Category Archives: SEIU Local 500

Fed-Up SEIU Launches “Take a Hike Mike” Website and Super PAC

By Adam Pagnucco.

SEIU Local 500 launched its anti-Mike Miller campaign on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis today.  Attending the rally in addition to SEIU members were former Delegate Jill Carter, who is running for Senate in the district of the recently resigned Nathaniel Oaks; Sheldon Laskin, who is running for Senate against incumbent Bobby Zirkin; Mila Johns, who is running for Delegate in District 18; and of course Miller’s mortal enemy, Comptroller Peter Franchot.  Daily Record reporter Bryan Sears streamed video of the event on Facebook.  The union announced the launch of a new anti-Miller super PAC and a “Take a Hike Mike” website which we screen shot below.

Share

SEIU Local 500 Prepares for War on Mike Miller

By Adam Pagnucco.

SEIU Local 500, one of the largest unions in Maryland, has scheduled an event on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis next week at which it intends to announce “plans to bring about the end of Mike Miller’s tenure as President of the Senate.”

SEIU Local 500 had over 8,000 members and a $5.8 million budget in the year ended 9/30/17.  Its biggest categories of membership are MCPS support staff, childcare workers and adjunct professors.  Its endorsement is highly valued by MoCo politicians and it has a respected political program.  As it has grown over the years, it has become more of a statewide organization in contrast to its roots as a MoCo public employees union.  It has had great success organizing adjunct professors and its top state legislative priority in recent years has been a bill allowing community college employees the right to organize.  (Currently, collective bargaining is prohibited at most Maryland community colleges.)  The bill has died several years in a row and most recently was withdrawn by its Senate sponsor, Guy Guzzone (D-13).

The union blames Mike Miller for not only killing this bill but also blocking other progressive legislation over the years.  Two other sore spots for progressives are the General Assembly sexual harassment bill, which passed the House on a 138-0 vote but has not moved in the Senate, and the $15 minimum wage bill, which has not moved in either chamber.  Also, progressives have not forgotten Miller’s support for the Roger Taney statue on the statehouse grounds.  To be fair, other liberal priorities in the past like marriage equality, the abolition of the death penalty, gun control, the DREAM Act and sick leave could not have passed without Miller’s support – or at least his acceptance.

This conflict has been brewing for years but now apparently SEIU Local 500 is ready to call the question.  The union has posted a Facebook event for next Monday titled, “On Sine Die, Miller Time is Up” on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis.  The union wrote, “Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. has served as President of the Maryland State Senate since 1987. His page on the General Assembly website boasts that he is the “Longest Serving Maryland Senate President and Longest Serving President of the Senate in the United States.” His name is on the Senate Office Building. Senate committee chairpersons serve at his pleasure. Because no bill reaches the Senate floor without his approval, Miller obstructs legislation that would benefit the hardest working and suffering Marylanders. Join SEIU Local 500 for the announcement of plans to bring about the end of Mike Miller’s tenure as President of the Senate.”

We don’t know exactly what the union is planning and will find out along with the rest of the world next week.  But in the meantime, it’s worth pondering this advice from famous philosopher Omar Little.  “You come at the king, you best not miss.”

Share

SEIU Local 500 Endorses Ana Sol Gutierrez

By Adam Pagnucco.

SEIU Local 500, which represents MCPS support staff, adjunct college professors, child care employees and other members, has endorsed Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez for the open Council District 1 seat.  Gutierrez has also been endorsed by Progressive Maryland, Casa in Action and MCEA.  Last week, she requested $10,290 in matching funds from the state under public financing, which – if she gets them – will give her over $30,000 in the bank.

We reprint Local 500’s press release below.

*****

For Immediate Release

March 15, 2018

Contact: Christopher Honey

honeyc@seiu500.org

SEIU Local 500 endorses Ana Sol Gutierrez for Montgomery County Council District 1

(Gaithersburg, MD) SEIU Local 500, the largest union local in Montgomery County, announced it was putting its full support behind Ana Sol Gutierrez for the Montgomery County Council District 1. The District 1 seat is open because incumbent Count Councilmember Roger Berliner is running for County Executive.

“Ana has a strong background in education and understands the unique challenges and opportunities families face in Montgomery County. She has always been an advocate for those left behind in Montgomery County. She has been a leader on issues like affordable housing and working to close the achievement in our schools,” said Merle Cuttitta, President of SEIU Local 500.

President Cuttitta added, “She’s also a member of SEIU Local 500 – she was a union adjunct at George Washington University!”

SEIU Local 500 represents over 20,000 workers across the region, including supporting services professionals in Montgomery County Public Schools, adjunct faculty at Montgomery College and Maryland family childcare providers.

Share

SEIU Local 500 To Endorse Five in MoCo Races

By Adam Pagnucco.

SEIU Local 500, one of the largest unions in Maryland, will be endorsing five candidates in MoCo races soon.  The local’s membership of more than 8,000 is concentrated among MCPS support staff, adjunct college faculty and child care workers.  It has one of the most aggressive political operations in the state and its endorsement is highly valued in MoCo.

At this time, the local will be endorsing:

Marc Elrich for County Executive

Gabe Albornoz, Ashwani Jain and Will Jawando for Council At-Large

Ben Shnider for Council District 3

The union has not decided on an endorsement yet in Council District 1 and may announce one later.  It has postponed endorsement decisions for incumbent Council Members outside District 3 pending further actions of the council.  Since MCPS accounts for a significant portion of the local’s membership, budget decisions on the schools may impact the union’s thinking.

Congratulations to the endorsees.  To be continued!

Share

SEIU Local 500 Warns Incumbents

By Adam Pagnucco.

SEIU Local 500, perhaps the fastest-growing large union in Maryland, has endorsed Senate candidate Dana Beyer and House candidates Emily Shetty and Mila Johns in District 18 and House candidate Gabe Acevero in District 39.  But the bigger news is their warning to state-level incumbents: we will not endorse any of you until after the legislative session.  It’s a ballsy move designed to maximize their leverage over significant bills.  Incumbents beware!

We reprint Local 500’s press release below.

*****

For Immediate Release

January 26, 2018

Contact: Christopher Honey

honeyc@seiu500.org

SEIU Local 500 endorses Dana Beyer for Maryland State Senate District 18

Union makes multiple endorsements in open seats, but is not yet making endorsements in legislative seats where incumbents are running for re-election

(Gaithersburg, MD) SEIU Local 500, the largest Union local in Montgomery County today announced it was throwing its weight behind Dana Beyer for the Maryland Senate in District 18.

“In this era of Donald Trump and Larry Hogan, our members know we need a fighter to go to Annapolis and join the resistance. Our members know Dana and know that she will do just that” said Merle Cuttitta, President of SEIU Local 500.  “This endorsement takes nothing from our stalwart ally, Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher. Elections in Montgomery County are often about tough choices between good friends.”

In addition, SEIU 500 made the following additional endorsements for seats that are left open by members not seeking reelection:

  • District 18: Mila Johns and Emily Shetty (House of Delegates)
  • District 39: Gabriel Acevero (House of Delegates)

SEIU Local 500 is not endorsing ANY incumbents running for re-election to their current offices until after the end of the legislative session.

“We are endorsing open seats early to give our political team and members more time to work with our endorsed newcomers to make sure they win” said President Cuttitta. “As in the District 18 Senate race, the caliber of candidates we interviewed was higher than ever. We had to leave some great candidates on the table – from Jared Solomon in the District 18 Delegate race, to Lesley Lopez in the District 39 Delegate race.”

Share

SEIU Targets Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam for Defeat

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of Maryland’s most powerful labor unions, has targeted District 44 Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam for defeat by running one of their own against her.  Aletheia McCaskill, a rank-and-file leader in SEIU Local 500, is announcing her challenge to the incumbent on Saturday.  Nathan-Pulliam has antagonized SEIU and several other progressive organizations by dragging her heels on last session’s sick leave bill, which she ultimately voted for.

Several things make this race interesting.

1.  SEIU has a record of defeating Senate incumbents, including Nat Exum and David Harrington (Prince George’s County), Rona Kramer (Montgomery County) and George Della (Baltimore City). Their negative mail against Exum was particularly devastating.

One of at least seven anti-Exum mailers from SEIU.

2.  Nathan-Pulliam has not had a truly competitive election in her entire career. She walked into her current Senate seat after the incumbent retired and had five straight cakewalk House races before that.  She is also not a great fundraiser, raising $77,695 in the 2006 cycle, $72,363 in the 2010 cycle and $124,732 in the 2014 cycle.  She reported $33,533 in the bank in January.  Those are easy numbers for a big organization like SEIU to overcome.

3.  Many labor organizations have supported Nathan-Pulliam over the years, including AFT Maryland, MSEA, the Fire Fighters, the Police, UFCW Local 400, several building trades local unions, the AFL-CIO and SEIU. Those unions have given her more than $30,000 over the last four cycles.  How many of them will follow SEIU’s lead and dump the incumbent?

SEIU endorses Nathan-Pulliam in 2014.

4.  Nathan-Pulliam has not represented many of her current constituents all that long. True, she has been in office since 1994.  But her district has changed substantially since then.  District 44 now includes a portion of the western part of Baltimore City along with Lochearn, Woodlawn, Catonsville and the areas around US-40 and I-70 in Baltimore County.  Prior to that, Nathan-Pulliam represented District 10.  During the 2000s, District 10 did not include any part of the City and during the 1990s, the City portions it did include are not part of today’s District 44.  This somewhat erodes the advantage a decades-long incumbent would normally have.

5.  At age 78, Nathan-Pulliam could decide not to fight SEIU and simply retire.

We reprint McCaskill’s kickoff announcement below.

*****

Event: Working Families Democrat and SEIU Union Leader Aletheia McCaskill announces a Democratic primary challenge in Maryland’s 44th State Senatorial District

Date:  September 9, 2017, 2:00-4:00

Where: Karate Family Center 1101 N. Rolling Road, Catonsville, MD 21228

Aletheia McCaskill is a wife, mother, activist and advocate who has owned her own small business providing early learning child care services to the residents of West Baltimore and Western Baltimore County for over 20 years.  She got involved on issues of economic justice such as the fight for fair wages and earned sick leave legislation because of the reality she saw in the lives of the families whose children she provided care for.  She has been the Statewide Political Member Leader for the largest Maryland local in the Service Employees International Union and has been a leader in the fight in Baltimore and Annapolis to pass the Women’s Economic Security Agenda- a package of bills aimed at  providing some measure of economic stability for the working families of the 44th.  Aletheia believes that the 44th District deserved a choice, she wants to be our voice in Annapolis fighting for stronger schools and for finally giving our Seniors the services and facilities WITHIN the 44th, that they deserve.

https://www.mccaskill44.com/

For Press or scheduling, please contact:

Mark Jason McLaurin, Political Director

SEIU Local 500

901 Russell Avenue, Suite 300

Gaithersburg, MD 20879

(301) 740-7100 – Voice

Share