Politics and our Union
Together We can Advance Healthcare Issues Important to Working Families
SEIU members build political strength through our Committee on Political Education, otherwise known as COPE. COPE donations are necessary because the union is legally prohibited from using dues money for politics. However, politics play a critical role in winning good contracts and maintaining County, State and Federal funds to support quality patient care.
What is COPE?
It’s our political action vehicle that is funded by our members’ voluntary contributions. We use it to engage in politics and hold politicians accountable at every level of government. It’s by far our strongest tool to win legislation that protects our jobs, strengthens our contracts and improves our benefits.
SEIU is neither Democrat nor Republican. We support candidates based on issues, not political party. Pro-SEIU, pro-worker, pro-healthcare candidates get our support.
Why is SEIU Involved in Politics?
Public employee collective bargaining rights, job security, working conditions, medical and retirement benefits are all determined by elected officials.
Elected officials decide public budgets. These budgets determine how much funding will be available for us to afford to live in the same communities in which we deliver quality public healthcare.
We must work to get candidates elected who share our values and who will stand with us on the issues that are important to us and our patients.
Are We Effective?
YES! SEIU’s member-driven political program was recently rated by the National Journal as the most effective in the entire country. With regards to the 2008 Presidential race, the New Yorker noted how SEIU “successfully pushed every Democrat in the race into supporting universal healthcare.”
How Do We Endorse Candidates?
From city and county commissions to Congressional races and the Presidency, our endorsements are entirely member-driven.
Every candidate seeking SEIU endorsement must complete the following:
A survey that is designed to challenge candidates to state their positions on key issues of importance to our members and
A screening, open to all of our members, where candidates are interviewed by SEIU members and officials.
Attending members then evaluate each candidate’s responses and take a vote to decide who to endorse, or whether to endorse at all.