The AFL-CIO announced today it is backing Senate Deputy Minority Leader Neil Breslin for re-election, an unusually early move move that party officials hope could give their a candidate financial and organizational boost.

“Working men and women in the Capital District know that they can count on Neil Breslin to do what’s right for them, even if it’s not the politically convenient thing to do. He has been a real friend to labor and has remained true to the values we hold dear at a time when others have chosen to attack them. That’s why I’m proud that the Labor Movement is standing with Senator Breslin, and I look forward to continuing to work with him during the campaign and when he is reelected to the State Senate.”

The endorsement from the union is not wholly unsurprising for Breslin, given the conference’s efforts to court labor in the last year.

But the backing from the organization could fill the void left by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said he would endorse lawmakers of either party on a “case-by-case” basis later this year.

Breslin is facing a stiff challenge from County Legislator Shawn Morse in a redrawn district that for the first time does not lie solely within Albany County. Morse is well-funded, with the help of the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway team of four Democrats who have given more than $20,000 to the challenger’s cause.

Morse in a recent interview on Capital Tonight would not say if he plans to join the IDC if elected.

But while the AFL-CIO’s cash could help Democratic candidates, it is the union’s organizational support that minority conference is hoping will make the difference. The union has more than 34,000 members in the redrawn Breslin district alone.