June 3 2009 12:00 AM
Mayoral candidate and At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood announced at a press conference Wednesday that she has received the endorsements of four Lansing labor unions, despite Mayor Virg Bernero's recent lobbying for blue collar workers.

Leaders from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 665, Greater Lansing Building Trades, Teamsters Local 580 and Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Local 9 this afternoon announced support for Wood in front of City Hall.

"I've got high standards of friendship," said Ray Michaels, IBEW Local 665 president, "and if you're going to have my friendship you have got to be a friend of workers."

In comments seemingly directed toward Bernero, who was not present (though he did send Joe McDonald, a special assistant) and was not mentioned by name, Michaels said that union workers in Lansing didn't need any more lip service paid them.

"Talking doesn't put food on the table," he said.

Bernero has embarked on a national campaign to support American automakers over the last seven months, including debating pundits on cable news and lobbying lawmakers in Washington. On Monday, Bernero appeared with the Rev. Jesse Jackson at a rally at the Capitol in support of workers.

In what was Wood's first major press event since her announcement to run for mayor in February, she drew a crowd that seemed to outnumber those present at Bernero's reelection announcement last month.

Wood spoke to a large crowd on Wednesday that spilled across the plaza in front of City Hall and was flanked by labor leaders.

With the first round of endorsements announced, the next question is which candidate the Lansing Labor Council will endorse, if any. Some insiders had said that no union would risk retribution from Bernero by endorsing Wood, who is seen as an intense rival both in the mayor's race on City Council.

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