NJ-03: Was this labor union’s MacArthur endorsement timed to irk Murphy?

CLARK, N.J. — Maybe, Save Jerseyans. Just maybe.

The New Jersey State Building & Construction Trades Council endorsed Phil Murphy last year.

The powerful building trades union also backed Tom MacArthur in both of his previous House races in the 3rd Congressional District, so there’s nothing about the union’s Tuesday endorsement announcement of MacArthur that’s surprising in of itself. 

“We have endorsed Rep. MacArthur since his first election when he told us he would stand firm on building trades issues,” said William T. Mullen, the union’s president, in a press release. “Representative Tom MacArthur has stayed true to his word, he has been an unfailing public servant and an advocate for the men and women of the building trades in New Jersey and in Washington, DC. Rep. MacArthur has fought to protect prevailing wage mandates and to support the preservation of the Davis-Bacon Act. He is a strong supporter of project labor agreements. Rep. MacArthur has been accessible and responsive to all fifteen of our affiliated International Unions. He is for growth, a strong ally of ours on infrastructure and the effort to further New Jersey’s economic recovery and increase union construction jobs for our members.

What’s more interesting?

Mullen and Murphy publicly feuded earlier this year over Phil Murphy’s selection for head of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). It got nasty.

This year’s MacArthur endorsement comes just one day after Phil Murphy raised eyebrows by pledging to personally work to defeat every N.J. GOP House member including MacArthur (with whom Murphy has also publicly feuded – it’s not just about SALT either since MacArthur is considered a possible 2021 rival).

There is not a more loyal group than the Building Trades,” added Mullen (in bold – I didn’t add that). “When a candidate shakes our hand and asks for our support promising to fight for our building trades members and does just that, our loyalty must kick in, otherwise, we lose credibility. In a perfect world, we would agree on every single issue with our Representatives in Washington D.C., however, regardless of party affiliation – that never happens. Our days of voting along party lines are long a thing of the past.

“We support candidates that support the New Jersey Building Trades. Rep. Tom MacArthur has gained the confidence and respect of the leadership and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. He has EARNED OUR SUPPORT AND LOYALTY,” Mullen continued, leaving little ambiguity, at least in this blogger’s opinion, as to whom he was really addressing.