A union and the real-estate lobby will screen mayoral candidates, together
32BJ SEIU, the union representing doormen and service workers, is teaming up a group it has often feuded with, the Real Estate Board of New York, to screen mayoral candidates.
Details of the closed-press event, at which members of both groups will get to ask the candidates questions, were provided by an organizer.
The screenings start this Wednesday at the Sheraton, with John Liu, Bill Thompson and BIll de Blasio fielding questions one at a time.
The following day, Christine Quinn and Sal Albanese will take their turn.
Next month, 32BJ and REBNY will screen the Republican mayoral candidates.
32BJ is a private-sector union with lots of clout. Bloomberg worked hard to earn its support, even doing a "walk a day in their shoes" event when he was campaigning in 2009. The union wound up endorsing Bloomberg that year.
REBNY doesn't directly endorse candidates, but many of its members are donors. For years, REBNY members provided crucial help to Republicans in the State Senate in their efforts to hold on the majority.
UPDATE: Rob Speyer, chairman of REBNY, said in a statement, "Early on we realized that the interests of REBNY and 32BJ actually align in more ways than not. Fiscal policy, affordable housing, immigration and job creation are all critical to both of our memberships, so it made perfect sense to collaborate on these meetings and hear collectively about the candidates' visions for the future of New York City."
UPDATE: Hector Figuerora, president of 32BJ SEIU told me there's a number of real estate issues he is interested in hearing about from the candidates. He also said, "We certainly look forward to a mayor who can figure out a way to give our members raises" and "our members expect raises retroactively."
Here's a document outline the "Topical Areas to be covered" in the mayoral screening tomorrow.