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Labor unions choose sides in Berman-Sherman congressional race

January 11, 2012 |  6:02 pm

Howard Berman and Brad Sherman
Organized labor is divided when it comes to having to choose between two of its longtime allies, Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, who are competing for the same newly drawn San Fernando Valley congressional  district seat.

On Wednesday, Berman scored the endorsement of Service Employees International Union California, which represents some 700,000 janitors, social and healthcare workers, and school, city, county and state employees. 

Earlier, Berman had  announced backing from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States.

In the Sherman column are seven other labor groups, including the United Steelworkers Union, which claims 1.2 million active or retired workers in the steel, aluminum, paper and forestry, oil refinery and other industries.  Sherman also is endorsed by  the California Assn. of Professional Employees, International Assn. of Machinists District Lodge 725, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Ironworkers Union Local 433, Joint Council of Teamsters District 42 and Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters.

Labor support is highly sought after in many hard-fought Democratic campaigns because unions can contribute campaign cash or spend independently to tout endorsed candidates to their members and can rally workers to walk precincts and make phone calls on behalf of endorsed candidates.

The two congressional veterans, both liberals with similar views on some key issues, are clashing in what is widely expected to be one of the most expensive House races in history.  Both of their homes were drawn into the new 30th Congressional District last year during the once-a-decade redistricting after each census.


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Photo: Reps. Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman at a recent candidates forum.

Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times