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De Blasio Gets Third Big Union Endorsement This Week

By Jeff Mays | November 17, 2016 5:30pm
 Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray look on as 32 BJ SEIU President Héctor Figueroa endorses the mayor for re-election.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray look on as 32 BJ SEIU President Héctor Figueroa endorses the mayor for re-election.
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DNAinfo/Jeff Mays

CHELSEA — Mayor Bill de Blasio racked up his third big union endorsement of the week as a Quinnipiac University Poll showed his approval numbers pulling even, up from a negative rating, just a few months ago.

De Blasio snagged the endorsement of 32 BJ SEIU, a property workers union with 75,000 members in New York City.

Union President Héctor Figueroa said de Blasio had addressed issues of importance to his members such as universal pre-K, created the IDNYC card and a $15 minimum wage.

"We have a lot of work to do," said Figueroa. "But we would not be having the conversation today about income inequality if not for this mayor."

Earlier in the week, de Blasio unofficially kicked off his 2017 re-election push with an endorsement from the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association, which has 6,500 workers. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which represents 40,000 retail and grocery workers in the city, also endorsed the mayor.

►READ MORE: De Blasio Kicks Off Re-Election Push With Sanitation Union Endorsement

De Blasio, standing next to his wife Chirlane McCray, said the 32BJ endorsement was significant.

"This is not a paper endorsement, this is a boots on the ground endorsement, a knock on doors endorsement," said the mayor.

Asked about endorsing de Blasio so early when only a handful of people have declared their intentions to run for mayor, Figueroa said de Blasio was the only person to ask.

"Nobody has said to us, 32BJ, we'd like you to consider us as a candidate for mayor," he said.

The endorsement comes as de Blasio received good and bad news from Quinnipiac University polls.

One poll found that de Blasio's approval rating improved to 47 percent who approve of the job he's doing and 47 percent who don't. That's up from a rating of 51 percent who disapproved of the job the mayor was doing versus 42 percent who approved in August.

De Blasio would also best major potential challengers in a Democratic primary, including former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Comptroller Scott Stringer.

But another Quinnipiac poll found that de Blasio received negative approval rating for his handling of homelessness and corruption. The city's shelter population recently surpassed a record 60,000 people and de Blasio's fundraising is being probed by federal and state authorities.

►READ MORE: Here's What We Know About the Probe Into Mayor Bill de Blasio's Fundraising

The poll found that 96 percent of voters found homelessness to be a very serious or somewhat serious problem and 81 percent found political corruption to be a very or somewhat serious problem.

Voters disapprove by 50 to 30 percent of the way de Blasio is handling political corruption and believe, by a margin of 48 to 27 percent, that the mayor does favors for those who contribute to campaigns he is involved in.

De Blasio dismissed the polls after accepting 32BJ's endorsement, saying that polls go up and down.

"I've always been an insurgent. I've been an underdog in every election I've been in," said the mayor.

He also said he was not concerned about the affect of the federal and state probes on his re-election campaign.

"I sleep very well at night because we've done everything the right way," said the mayor.

As with his first campaign, de Blasio said the central issue of his re-election pitch will be the plight of working New Yorkers, including increasing affordable housing and continuing efforts to improve public schools.

As he has done since the election of Donald Trump as president, the mayor said New Yorkers were worried about their futures.

►READ MORE: New Yorkers Are Scared of You, De Blasio Tells Trump

"This has to be a city for everyone or it's not the New York City we know and love," said the mayor.