The state AFL-CIO announced on Tuesday it is endorsing a slate of Democrats running for office on the spring ballot, including Attorney General Roy Cooper for governor, former state Rep. Linda Coleman for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Josh Stein for attorney general, former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker for labor commissioner, Dan Blue III for state treasurer, and former state Rep. Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate.
The organization of private and public unions and union councils also endorsed for re-election Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, Auditor Beth Wood, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson and appeals court Judge Linda Stephens.
A committee of more than 60 union members made the recommendations on Friday after reviewing questionnaires and interviewing candidates, according to the AFL-CIO. Its executive board approved the endorsements by the required two-thirds majority vote.
“With new representation in the U.S. Senate and new leadership at the helm of state government, we can raise wages and provide economic stability for North Carolina’s working people — and make sure they get paid for the work they do,” state AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer MaryBe McMillan said in the announcement.
The AFL-CIO represents more than 100,000 union members in North Carolina, according to its website. North Carolina had the lowest union membership rate in the country, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics last year.
North Carolina prohibits collective bargaining for public sector workers.
The re-election campaign of Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement in response to the endorsements.
"Roy Cooper’s backing by the unions is no surprise, given they have bankrolled protests and relentless attacks against Gov. McCrory to obstruct his efforts to rebuild North Carolina since day one,” spokesman Ricky Diaz said.
Diaz characterized the unions’ agenda as “radical,” and said it includes ending anti-union laws in North Carolina and supporting the Moral Monday movement, which he said would result in substantially increased taxes if its demands were fully funded.