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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 15, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 24
SEIU gives $100K to Approve R-74
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SEIU gives $100K to Approve R-74

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Washington State Council has given $100,000 to the Approve Referendum 74 campaign.

The contribution makes the progressive union the top donor thus far to Washington United for Marriage.

'We are excited to have the strong support of labor in this campaign,' said Washington United for Marriage campaign manager Zach Silk.

'We would not have won the legislative battle without the early support of SEIU and [United Food and Commercial Workers Local] 21. They believe what we believe - all loving couples should have the freedom to marry. It is a matter of principle and it is also a matter of importance to their diverse memberships.'

'Our union has been on record for marriage equality since 2004,' SEIU spokesperson Adam Glickman told SGN. 'It's a matter of equality and fairness. Any loving, committed couple should have the right to marry.'

The State Council is a federation of SEIU locals in Washington that directs and helps to fund the union's political and legislative activities.

Glickman is a vice president of SEIU 775NW, which represents more than 40,000 home health care workers in Washington.

Although 775's members are generally lower-wage workers - 'they average $10 an hour,' Glickman says - the local has invested a substantial amount of money in the marriage equality campaign. Besides contributing to the State Council's political fund, Glickman's local also sent its own $1,740 donation to Approve R-74.

'A number of our locals have had robust conversations about this at their Executive Boards,' Gilckman said. 'It's a big statement from our members. We made a significant contribution because it's a significant priority for us.'

Glickman said he had heard no negative feedback from SEIU members.

'We have 100,000 members statewide,' he told SGN. 'It's a very diverse union. We have every race, every religion, every sexual orientation. Obviously some members will disagree, but I've not heard any pushback. I've just heard positive statements.'

SEIU 1199NW, which represents some 20,000 health care workers, also sent in a contribution of $1,740.

With more than 2 million members nationwide, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the United States and is noted for its aggressive political program.

SEIU's international president, Mary Kay Henry, has often been called 'the most powerful Lesbian in the country.'

SEIU is not the only union backing the Approve Referendum 74 campaign.

UFCW Local 21, which contributed $15,000 in January, gave an additional $15,000 on May 23. Local 21 has also given the campaign thousands of dollars in in-kind contributions, including staff time and office space.

UFCW 21 is the largest private-sector local in the state, with more than 38,000 members in grocery, retail, health care, and related industries.

'SEIU and UFCW 21 are part of the leadership structure of the campaign,' Silk added. 'They are an active partner helping us craft strategy and deliver our message across the state. We are lucky to have broad union support, including the King County Labor Council.'

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SEIU gives $100K to Approve R-74
------------------------------
Referendum 74 certified for November ballot:
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