San Leandro council candidate Bryan Azevedo holds a
union placard, while his opponent Ed Hernandez sits.

Josie Camacho, the leader of the powerful Alameda Labor Council, asked fellow union members to rise in support of San Leandro’s proposed minimum wage increase during a council meeting last week.

Dozens of supporters for raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2020 rose to their feet and held placards in favor of the ordinance, which was later approved that night.

At the same time, San Leandro City Council candidate Bryan Azevedo, a member of the sheet metal workers union, noticed his opponent Planning Commissioner Ed Hernandez seated at the back of the council chambers, huddled with his laptop.

“Look, he’s not even standing up,” Azevedo told me. “My opponent didn’t even say anything about Labor Day, either,” which was the day before.

Azevedo is a first-time candidate for the District 2 seat being vacated by termed out Councilmember Ursula Reed. He is also strongly backed by labor and always peppers his campaign rhetoric with strong support for union families.

The brief scene, however, portends for a contentious council race this fall, something that is somewhat foreign to San Leandro council races over the past few years.

Hernandez, however, declined to be baited by his opponent, saying, “As the son of a hard-working Teamster when I was growing up, I have the utmost respect for labor organizations.”

In an interview last month, Hernandez said he supports the council’s minimum wage ordinance.