The Graduate Employees’ Organization, American Federation of Teachers Local 3550, endorses Katie Scott in the Democratic primary for District 9 of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. We urge members of our local, of other unions, and of our community to vote for Ms. Scott in the primary election on August 7, 2018.
We are happy to recognize Ms. Scott’s long service in the Michigan Nurses Association, one of the most progressive unions in the state, as well as her work as a delegate to the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation. She has worked hard to represent her union in the nurses’ ongoing contract campaign at the University of Michigan hospitals, shown up consistently to GEO and LEO actions, and is fighting hard for working people in Washtenaw County during this campaign.
Ms. Scott’s commitment to excellent health care for all of us is particularly important because the Washtenaw County commissioners have substantial influence over the county mental health system, which has long been underfunded. It is crucial that new funds raised from last year’s mental health and public safety millage be used to improve the county mental health system, and particularly to compensate the badly underpaid workers in that system. We believe that Ms. Scott will continue to be a powerful voice for all working people as a county commissioner.
How GEO Makes Endorsements
GEO’s involvement in electoral politics has varied throughout our 45 year history. For the most part the last decade has seen little to no involvement, beyond occasional voluntary canvassing efforts, and a brief uptick immediately prior to the passage of Right to Work legislation in Michigan in 2013. However, following increasing calls from the membership, this past year GEO distributed an online survey to gauge members’ (current) preferences for electoral involvement. Respondents (N=214 as of 7/17/18) overwhelmingly agreed that they would like to see GEO provide information on, and where relevant, endorsements for local races, especially those that would directly impact our members.
In response to this feedback, GEO formed the Electoral Action Subcommittee, which then drafted an Electoral Involvement Procedure, which was ratified by the Stewards’ Council and quickly put into practice in preparation for important upcoming local races, including the UM board of regents election. The Electoral Involvement Procedure outlines three options for how GEO can engage with local electoral races: endorsement, cooperation, and education.
We strongly encourage high member participation in this new process of electoral involvement. Relevant procedures, practices, messaging and framing will all require regular, ongoing input from members in order to best reflect what we want out of our involvement in electoral politics. We welcome all members to join the Electoral Action Subcommittee, which meets Wednesdays from 1:30-2:30 in the GEO office, 339 E. Liberty St, Ste. 340. Members can also participate in this important work by talking to their stewards and attending GMMs. We also strongly encourage members to become and remain engaged in local politics not only during but after elections! Endorsements require citizen accountability in order to produce the best effects for our members and the broader community.