Labor Council’s Election Work Gets Results
The efforts of San Mateo County Central Labor Council union members to get out the vote paid off with positive results in many races November 4. Over 240 volunteers made phone calls, walked precincts, and talked to fellow union members to urge votes for labor-endorsed candidates and measures.
SMCLC Political Director Julie Lind reported that volunteers from 32 different locals worked 378 shifts to get out the vote. Voter turnout in San Mateo County was higher than the statewide average, but still low, at roughly 34 percent.
The San Mateo County Central Labor Council was successful in winning 74 percent of endorsed local ballot measures and candidate races. “Many friends and allies joined us in achieving a constructive outcome; together we made great positive strides,” said Shelley Kessler, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Council.
Some important victories included:
• The re-election of State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson and the election of Betty Yee to the State Controller’s office
• City Councilmember Mike O’Neill was reelected in Pacifica, as was Councilmember Ray Buenaventura in Daly City.
• Teamsters Local 856 member Rosa Acosta and former Planning Commissioner Rick Ochsenhirt won election to the South San Francisco Unified School District board.
• Rosie Tejada retained her position on the Jefferson Union High School District board, and teacher Nick Occhipinti was elected to join her.
• Every bond measure that was endorsed was successful, including Measure H. The $388 million San Mateo County Community College Bond will fund upgrades to the District’s campuses, with construction work done under a Project Labor Agreement with the SM Building Trades Council.
Results were mixed in some of the other races. In Pacifica, labor’s second endorsed candidate, School Board member Eric Ruchames, missed being elected by 537 votes. In the South San Francisco Unified School District, the Labor Council’s third endorsed candidate, incumbent Philip Weise, finished just 377 votes shy of third place finisher Patrick Lucy.
In East Palo Alto, incumbent Ruben Abrica was re-elected with support from the Labor Council. In Menlo Park, Labor Council endorsed Councilmembers Richard Cline and Kirsten Keith were re-elected but former Councilmember Kelly Fergusson was not.
In the Sequoia Healthcare District, current Directors Arthur Faro and Jerry Shefren were endorsed by the Labor Council and were re-elected. Unfortunately Director Jack Hickey, who has called for dissolution of the Health Care District and was strongly opposed by Labor, was also re-elected
“The Labor Council thanks all who made this possible, and congratulates each candidate, whether they won or lost. We truly appreciate community members who make the difficult decision to seek elected office in order to give back to the community,” said Kessler. “We stand in solidarity as the effort continues each day to defend the quality of life for working people, regardless of whether or not they belong to unions. We thank those political allies who work to ensure that our community provides, to all who live and work here, the benefits of a county that values these standards as the benchmark of civility.”
Many unions adopted phone banks or precinct walks and turned out members for get-out-the-vote efforts.