Hector Figueroa, president of the New York City-based union 32BJ SEIU, will be aiming to send a not-so-subtle message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo tomorrow when he travels to Washington, D.C. Thursday to introduce – and heap praise on – one of the governor’s potential 2016 Democratic presidential primary rivals: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

O’Malley, whose second term ends in January 2015, will be speaking at the Center for American Progress Action Fund “about what states can do to increase mobility, strengthen the middle class, and get the country back on track to broadly shared prosperity,” according to an advisory for the event.

A source close to Figueroa said the union leader’s appearance at the speech is intended to tweak Cuomo, who has been under pressure from the left on a host of issues for some time now – the latest of which is campaign finance reform, which many liberals see as a litmus test for their support in 2016.

O’Malley signed a campaign finance reform bill into law earlier this year, but advocates are hoping Cuomo goes a step further by establishing a publicly financed campaign system at the state level that’s modeled on what already exists in New York City.

Cuomo has had a rocky relationship with the labor community – especially public employees unions - since he took office in January 2011, while O’Malley has gone to great lengths to position himself as the union-friendly, progressive standard-bearer for 2016.

It’s also worth noting that O’Malley, former head of the Democratic Governors Association and now finance chair, has acknowledged that he is indeed eyeing a potential White House run and is one of the few Democrats openly discussing that possibility. Cuomo, on the other hand, routinely refuses to even discuss the possibility that he might be aiming higher at some point in the future.

Of course both governors – not to mention any other Democrat mentioned as a possible 2016 contender – would be dramatically overshadowed if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decides to get into the race.

UPDATE: Elaine Kim, communications director for 32BJ, sent the following statement:

“This event was scheduled months ago and is a forum for advancing progressive ideas; Maryland was chosen because we have thousands of members in the state and Maryland has served as an important incubator for progressive policies.”

“The point of the event on Thursday is to further explore how states are often laboratories for public policy that positively impacts working people and their communities. We would be thrilled if the leadership in all the states in which we have members took the lessons in this report to heart and brought them to reality.”