Pols on the Streets

by Rory G. McGlasson

It is a well known fact this city is one of the last big union towns in America. Its strong labor movement, with active union memberships, play a big part in how Philadelphia does its business.

Not all unions flexed their political muscle in the May Primary. B, those who did, made the difference for those they supported, whether they were endorsed or unendorsed candidates.

An example of union backing was that put behind the campaign of Lisette Shirdan-Harris. She had the support of LDC, led by Sam Staten, Sr., and many of the Building Trades Union locals as well. She was an unknown candidate who came in a winner.
What would her numbers have looked like without the backing of LDC Local 332?
“She would have lost absolutely,” said Staten Sr. the union’s president. “She would have had no chance of winning. She wasn’t known and she was new to the field.”

Other primary winners showing union support were Leon Tucker, Ann Butchart, and Charles Cunningham. They joined Judges Walter Olszewski, Glenn Bronson, Susan Schulman and Frank Palumbo in the victory column.

“This past Primary was an indication of the importance of labor and its endorsements,” added Staten Sr. “The party endorsed eight people. They brought in four and the other four were labor endorsements.”

The Staten’s were visible with Shirdin-Harris throughout her campaign. They made the political rounds side-by side at campaign functions. On Election DA, the union put money on the street and made sure their union members understood a victory for Harris, the union’s attorney, was a victory for the union.

Another attorney, Ira Shrager, wasn’t so lucky in his run for Common Pleas Court even though he too had the backing of the unions.

Shrager received union endorsements left, right, and center. The powerful IBEW Local 98 supported him and ran a strong street campaign for Ira. He also had the endorsements the AFL-CIO, Building Trades, ILA Local 1291, Local Laborers 332, The Regional Carpenters Union, the Fraternal Order of Police and District Council 47.
They came close, but couldn’t deliver for him over his poor ballot position.

Larry Dunn, President of the Carpenters Metropolitan Regional Council of Philadelphia said his union was happy with their endorsed candidates.

“We’re satisfied, not 100%, but we are better than we were two years ago,” said Dunn. “We made a couple of exceptions with who we supported, but we tried following the Building Trades and the City Committee endorsements for the most part.”

“We pushed Walter Olszweski the most,” he said. “He was our number one priority. We also backed Mike Sullivan for Traffic Court, and Tucker, Shirdin-Harris, and Butchart.” The Carpenters gave Butchart the extra push she needed.

Traffic Court Candidate, and ward leader, Mike Sullivan received backing from the IBEW Local 98, ALF-CIO, the Carpenters Union and the Building Trades.
That added to his support by many of the city’s ward leaders pushed his voter total over that reached by both Rep. Michael Horsey and John Furey.

In the race for the three Municipal Court seats Judge Brad Moss was a union favorite and won in a landslide. Nazario Jimenez, a well backed union candidate fell, again due to a poor ballot position. Backed by by ILA Local 1291, AFL-CIO, International Laborers Local 332, the FOP and District Council 47, Jimenez drew an impressive vote, but was short.

In that tight race, David Shuter and Karen Simmons won with the support of some of the Unions.

Building Trades, AFL-CIO

DA: Lynne Abraham, City Controller: Alan Butkovitz, State Senate: LeAnna Washington, Common Pleas: Joyce Eubanks, Lisette Shirdan-Harris, Christian Clemente, Ellen Green-Ceisler, Ira Shrager, Walt Olszewski, Linda Carpenter, Joe O’Neill, Glenn Bronson, Marvin Williams and Leon Tucker.
Municipal Court: Brad Moss, Karen Simmons, David Shuter and Nazario Jimenez, Traffic Court: Michael Sullivan

ILA Local 1291

DA: Lynne Abraham, City Controller: Alan Butkovitz; Common Pleas: Glenn Bronson, Lisette Shirdin Harris, Walter Olseweski, Thomas Martin, Frank Palumbo, Ira Shrager, Susan Schulman, Leon Tucker, Marvin Williams. Municipal Court; Nazario Jimenez, Karen Simmons, Traffic Court: Mike Sullivan.
Transportation Workers Union Local 234
For District Attorney: Seth Williams, City Controller: Alan Butkovitz, State Senate: LeAnna Washington, Judge of Court of Common Pleas: Marilyn Heffley, Marvin Williams, Walter Olszewski, Sharon Williams-Losier, and Lisette Shirdan-Harris, Judge of Municipal Court: Brad Moss. Traffic Court: Mike Sullivan.
Laborers District

Council 332

DA: Lynne Abraham, City Controller: TBA, State Senate: LeAnna Washington. Common Pleas: Lisette Shirdin-Harris, Susan Schulman, Frank Palumbo, Ira Shrager. Municipal Court: Nazario Jimenez, Traffic Court: Michael Sullivan.


DA: Seth Williams, City Controller: Alan Butkovitz, State Senate: No endorsement, Common Pleas: Glenn Bronson, Charles Cunningham, Lisette Shirdin-Harris, Marilyn Heffley, Walter Olszewski, Ira Shrager, Susan Schulman, Leon Tucker. Municipal Court: Brad Moss, Beverly Muldrow, Nazario Jimenez, Traffic Court: Mike Horsey

District Council 47

DA: Seth Williams, City Controller: Alan Butkovitz, State Senate: LeAnna Washington, Common Pleas: Leon Tucker, Marvin Williams, Susan Schulman, Joyce Eubanks, Ellen Green-Ceisler, Glenn Bronson, Meredith Segal Di Claudio, Sharon Losier and Ira Shrager.

Municipal Court: Nazario Jimenez, Traffic Court: John Furey. (More to follow).
Philadelphia Gas Works, DA: Lynne Abraham.
Wynder On the Go

Ralph Wynder, leader of the 38th Ward Democratic Executive Committee, also came in with a whopping seven of eight winning judges with his ward results. In counting the champs last week, Joe Shaheeli didn’t credit three of the judges which would have placed the ward in the top nine.