The State Worker

Yvonne Walker wins SEIU Local 1000 presidential re-election

Yvonne Walker, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1000
Yvonne Walker, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1000 Courtesy SEIU Local 1000

SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker and the slate of statewide union officers who ran with her handily won re-election this month, according to an unofficial count of ballots posted on the union’s website, although the number union members who voted was down 50 percent from the last election.

Walker won with 53 percent of 4,598 ballots counted for her statewide office. In the 2011 Local 1000 election, Walker was picked on 57 percent of ballots.

Local 1000 represents roughly 95,000 California state workers, of whom 55,839 are full members and eligible to vote.

Kevin Menager, who ran on the “Members for Transparency and Change” slate that opposed Walker and her administration, said he and his team are “deeply troubled that the current leadership inspires such a lack of engagement of the members that so few ballots were cast.”

In a telephone interview Thursday, Walker said the relatively small number of votes cast isn’t a sign that state workers are unhappy with her administration.

Unlike the last few union election cycles when more ballots were cast, this year Local 1000 is in the midst of labor peace. Pocketbook issues such as furloughs, minimum-wage threats and contentious contract talks that thrust the union into the news for several years aren’t on the agenda. It has 13 months left on a contract that gave members a modest pay raise last year and another one scheduled for July.

And the three vice presidents who ran with Walker also won: Theresa Taylor, secretary-treasurer (48 percent of ballots cast) and incumbents Tamekia Robinson, organizing and representation (47 percent) and Margarita Maldonado, bargaining (51 percent).

“Our elections are like any other elections,” she said. “Sometimes we have high turnout and sometimes we have low turnout. Our members did participate.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Theresa Taylor was an incumbent. She was a first-time candidate.