappointed, and do this with a measure of sadness, but it is the right thing to do.”

Kellner made news last month after previous reports of sexual harassment came to light in a NYTimes article. In the article excepts of Internet chats were revealed in which Kellner flirted with his female staffers.

While this report is not anywhere near as explicit as the actions of Anthony Weiner or San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, it is another troubling case of a Democratic politician abusing a position of public trust and making the workplace unwelcome for women. The union taking unprecedented action here in rescinding it’s endorsement is a sign that they are not willing to take that risk, and that the personal and professional integrity of candidates needs to apply to women not just in policy, but in their daily lives if candidates want support.

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