A local union representing 2,500 stevedores and Port of Baltimore workers has endorsed former Mayor Sheila Dixon in her race to reclaim office.

The International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333 announced its support Wednesday, representing the Democrat’s first labor endorsement during a turbulent time for port workers following the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

“Navigating the sudden and unexpected difficulties ahead for longshore workers at the Port of Baltimore will require an effective manager in City Hall,” union President Scott Cowan said in a statement, calling Dixon a leader experienced in navigating crises.

Dixon said the longshoremen’s tireless work and dedication has allowed the port to serve as economic engine for both the region and the nation.

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“They have always had our back, and now we must step up and have theirs,” she said in a statement.

She faces first-term Mayor Brandon Scott in the Democratic primary, which data suggests is a tight race. A recent survey from the Goucher College Poll and The Baltimore Banner found that 40% of likely primary voters support Scott, while 32% support Dixon.

Since the bridge collapsed and left the port largely inaccessible due to wreckage that will likely take months to remove, union members have faced uncertain finances.

Federal officials have created temporary channels into the port, which have helped to restore only a fraction of the pre-collapse commercial activity.

Scott has received most of this cycle’s union endorsements. State records published Tuesday show that unions representing firefighters, city operations staff, and service workers have donated $135,000 to a super PAC that favors Scott.

This story may be updated.

Emily Sullivan covers Baltimore City Hall. She joined the Banner after three years at WYPR, where she won multiple awards for her radio stories on city politics and culture. She previously reported for NPR’s national airwaves, focusing on business news and breaking news.

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