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Rice picks up labor endorsements in 4th Congressional District

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s congressional campaign on Friday picked up its second large labor endorsement.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union announced that it would be backing Rice in the race to replace retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), joining the affiliated United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Together, the two unions represent about 40,000 workers in supermarkets, drug stores, and other retail, food and manufacturing centers throughout the New York region.

"Kathleen Rice has a distinguished record as a problem solver and an advocate for social justice,” said Stuart Applebaum, RWDSU’s president. “She’s a leader who understands the importance of protecting and creating good jobs.”

Rice, 48, of Garden City, announced her 4th district candidacy late last month, and has the backing of McCarthy and national Democrats. She may still face a primary, however, as Nassau Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, of Freeport, is raising money to see if he can afford to challenge her.

Nassau Republicans have yet to choose a candidate, while two party members, attorney Frank Scaturro and corporate search executive David Silverstein, have launched grassroots campaigns.

John R. Durso, president of RWDSU’s Local 338, said that Rice, over her eight years as district attorney, “has taken on unscrupulous employers to demand justice for workers who have been exploited. She has fought to protect working people, not just on the jobsite, but also on the streets of our County.”

UFCW, in endorsing Rice the day after she announced her run, cited her work combating drunken driving while in office.

Perhaps Rice’s most prominent investigation involving the retail industry began in late 2008, after a fatal “Black Friday” stampede at a Valley Stream Wal-Mart. In 2009, Rice declined to criminally prosecute the retail giant for its role in the tragedy, instead getting the company to agree to overhaul its statewide safety plan, pay out $400,000 to victims of the melee and donate $1.5 million to community programs.

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