SEIU elects first black woman president
by George Raine
Service Employees International Union Local 1000, the largest state employee union, has elected an African American woman as its president, the first to hold the position.
Yvonne Walker, a legal secretary at the Department of Justice in Sacramento, was elected in statewide mail balloting, the results of which were announced Thursday. Walker served as vice president for bargaining of Local 1000 for the past three years.
Walker succeeds Jim Hard, who did not seek re-election as president but was elected vice president for organizing and representation. Cora Okumura was elected vice president, and secretary-treasurer Kathleen Collins was elected vice president of bargaining.
Walker was elected with 44 percent of the vote. Coming in second was Donna Snodgrass, vice president of the California State Employees Association (29 percent) and third was Ken Hamidi, a compliance representative for the Franchise Tax Board (26 percent).
Local 1000 represents state employees from a wide variety of departments, but not peace officers, prison guards, firefighters, attorneys, physicians and other specialists.
The newly elected officers assume office on July 1.
Local 1000’s contract with the state expires on June 30. Negotiations began on Tuesday.