Barbara Torres, president of SEIU Local 99, the local school workers union with 45,000 members, is raising alarms within the union over her intention to run for an LA Unified school board seat.
The potential conflict is over her role as a member of the union’s bargaining committee, which is negotiating a new labor contract with the district and school board, while she is simultaneously launching a campaign against Bennett Kayser in the 2015 race for the board’s District 5 seat.
“We’re going to launch an investigation and ask our lawyers to find out if this is even allowed,” Courtni Pugh, the union’s executive director told LA School Report. “This is unchartered territory for us and something we’ve never dealt with before, so we just don’t know.”
“But I can assure you,” she added, “that we aim for the highest ethical and transparent behavior at every level of the local in order to serve the members of Local 99.”
Making this more difficult, Pugh said, is that Local 99 has not received formal notification of Torres’ candidacy. As of today, Torres remains an official candidate in the race, according to the City Ethics Commission.
Repeated efforts over several weeks to reach Torres and her campaign manager Lewis Myers of Casitas Strategic for comment have gone unanswered.