By: Bobby Allyn

March 13, 2014

A Nashville union representing thousands of workers endorsed Jeff Yarbro on Wednesday in one of the most highly anticipated state Senate races.

The Nashville Building and Construction Trades Council, representing 17 trade councils including roofers, carpenters and cement masons, threw their support behind Yarbro, who is vying for Senate District 21. The seat will be vacated by Sen. Douglas Henry, who plans to retire after more than four decades in office.

The endorsement follows news last month that Mary Mancini, Yarbro’s opponent, received the backing of the Service Employees International Union.

Observers say progressive activist Mancini and attorney Yarbro have both been working hard to court the union vote in the district, which includes West End, Sylvan Park and 12 South.

Yarbro, who vied for the seat in 2010 and narrowly lost, gained the primary endorsement of the 17 federated unions.

The following session, according to his campaign, the state Senate “saw attacks on prevailing wages, local government, and organizing rights.”

If elected, Yarbro says he won’t disappoint organized labor.

“It’s clear that the legislature is neglecting the real problems faced by Tennesseans struggling just to get by and get ahead,” Yarbro said in a statement following the builder union’s endorsement. “We’re going to have to build a big and engaged coalition to turn the tide, and that’s why I’m so encouraged to receive the support of all 17 of the Building Trades and the UFCW.”

A Republican has not yet declared to run in the solidly Democratic district.

In November, Metro Councilman Jason Holleman dropped out of the race to focus on his family.

The primary for the race will be held on August 7th.