Miami-Dade’s largest coalition of labor unions has endorsed Raquel Regalado in her challenge of county Mayor Carlos Gimenez, with the South Florida AFL-CIO knocking the incumbent for his effort to hire for-profit companies to run government services and facilities.
“To public-sector unions, Gimenez has consistently said he wants to privatize government,” said Cynthia Hernández, spokeswoman for the AFL-CIO, an umbrella group that includes all county unions except for the ones representing fire and police employees. “We’ve seen departments that are under-staffed and not functioning well.”
The endorsement gives Regalado, a two-term school board member, the backing of the political apparatus behind Miami-Dade’s largest labor group about two months before the Aug. 30 nonpartisan primary that could decide the mayoral contest. “With 60 days till Election Day, this unified endorsement affirms the viability of my candidacy by those most impacted by who is Mayor of Miami-Dade County,” Regalado said in a statement.
Gimenez, who came to office in 2011 championing a tax cut that helped lead to a string of austerity budgets, was an underdog for winning the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, which represents county unions that have battled the mayor’ administration on contract concessions and spending cuts. But his camp hoped to keep the coalition group neutral in the mayor’s race, and then try for endorsements from individual unions seen as more favorable to Gimenez.