SEIU Local 99, one of LA Unified’s largest and most powerful labor partners, announced today it is backing all of the incumbents running for a district school board seat in 2015.
After a town hall meeting for their members, the union representing nearly 40,000 cafeteria workers, bus drivers and special education assistance, among others, made the decision to support George McKenna in District 1, Tamar Galatzan in 3 and Bennett Kayser in 5.
Earlier this month SEIU announced plans to “work tirelessly” on behalf of school board President Richard Vladovic in his bid for a third term to represent District 7.
The union did not say how much financial support it would provide for the candidates it is endorsing.
“They demonstrate an understanding of the connection between economic and educational justice,” Scott Washburn, SEIU Local 99’s Interim Executive Director, said of the incumbents, adding, “As parents of students in their schools, Local 99 members serve as both workers and consumers. Earning a living wage creates added stability in the home and increases opportunities for academic growth and success.”
Backing Galatzan and Kayser is a turnabout for the union. It’s the first time it is backing either candidate, and in Kayser’s case, it’s a complete reversal. SEIU spent a lot of money trying to defeat him the last time he ran.
In statement today, the union explained its support for Galatzan, saying she “has demonstrated a commitment to the children, families and workers of LAUSD, as demonstrated by her support for Breakfast in the Classroom, the LCFF Equity Index and the adoption of the historic $15 minimum wage for LAUSD employees”
“I’m honored and gratified by the support of of the hard-working employees of SEIU,” Galatzan told LA School Report. “I look forward to working with them on behalf of our students.
As for Kayser, the union said he has been “a champion for early education, securing funding that will result in expanded educational opportunities for tens of thousands of children and has been a strong voice for living wages.”
McKenna is running unopposed, so it’s unclear what SEIU’s endorsement will mean for his campaign, but the union is throwing its support behind him anyway.
“In the past few months, George McKenna has already shown himself to be a willing partner in our efforts to increase opportunities for kids and families,” the union wrote.
Election day is March 3.