The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 19, 2010
Blog Back: The SEIU ratification numbers

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

We're on the record as supporting SEIU Local 1000's decision to publish the raw numbers from its recent contract ratification vote. It was an unusually transparent move for the union, especially given the unpopular concessions in the MOU.

Of course, revealing the numbers also reignited debate about the contract, the voting rules and the veracity of the union. All of that spilled into the comments section of this blog.

Nov. 17 SEIU Local 1000 publishes contract vote counts

SEIU Local 1000's decision to release its MOU ratification vote numbers proved once again that numbers rarely settle political battles. Folks like "wetbread," for example, think the numbers themselves are suspect:

SEIU This is fabricated. You can't fool all of the people all of the time and I am not fooled. These vote counts are pure fiction.

Then there are others, like this commenter, who believe the numbers show strong support for the MOU and expose the naysayers..

The margins of passage are significant. Apparently the hotheads who masquerade as typical state workers on the Bee comment blogs are completely out of touch with the average state workers who voted on the contracts.

Number debates often shift from the figures to methodology: How did we come to this figure? In this case, comments flew back and forth over whether the contract ratification was legitimate because it excluded employees who are represented by the local but aren't full dues-paying members.

18735 yes votes..... For a union that represents over 90,000 i think..... Only ~20% voted yes. Everyone should be able to vote since we are forced to pay! less then (sic) 21% of the union voted yes... how is this legal?!

Several commenters speculated -- without any proof -- that the local rigged the ballot count:

Is the SEIU the one counting the votes. Imagine, an election where the group that stands to benefit is also the one that counts the vote. Sounds like Third World Democracy to me.

Other comments tisk-tisked critics for not getting more involved in the process.

The vote count was open and transparent. Anyone could witness the vote count. For those who question the count or SEIU's honesty, why weren't you there to observe for yourself? I'm just sayin...
Be a full dues paying member of the union and you too can fully participate in the process. This is analogous to registering to vote for this most recent election so you can fully participate.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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