Democracy in Action: How do we choose the candidates our union endorses?

July 6, 2016

Candidate screenings, that’s where the magic happens.

During the past three months, our union teamed up with other SEIU local unions and community organizations in Florida to screen the candidates that are running for office in the areas where our members live. This year, we hosted dozens of candidate screenings in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange County, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Palm Beach.

Several 1199SEIU Florida members and retirees participated; it was the first time for many. It was also the first time ever we joined efforts with community organizations which allowed us to ask the candidates important questions about what matters for us not only as caregivers, but also as tax-payers, parents, neighbors and integral members of our communities.

Obviously, every single candidate was asked if they supported the Fight for $15 to raise the minimum wage and if they had taken the 7-day minimum wage challenge. Police brutality, ban the box, immigration reform and safe staffing ratios were also raised as important issues the candidates had to respond to. At the end, the participants debated on who they should support and why, and came up with a collective decision.

Candidate screenings are one of the most empowering moments of an election. When workers and community members meet candidates face-to-face, ask them questions about the issues they care about, and have a say on what candidate should be endorsed… that’s real democracy in action.

Our retirees were so inspired by the process that they wanted to share the information with the rest of the retirees and did a full presentation about the candidates they screened, their positions on the different issues, and the list of endorsed candidates. What a great example!

To find out what candidates we have endorsed and other useful information about these elections, visit our Florida Elections Center. You can also volunteer knocking on doors or become a member of the Political Action Committee.