Torn between the two candidates in the race for Ohio House District 47, the United Auto Workers union has endorsed them both.
Allen Roy, a Republican, has taken on longtime Democratic politician Peter Ujvagi for the vacant seat. The UAW has endorsed Mr. Ujvagi in past races, said Kenny Smith, Community Action Program chairman for UAW Local 12. But the UAW likes Mr. Roy's stand against proposed House Bill 635, which would make Ohio a “Right to Work” state.
“We love 'em both,” said Mr. Smith. “May the best man win.”
“Either one would be a fine representative and would support our views in Columbus,” said Bruce Baumhower, president of the Toledo Area UAW CAP Council, the political arm of the five locals.
In Lucas, Wood, and Monroe counties, the UAW's five locals have about 24,000 members. In Lucas County, 18,000 members are registered to vote, Mr. Baumhower said.
Mr. Roy has lined up an endorsement from Teamsters Local 20 as well. In fact, the official announcement on the endorsements came yesterday at a news conference at the Teamsters Union Local 20 hall on South Hawley Street attended by Bill Lichtenwald, president of Local 20, and by Mr. Smith.
Mr. Roy emphasized his commitment to the residents of the 47th District, which has been redrawn to include East and South Toledo.
“The 47th is a labor-friendly district, and I will be a labor-friendly candidate,” he said. “Organized labor needs a friend to be a voice at the table.”
And that's why the Teamsters like him, Mr. Lichtenwald said before the conference.
“You've got to look at things with common sense,” he said. “It looks like the Republican governor will be re-elected, and with a Republican-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House, and we need all the friends we can get there. You've got to have friends in the Republican party.”
While union endorsements traditionally have gone to Democrats, that's changing. The Teamsters have endorsed four local Republican candidates: Judy Lanzinger (Democrat Charles Wittenberg was a co-endorsement), Lynn Olman, Mr. Roy, and Larry Kaczala.
Teamster Local 20 has about 8,100 members, 6,200 of whom are registered to vote, Mr. Lichtenwald said. The only other Teamsters local in Toledo, Local 1135, has about 90 members.
Another factor in the unions' endorsements of Mr. Roy is that his opponent, Mr. Ujvagi, runs a nonunion business, E&C Manufacturing Co. Inc.
“It is an issue,” Mr. Lichtenwald said. “Having a voice in the workplace is important. In a nonunion shop, they don't.”
Mr. Ujvagi said his employees haven't tried to organize. E&C employs fewer than 20 people, he said.
Beyond the union question, Mr. Ujvagi “never asked” for an endorsement, Mr. Lichtenwald said. The Teamsters have endorsed him in past races for City Council, of which Mr. Ujvagi is president.
Mr. Ujvagi said more than 25 unions and political organization at the local and state levels have endorsed him. Mr. Roy said he has labor endorsements from the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association and Toledo Police Command Officers Association.