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Elizabeth Warren and the unions

An hour before he was scheduled to meet with US Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren at the State House on Thursday morning, Gov. Deval Patrick swung through the offices of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 in Dorchester.

“We have work still to do,” Patrick said, referring to the transportation reform debate expected to occur next year, including “how to pay for it.”

“But I want to thank you for what you did, to give us the opportunity to do that work with the right people in office,” Patrick told the crowd, which had gathered for a post-election briefing. “You are – you are a source of power. You are a source of power. And I want you to know I respect that power.”

In Jan. 2010, 46 percent of union households supported Martha Coakley, according to an AFL-CIO poll that showed Scott Brown earning a few percentage points more. Massachusetts AFL-CIO's Steven Tolman pegs early estimates at 61 percent voting for Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday.

“Sometimes we’d have to push each other, but we were all in it together and we knew it,” Tolman said.

Tolman’s union made phone calls and dropped leaflets for Warren. “What it is, this wasn’t created in September,” Tolman said. “We started working this on Labor Day last year.”