The Service Employees International Union will be slashing its budget by 30 percent this year as a result of having to “dramatically re-think” its strategy in the wake of Donald Trump’s landslide victory.
It’s an indication of the impact that a Trump presidency could have on the vast institutional left, the loose alliance of left-leaning big funders, media, academics, lawyers, community organizing groups and unions, according to a piece based on internal SEIU documents obtained by Bloomberg Businessweek.
Bloomberg reported that union officials were clear about the threat a Trump victory had.
“Because the far right will control all three branches of the federal government, we will face serious threats to the ability of working people to join together in unions,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry wrote in an internal memo dated Dec. 14. “These threats require us to make tough decisions that allow us to resist these attacks and to fight forward despite dramatically reduced resources.” After citing the need to “dramatically re-think” how to implement the union’s strategy, Henry’s all-staff letter announces that SEIU “must plan for a 30% reduction” in the international union’s budget by Jan. 1, 2018, including a 10 percent cut effective at the start of 2017.
SEIU, which represents nearly 2 million government, health-care, and building-services workers and wields an annual budget of $300 million, is the nation’s second-largest union and arguably the most politically significant. In the past few years, SEIU has mounted organized labor’s most effective political intervention with the “Fight for $15,” a campaign that’s dragged Democrats—from city council members to presidential candidates—further left on the minimum wage. At the same time, it cultivated close ties with President Obama, played a key role in passing Obamacare, and worked hard to elect Hillary Clinton.
Bloomberg went on to predict that “things will only get worse after inauguration, when organized labor will find itself without a friend in the White House.”
Unions including SEIU have played a key role in agitating for far left causes during the Obama administration, including the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements. The union helped whip up protesters who were part of Occupy five years ago. As Politico reported in 2011:
SEIU in particular has been working and strategizing to create what it thought of as a “jobs” movement in a series of American cities, and has clearly decided that the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations line up with its agenda.
In 2015, SEIU Local 99 endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement, saying “SEIU Local 99’s mission statement calls on us to work toward a just society for all working families and for our future generations. That is why SEIU Local 99 is proud to join with the Black Lives Matter movement.”
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