Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was endorsed for re-election Wednesday by the United Auto Workers, a union that clashed with Malloy when he was mayor of Stamford.

“Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman are fighting to protect the rights of  union members by respecting the collective bargaining process and advancing all workers’ rights by passing legislation like paid sick leave. Since becoming Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman have been responsive to the needs of our members and working people across the state,” Julie Kushner, the director of UAW’s Region 9A, said in a statement.

Her predecessor, Phil Wheeler, had a prickly relationship with Malloy that was defined during a labor battle in 1997, when UAW began representing city employees in Stamford.

“In my opinion, this guy has been totally anti-union,” Wheeler said in late 2005, when Malloy sought the AFL-CIO endorsement in advance of his first run for governor in 2006. “In my opinion, he’s got a lot of nerve coming here seeking out the endorsement of the labor movement.”

The talking points have shifted. The UAW’s endorsement Wednesday included this tribute from Shawn Tripp, the president of UAW Local 405:

“We need a governor who will continue to stand up for working class families – that’s Dan Malloy. I have seen my friends, neighbors and colleagues suffer when factories have closed in the past, but Dan Malloy has worked to make sure that Connecticut is growing jobs.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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