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Does Local 11 Stand With Santa Monica Neighborhoods On Voting Rights?

November 20, 2018

Dear Editor,

The City of Santa Monica is expected to appeal a recent court decision requiring it to implement district elections to replace the current at-large system ("City Plans to Appeal Decision in Voting Rights Case," November 13, 2018).

Residents are not taking the news of the city's appeal lightly.

Neighborhood groups have sent letters of disapproval to the city, scheduled a protest outside City Hall, and even suggested collecting signatures for a recall petition.

Amid all this public outcry, one voice has remained silent: Unite Here Local 11, typically one of Santa Monica's most-vocal public advocates.

The union’s silence is notable. Many of Local 11’s members are minority workers -- the same residents the court found to be “deliberately discriminated against” by at-large elections.

But it appears the union benefits too much from the status quo to side against the city. Local 11 has prospered through its close relationship with the current Council; the union's get-out-the-vote efforts keep incumbents safe, and council members prioritize a pro-union agenda.

As angry Santa Monica residents gather in protest in front of City Hall on November 27, will the union join their cause?

Don't hold your breath: If there's one thing we know about Local 11, it's that the union leadership's interests come before the interests of its members or the communities it organizes in.

Charlyce Bozzello
Communications Manager at the Center for Union Facts

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