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Toni Preckwinkle adds Teamsters Joint Council to list of union endorsements

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Friday, January 11, 2019. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

The powerful Teamsters Joint Council 25 announced Thursday they were throwing their support to Toni Preckwinkle in the April runoff election for mayor.

The endorsement comes after Preckwinkle, the Cook County Board president, had already secured endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union, Service Employees International Union Locals 1 and 73, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 881 and Teamsters Local 700, among others. SEIU 1 has an ownership stake in Sun-Times Media.

“Toni is the right person to take on Chicago’s great challenges because she knows the importance of standing together in order to make this great city work on behalf of working families,” Teamsters Joint Council 25 President Terrence J. Hancock said in a statement released by Preckwinkle’s campaign.

A representative of the council, which represents more than 100,000 men and women in 25 local unions in Illinois and northwest Indiana, was unavailable for an interview Thursday afternoon.

Preckwinkle campaign spokesman Chris Meagher praised the endorsement. “I think it shows that Toni has a lot of momentum behind her campaign,” Meagher said. “She’s proud to be endorsed by the working men and women of the Teamsters.”

“She has been a strong supporter of working families in Chicago,” Meagher said, citing Preckwinkle’s commitment to raise the minimum wage in Chicago to $15 by 2021.

In what was seen as a blow to Preckwinkle’s campaign earlier this month, the Chicago Federation of Labor announced they would stay neutral in the race for mayor.

The CFL, which represents 300 unions, found little difference between Preckwinkle and her opponent, Lori Lightfoot, the Sun-Times reported. The organization also has an ownership stake in Sun-Times Media.

Lightfoot picked up the endorsement of the Chicago Plumbers Union Local 130 on Tuesday, which had previously endorsed Bill Daley in the race.

The union that represents Chicago’s firefighters has also endorsed Lightfoot, which could help her shore up support in the 19th and 41st wards that are home to many of the city’s firefighters.

A spokesperson for the Lightfoot campaign didn’t return messages seeking comment about Thursday’s endorsement.