LIMA — Once again, organized labor is touting its choice for who should be mayor of Lima.
Adding onto an announcement made in April, area unions, including the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Service Technicians Local 776 and the United Auto Workers Local 1219, among others, reiterated their endorsement for incumbent Mayor David Berger at a media conference held Wednesday at the Berger campaign headquarters.
Berger was described as a longtime friend to organized labor, with some union representatives crediting him for the continued existence of the Lima refinery and its sales to Valero and Husky Energy.
“When Valero was selling the refinery to Husky, Dave took a task force, and I was a part of that, to Washington to make sure the sale went through, since there were a lot of hoops [to jump through] since it was a foreign company,” UA Local 776 Business Manager Mike Knisley said. “We’ve really benefitted from him, with millions of dollars coming from him jumping in.”
Sharing his own family history as it relates to unions, with his father working as a union electrician in Mansfield, Berger emphasized the benefits that union membership can bring.
“Unions matter to families, they matter to communities,” he said. “The cure for poverty is good paying jobs with benefits, and we have to be focused on making sure that’s what our priority is.”
Mayoral candidate Keith Cheney expressed surprise that unions had not met with him before making their endorsement, also saying that, while union leadership has chosen its candidate, not every member of those unions feels the same way.
“I’m quite proud to say that I have a number of individuals currently in unions who are supporting my candidacy,” he said. “I do find it amazing that [unions] endorse David Berger when he, in fact, continues to hire non-union temporary staff to work for the city, whether it was hiring a temporary detective, and those people have a union, or hiring for other city departments.”