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Reform slate wins SEIU election

SEIU 1021 members have voted in a new group of leaders, a reformer element known as Change 1021. The reform faction won 26 of the 28 seats in contention, many with 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 margins, unseating leaders appointed by the greater union President Andy Stern three years ago when the union was created. (See earlier Public Press story for more background).
 
The reform leaders ran a back-to-basics campaign, and charged that the current administration of Stern was focused on expanding the union and forgetting about contract members. “We have taken back the union,” said Sin Yee Poon, who now leads the union after beating out former 1021 President Damita Davis-Howard 2,141 votes to 1,445. “Gone the is the corporate unionism, the growing and expanding and not paying attention to the union’s needs”
 
Poon laid out the priorities of the new leadership.
 
Information. Providing union members with more information regarding negotiations, campaigns and other matters.
Resources. “We want to direct resources to what members need,” Poon said.  “We have not always had the consultants, researchers, legal advice we need in our campaigns.”
Representation. All Change 1021 candidates are rank-and-file members. They are all contract union members, according to Poon, who added: “We think that the staff should not be union members. Rank and file members work under contract. The purpose of the union is to fight for the contracts, to support and defend our members.”
Transparency. Poon has pledged to involve members in the business conducted by the union in order to insure the work is conducted on behalf of the members. The union is still smarting from batched contract negotiations in which the union gave back $38 million in concessions and lost hundreds of jobs.

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