Philadelphia's Helen Gym Endorsed by BMWED

Published: Oct 21 2015 10:07AM

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division is proud to go on record and announce our endorsement of candidate, Helen Gym, who would go on to be elected to Philadelphia’s City Council-At-Large. We believe Helen is the most qualified candidate to tackle the problems plaguing Philadelphia’s school system. Helen shares many of the same sentiments as the BMWED and has proven herself to be a strong supporter of labor and fair wages. Helen has vowed to fight for Philadelphia’s working families and promises to make sure that everyone, especially the poor and working class, have equitable access to city services.

Our Union does not normally endorse candidates for local office. However, Helen Gym is clearly worthy of our support,” Jed Dodd, General Chairman of the Pennsylvania Federation BMWED-IBT, stated. “Now and then a person comes along who seeks political office who is different and wants to represent the people and not some rich patron, corporation or themselves. Helen Gym is one of those rare exceptions in politics today and we can rest assured that her integrity, grit and compassion will be at work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week representing the working families of Philadelphia and only the working families of Philadelphia.” Gym happily responded to the statement saying, “I’m incredibly honored to have the endorsement of an organization that values working families as much as I do, and pledge to continue fighting for schools, neighborhoods, and the values of working families throughout our great city.”

In April of 2015 Helen Gym marched in solidarity with the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way and other labor supporters during the MLK D.A.R.E Coalition, Fight for 15 “March to End Poverty.” She joined members of the BMWED on the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and marched with the mission of bringing attention to crucial issues such as deep poverty, the need for a livable wage, and the right to organize; the same rights that MLK fought for up until his death. Helen said, “I’m honored to stand in solidarity with members of the MLK D.A.R.E Coalition and the Fight for 15 movement to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. by bringing much-needed attention to the important issues he died fighting for.” Gym continued, “As a mother of three children in Philadelphia’s public schools and a former teacher, I’ve seen firsthand how issues of poverty and injustice in the workplace are harming our citizens of this great city. We need to work together to address these tough issues, and when I am elected to City Council I will continue to lend a voice to the struggle each and every day.” Helen has had a long career participating social activism and advocating on behalf of social justice, even when it meant a great personal risk to herself. Gym was one of many Philadelphians who helped cofound the advocacy organization Parents United for Public Education. She also co-founded the School Notebook which is an independent newspaper that has reported on the conditions of public schools for the last 20 years.

Considered an upset by many, Helen’s victory is a demonstration of a city clamoring for positive change. Though described as a newcomer, Helen has been a widely respected community activist and education advocate for years. Helen was among the top five Democratic vote-getters in the race for city-wide council seat. Gym narrowly beat her nearest competitor, Isaiah Thomas, who came in sixth by about 1,100 votes. Heading into November, the five winning Democrats and top five Republican finishers will vie to fill the seven atlarge Council seats.Two of the seven seats, however, are reserved for the minority party. Traditionally that’s been the Republicans, but no longer, thus the Democrats are expected to maintain five of the seven seats.

Helen Gym is the right candidate to get the job done in Philadelphia. The BMWED is proud to have contributed to such a passionate and dedicated campaign. It is with great enthusiasm to be able to state that the BMWED helped get a candidate elected who is poised to create and continue a positive legacy in the city of Philadelphia. With the numbers on her side, Helen thanked her supporters in a post on her Facebook saying, “I’m incredibly grateful to countless Philadelphian’s who supported an incredible campaign to uplift our communities and prioritize our youth. The real work begins today.”