Color Us Shocked: Incoming CA SEIU Local President Says He Wants to Run Newsom out of Office

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

This announcement by the newly-elected California Service Employee International Union president has raised some eyebrows:

The new president-elect of California’s largest state employee union said Tuesday that the influential organization won’t back Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s effort to fend off a likely recall election this fall.

Richard Louis Brown said anger over union contract concessions last year during what proved to be an illusionary $54 billion state budget deficit helped fuel his victory over longtime Service Employees International Union Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker.

Brown said that anger extends to Newsom.

“He is going to need support from public sector unions to help him fight his recall,” Brown said in an interview with The Associated Press. “When I become president of Local 1000, he can look for somebody else to support him. He will not get any help from us. He’s on his own.”

Well, color me curious. What gives?

In looking over Richard Louis Brown’s candidate statement from when he ran for SEIU 1000 leadership, two things stand out:

  1. He wants to put everyone on notice that he is not “one of them.” That is, just another corrupt union organizer.
  2. He wants to distance himself from the politicians with whom the former leadership had close ties. That would be Gavin Newsom.

The forced furloughs during the pandemic are part of Brown’s anger toward Newsom, and fuels his opposition.

Brown’s proposals will still have to win support from the union’s board of directors, given the turnabout from its reliably Democratic stances. He will take the post June 30.

While Newsom has said he expects to restore last year’s pay cuts topping 9% with the new fiscal year starting July 1, he would never have agreed to that “if he wasn’t under the threat of recall,” Brown said.

Newsom won election in 2018 with union support, then in Brown’s view turned on organized labor to help close the projected budget gap by demanding the equivalent of two days’ wages or furloughs each month during the pandemic when “people were hurting” and living paycheck to paycheck.

“That’s why I said we’re going to run his ass out of office,” Brown said.

Back in April, the SEIU 1000 Candidate PAC did make a $1,875 contribution to the California Democrat Party. A totally unremarkable amount, compared to the dollars being given up to the party on any given Sunday. What did the Party do with the funds? Immediately funneled it to the Stop the Republican Recall campaign.

So, while Richard Louis Brown says he will not give support to Newsom in keeping his office, and may very well mean it, the Party will have Governor Hair Gel’s back no matter what. SEIUs locally and nationally regularly gives patronage to the Democrat Party, and the Party simply pushes that money where it is most needed.

At this present juncture, it’s ensuring Gavin Newsom keeps his seat. So, this whole stand Brown is taking is merely bright, shiny objects to distract from something else. The fact that POLITICO, the Sacramento Bee, and the L.A. Times are breathlessly reporting on it is enough to confirm my suspicions.

A day later, the SEIU 1000 council came out with this statement:

The SEIU California State Council announced today they are NO to the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom.

Bob Schoonover, President of SEIU California and Executive Director of SEIU 721, released the following statement: 

“SEIU California is strongly backing Governor Gavin Newsom as he fights the distracting and costly partisan recall. Governor Newsom has had our back through unprecedented crises, and now we have his. He has delivered critical lifelines and relief to families hardest hit by the pandemic and has launched a once-in-a-generation recovery plan that will build a better future for all of our families. But the extremist, partisan forces behind the recall are trying to force an election because they can’t win in a normal election. Defeating this recall and staying focused on a recovery that benefits working people will be a top priority for our members this year.”

Welp. There you have it. The higher ups have spoken.

Perfect cover to protect the rep of an up-and-coming leader. Brown can distinguish himself and appear as if he is standing for the workers, without any significant blowback.

It’s another game of smoke and mirrors. I expect nothing less from the corrupt Unions.

It makes no difference: Newsom will still be Recalled, with or without their efforts.