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Labor groups split on support for McKenna and Johnson in runoff

LA School Report | June 16, 2014

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Alex Johnson and George McKenna LAUSD election runoff

Alex Johnson (left), George McKenna (right)

The battle for LA Unified’s open District 1 board seat is playing out not only among voters in the district, but also within the city’s labor unions.

Both candidates in the Aug. 12 runoff, George McKenna and Alex Johnson, have drawn considerable labor support. But a substantial split suggests that this is a typical election pitting labors groups that favor reform policies against the teachers union.

McKenna, the former administrator, would appear to have an advantage within the LA Unified family. He has been endorsed by two of the district’s three major labor partners — the teachers, UTLA; and the school administrators, AALA.

Johnson, an aide to LA Country Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, has the support of the third, SEIU Local 99, as well as endorsements from 15 other locals, representing a variety of trades, including fire fighters, teamsters and probation officers.

A bigger prize awaits, if it is offered. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, the umbrella organization for more than 300 locals, representing about 600,000 workers, has scheduled an endorsement committee meeting for July 10 to determine which of the candidates the union might endorse.

And might, is the key word.

The AFL-CIO withheld endorsing anyone in the primary, and any recommendation from the committee would go before the membership on July 21.

“It’s not common for the delegates to overrule the decision,” said Rusty Hicks, the group’s political director. “But it can.”


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