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Major trade union endorses McAuliffe in Virginia governor's race

Major trade union endorses McAuliffe in Virginia governor's race
© Greg Nash

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) scored the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) on Monday, marking a major union endorsement in his latest bid for the governor's mansion. 

The Hill is the first outlet to report on the endorsement. 

“Terry has a strong record of standing up for workers and he has the bold vision to push Virginia forward. He knows this is not a time to tinker around the edges, but a time to go big and be bold. Virginians can count on him to deliver real progress as the next governor," said Robert Hollingsworth, the executive director of AFSCME Council 20, which represents 9,000 public sector workers in the greater Washington, D.C. area. 

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AFSCME is the largest trade union of public employees in the United States, while its Council 20 is the largest in the D.C. metro area.

"Virginia made tremendous progress recently in finally passing a law allowing collective bargaining at the local level. Now we must build on that progress and make sure its benefits extend to state employees, get our minimum wage up to $15/hour by 2024, and rebuild our economy in a truly equitable way," McAuliffe said in a statement responding to the news. 

The former governor's call sets a goal for the minimum wage hike that's two years earlier than what state lawmakers approved in their gradual minimum wage hike last year.

McAuliffe proposed an economic plan last week that called for employers to make paid sick leave and family medical leave available on a statewide basis in addition to calling for a higher minimum wage. The former governor's plan also calls for federal dollars to be used to help families pay co-pays for childcare for families in need. 

Polls show McAuliffe leading the crowded field of Democrats, which also includes Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, former Virginia Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Del. Lee Carter.

Virginia's Democratic Party announced last week that the candidates are slated to participate in four televised debates, with the first taking place on April 6 on WTVR. The Democratic primary will take place on June 8.