The AFL-CIO Council, representing more than 100,000 workers, has endorsed County Executive Gorski for re-election.
The unanimous vote of 150 delegates does not bind the approximately 300 locals but many will separately support the Democratic candidate, union leaders say.
"The endorsement translates into votes," President John J. Kaczorowski said Friday. "A lot of family members who don't belong to unions are very supportive of Dennis. We've got telephones being worked by our members. Money is being donated."
Gorski accepted an invitation for an interview with the Council's Political Action Committee, but City Comptroller Joel A. Giambra, the Republican and Independence candidate, did not, Kaczorowski said.
Giambra responded, "I had the endorsement of the people in the Republican and Independence primaries Tuesday night, which is the most important endorsement for me at this point."
Gorski said, "I'm proud that the hard-working citizens in Erie County believe in me and this administration. One year ago I announced Vision 2000 to jump-start this community."
Gorski said state Labor Department statistics show jobs up since last year and the jobless rate down.
Both candidates announced other support.
Giambra said he has the endorsements of the 2,500-member Greater Buffalo Council of Realtors, the Women's Council of Realtors, Erie County Latino Voters Association, Local 17B of the Graphics Communications International and Transit Workers.
Gorski said he has the endorsement of the building trades unions, Buffalo firefighters, Police Benevolent Association, Communication Workers of America, Civil Service Employees Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as well as three dozen neighborhood, political and governmental groups.
Gorski can run on a record of serving the county well throughout his three terms, Kaczorowski said.
"We all talked to Dennis," he said. "We said go on your record, what you've done the last 12 years. He's lowered taxes, created jobs, gone out of state to get jobs. He hasn't done anything wrong. He's tried to make Erie County viable."
Unions are holding fund-raisers for Gorski, with 400 ironworkers and their families turning out a few days ago, Kaczorowski said.
The AFL-CIO PAC is headed by Michael Bogulski, president of the CSEA, which represents 4,500 white collar workers who accepted a four-year contract with the county with a 12 percent increase over four years.
It was unanimously approved by the 17 county legislators. "In making our endorsement, we collectively felt Mr. Gorski offered the best hope for what American workers want: to raise a family in dignity, buy a home and send their kids to school," said Bogulski.
Giambra said the endorsement followed the Council pattern.
"The AFL-CIO Council has been endorsing people for years, traditionally Democrats," he said.
Bogulski said he has taken note of Giambra's supporters.
"I personally was concerned when I saw that the vast majority of support for Mr. Giambra was from people with expensive suits," he said.
The AFL-CIO Council also endorsed incumbent county legislators with the exception of Dale Larson, R-Lancaster. Council support went to Kathy Konst whose name will appear for the 17th district on the Democratic and three other lines in the election ballot.
"We don't base endorsement on any one issue," said Bogulski. "We believe in good government."
The union leaders noted that unions making up the council represent, in part: auto workers, steelworkers, ironworkers, public service employees, textile workers, nurses, suburban teachers, plumbers, electrical workers, machinists and carpenters.