SEIU Local 99 starting process to endorse District 1 candidate
Yana Gracile | March 24, 2014
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SEIU Local 99, one of the most powerful and influential unions in the LA Unified School District, is holding an exclusive forum next week for union members to meet the candidates running for the open District 1 board seat.
With more than 30,000 cafeteria workers, special education assistants, custodians, bus drivers and others, the union is offering its members an opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with the candidates in a relaxed setting before the more formal endorsement process begins.
The April 3 forum will be followed a week later by a town hall meeting where SEIU Local 99 members will be joined by members of other SEIU locals in the Los Angeles region to interview the candidates. At this meeting, SEIU members will vote on an endorsement recommendation.
Finally, the leaders of SEIU locals will vote on the recommendation and issue SEIU’s endorsement. The final endorsement announcement is usually made a few days after the town hall meeting.
LA Unified’s two other big union’s are also endorsing candidates for the race. The board of UTLA, the teachers union, is recommending to its membership endorsing three current or former teachers competing — Hattie McFrazier, Rachel Johnson and Sherlett Hendy-Newbill. The administrators union, AALA, has endorsed George McKenna.
Prior to the meetings, each candidate will be asked to complete a questionnaire that seeks to learn about the candidate’s experience, priorities, and understanding of the role that custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, special education assistants and other SEIU Local 99 support staff play in student learning.
“We seek a candidate who understands that learning happens inside and outside the classroom,” SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Courtni Pugh told LA School Report.
“We believe school board members must consider the needs of the whole child when making decisions about education,” she said. “They must ensure that students have the essential services and supports they need to succeed, including healthy meals, clean classrooms, academic assistance, safe and on time bus rides, and safe playgrounds.
“Many SEIU Local 99 members are also the parents of LAUSD students. As we consider this election, we will also look to support a candidate who understands that when parents have good jobs, children have the stability at home that they need to learn.”