The State Worker

SEIU Local 1000 delays vote on officers’ stipends

A controversial SEIU Local 1000 officer-stipend plan remains in limbo after a scheduled vote on the idea was postponed.

The local’s leadership council planned to take up the proposal during a two-day, members-only meeting at the Holiday Inn in downtown Sacramento last weekend. But according to sources on both sides of the stipend issue, debate and procedural maneuvering started Sunday and dragged through the day until it was too late to take a vote.

Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker told the council she would soon announce a date and location for a special session to continue the stipend discussion and vote, likely within the next few weeks.

One of the opponents, Kevin Menager, said that opinions the council were split into three roughly equal camps.

“We concluded that about a third of the Council was in support of the stipends, a third were opposed, and the final third were unknown to us,” said Menager, who ran for union office on a slate opposed to Walker earlier this year. Most of the undecideds, he said, were new activists on the 64-member council, which includes the executives whose stipends were on the agenda.

The proposal, supported by Walker, would pay five- and six-figure stipends to its executive officers based on the difference of their union-reimbursed salaries and the salary of the highest job classification represented by the union, plus 5 percent for vice presidents and 10 percent for the president.

Walker says that that stipends represent the value and demands of executive work for a union that represents 95,000 workers, while keeping the extra pay calibrated to what represented employees earn. Opponents say stipends reverse the local’s commitment to a member-sensitive organization and would distance top-level officials from the employees they lead.

$345,866 Total of proposed annual stipends for SEIU Local 1000 executives.

According to the local’s estimates, the annual stipends for the four officers would total $345,866. Walker would receive a union stipend of $102,785, according to an email sent to members. The union would pay the stipends on top of the officers’ state salaries.

The amount would vary based on how much the officers earn each year and how much the highest-paid classification earns.