The State Worker

Walker wins, but election sweeps in new leaders at SEIU 1000

The leader of California state government's largest union won re-election, but three of her top deputies were unseated by challengers in an election for Service Employees Union International Union Local 1000.

Yvonne Walker, president of the union since 2008, will get another term leading the union that represents 96,000 state workers, according to election results the union released on Tuesday.

She'll be joined by three vice presidents who were allied with one of Walker's challengers, Sophia Perkins.

Perkins on Tuesday declared a victory for her team, Members for Transparency and Change.

"We are claiming a victory for members across the state. We made a difference for state workers. Their voices were heard," she said.

Perkins' allies – Kevin Menager, Tony Owens and Anica Walls – won close elections for three SEIU 1000 vice president positions, defeating incumbents Margarita Maldonado, Tamekia Robinson and SEIU 1000 bargaining unit chairman Miguel Cordova.

Perkins' allies have been involved in labor politics over the course of their careers in state government, but wanted a change in tone for their own union. Perkins said they want to enact term limits for union leaders and rescind controversial stipends that SEIU awarded to its four executive leaders in 2016.

They'll take office as the union prepares for a Supreme Court decision that could deliver a serious blow to its finances and bargaining power. The court soon is expected to deliver a ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME, a case that would ban public sector unions from collecting so-called fair share fees from workers who receive the benefits of representation but don't want to pay full dues.

Walker alluded to the court decision in a statement she released congratulating Menager, Owens and Walls.

"Our work continues in the face of relentless attacks on working people and no matter who is at the helm, we remain committed to fulfilling our purpose statement, to give our members — and all Californians — the opportunity to have a good life, live in sustainable communities and enjoy the fruits of social, economic and environmental justice," Walker said.

She thanked Maldonado, Robinson and former SEIU Vice President Theresa Taylor "for their unmatched leadership and hard work." (Taylor, a member of the CalPERS Board of Administration, did not run for re-election.)

“I congratulate Kevin Menager, Anica Walls and Tony Owens on their election victory and look forward to working side-by-side on behalf of our 96,000 members," Walker said.