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Labor's unexpected picks in 2008

The South Florida AFL-CIO has announcement its endorsements, and the overwhelming majority of the names, as expected, are Democrats.

But there are a few exceptions among the Republicans running for the state Legislature in South Florida: Hialeah Council President Esteban Bovo, Rafael Perez (co-endorsed with Democrat Frank Morra) and incumbents Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Julio Robaina and Juan Zapata (co-endorsed with Democrat Michael Calderin).

Deborah Dion, the union's political director, said the endorsements are made on the basis of issues, not party affiliations. The No. 1 litmus test: The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill in Congress that would make it easier for workers to unionize.

The union is slated to meet Wednesday to discuss their strategy for the 2008 campaign, which will focus on making sure all of its half million members statewide vote by absentee ballot.

"If Joe tells the shop steward he's going to send in an absentee ballot, the shop steward can follow up by going back to Joe if he doesn't turn it in,'' Dion said. "We learned a valuable lesson with strong major campaign. On Election Day we were dead even,  but the mayor had almost 20,000 absentee ballots banked.''