September 27, 2013

SEIU 503 (OR) Activists Send Letter To Washington Locals Urging Endorsement of Socialist Kshama Sawant

Fourteen Rank And File elected leaders of SEIU 503 (OR) both past and present have signed onto a letter urging the Washington SEIU locals and the Washington SEIU State Council to endorse and work for Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant for Seattle City Council Position 2.

Letters and e-mails went out to officers, leaders and rank and file activists in SEIU locals 6, 775NW and 1199NW, 925. There were a significant number of former and current members of the SEIU 503 CAPE Council who signed the letter.  This is the union body which interviews and recommends endorsements of political candidates.

The timing was just right as about the same time as the message from Oregon arrived Sawant was featured as the cover story of The Stranger which has a circulation of over 100,000 people in Seattle.  There are actually two articles.  One article targets her opponent and 16 year incumbent, Richard Conlin as having an agenda which “largely reflects the city’s wealthiest interests”.  The other article describes why Kshama Sawant is “the real deal”. The importance of this article for the unionists at the receiving end of their Oregon brothers and sisters petition is that it states that the city council needs at least one member who represents the working people of Seattle.

In addition the Minnesota SEIU State Council has endorsed Ty Moore who is the Socialist Alternative candidate for the Minneapolis State Council.

This is the text of letter from Oregon SEIU members:

Greetings From Rank And File Elected Leaders Of SEIU 503 (OR)

We are delighted to see the opportunity that our SEIU brothers and sisters in Washington have in the campaign of Kshama Sawant for Seattle City Council Position 2. While we are all struggling to hold politicians accountable to working families we finally see a candidate who represents our vision of "justice, economic fairness, and the dignity and worth of workers", per our union's mission statement. Best of all she understands like SEIU activists that it requires  building a movement to make social change. When she received 35% of the vote in a three person primary it was clear that she is a viable candidate.
Then it was encouraging when the SEIU State Council in Minnesota endorsed Ty Moore also a member of Socialist Alternative for the Minneapolis City Council saying he was the best candidate they had interviewed.

Some of us have been to Seattle to support the Fast Food Workers Strike for $15/Hour Minimum Wage And The Right To Unionize Without Retaliation.  Those of us who went had an opportunity to talk with Kshama Sawant and also see her opponent Richard Conlin side by side. This is a Democrat who is against the $15/hour minimum wage, the only vote on the Seattle City Council against paid sick leave and against expanding mass transit. We hope you will take this opportunity to endorse the candidate that represents the SEIU vision. We are so tired of politicians who tell us one thing and answer only to their corporate donors after they are elected. Sawant continues to receive endorsements from union locals. Most recently the American Postal Workers Union was added to AFSCME, AFT, CWA, and IBEW.

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