Principles for Legislative & Political Action
Approved by the Executive Committee on April 17, 2008
The Executive Committee proposes the adoption of the principles listed below to guide our decision-making when considering endorsements of candidates, initiatives, referenda and related matters.
Endorsements for public office and other ballot measures rests with the Executive Committee, with deference given to recommendations received from chapters and Councils with direct employment-related interests. Recommendation and endorsement decisions shall utilize these principles when considering candidates for public office or issues under consideration by the electorate. (This is not a ranked listing.)
- Respect for the value of public service and for maintaining or expanding public control of public services and infrastructure.
- Support for merit-based civil service employment that promotes and guarantees hiring and promotion based on qualifications and competitive examination.
- The relative qualifications of the candidate for the office sought.
- Accessibility of the candidate to union leadership on matters of concern to the membership.
- Actual record, if any, of employee relations and bargaining with the union as well as other issues important to the union and organized labor generally.
- Support for, or promotion of, maintenance and improvement of public goods and services.
- Support for, or advancement of, government openness and accountability.
- Initiatives or referenda that promote the interests of working people and their
Political Endorsement Process
Adopted at the June 7, 2008, Delegate Assembly;
Amended at the January 28, 2012 Delegate Assembly
Local 21 IFPTE, it’s Chapters and Councils, will follow these general guidelines, in conjunction with the Local 21 Principles for Legislative and Political Action, when identifying candidates and issues to support or oppose. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that our union makes informed, member-driven decisions when making official endorsements so that they serve the best interests of our members and the governmental jurisdictions where they are employed.
To assure that candidates seeking Local 21’s endorsement have an in-depth understanding of issues facing our members, a candidate briefing is recommended whenever possible prior to Local 21 consideration. The briefing may be conducted in person, by conference call, or by sending written materials to the candidate. This briefing is to familiarize the candidate with the political and policy priorities of the union’s membership. When personal candidate briefings occur, they should be conducted by a committee appointed by and including members of the specific Chapter/Council making the endorsement recommendation.
COUNCIL/CHAPTER CANDIDATE EVALUATION
Candidates may be evaluated through written questionnaires, interviews, candidate forums or other mechanisms as established by the Council/Chapter. Members should be informed in advance of the review process and any candidate events, and candidate questionnaires and other materials should be made available to all members. All members will be encouraged to participate in this process.
COUNCIL/CHAPTER ENDORSEMENT RECOMMENDATION
Council/Chapter endorsement meetings shall be scheduled at a time and place that encourages maximum membership attendance and participation. Endorsement meetings may be conducted during general membership meetings to encourage participation.
Candidates shall be evaluated using appropriate criteria including the Local 21 Principles for Legislative and Political Action and the following considerations:
- The candidate’s record on labor relations issues, employment policies and working conditions
- The candidate’s experience, personal characteristics and leadership qualities
- The candidate’s chances of winning, depth of support and campaign funding
- The candidate’s relationship with the Labor Community in general
Where Chapter or Regional Political Action Committees have been established, they may lead the effort to screen and make endorsement recommendations to the Chapter/Council to the extent that time allows. Chapter/Council endorsement recommendations shall be transmitted to the Executive Committee in writing with a brief explanation of the reasons for the endorsement, including how the candidate or issue is consistent with the criteria listed above and the Principles for Legislative and Political Action, and as much in advance as possible of the Executive Committee meeting at which action on the recommendation is expected.
LOCAL 21 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ENDORSEMENTS
In keeping with the Bylaws of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, Local 21, the Executive Committee shall make all final decisions regarding the endorsement of candidates and supporting or opposing ballot measures, after receiving the recommendation of the Chapter/Council. Individual Chapters and Councils are not authorized to make endorsements or vote to support or oppose ballot measures in the name of Local 21, only to make recommendations to the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee shall strongly consider Chapter/Council recommendations as well as weigh the good and welfare of the entire Local, when making final decisions on candidate endorsements or voting to support or oppose ballot measures.
The Executive Committee may invite the Chapter/Council to present their recommendations on candidates and ballot measures and to inform the Executive Committee on the process and reasoning behind the Chapter/Council’s endorsement recommendations and to discuss any resource allocation requests.
JURISDICTIONAL OVERLAP AND ‘DIRECT EMPLOYMENT INTEREST’
Jurisdictional overlap is defined as two different Chapters or Councils operating in the same electoral district and having a shared interest in the outcome of elections involving candidates for office in that district or ballot measures pertaining to that district.
There may be occasions when two or more Chapters or Councils have a jurisdictional interest in an election and may make two different recommendations for a particular election.
If the Chapters are members of the same Council, they shall be resolved through deliberations in the Council in order to arrive at a single, qualified, or dual endorsement to send to the Executive Committee for consideration.
If the Chapters are not members of the same Council or there are two Councils involved in the endorsement, both recommendations shall be forwarded to the Executive Committee who shall make the final decision.
The criteria for resolving “dual” recommendations shall be the normal criteria for endorsements with additional consideration given to any Chapter or Council having a “direct employment interest” in the outcome of the election.
Recommendations on candidates or issues that involve “jurisdictional overlap” that is not within the scope of a Local 21 Regional Council shall be reviewed first by the Local 21 PAC, who shall make a recommendation to the Executive Committee.
Direct Employment Interest
Direct employment interest shall mean that (a) the candidate is running for an office with an agency or jurisdiction that employs Local 21 members in that Chapter or Council, or (b) the ballot measure will have a direct policy or financial impact on Local 21 members in that Chapter or Council.
Endorsement by Local 21 may include a commitment of union activities and/or resources such as the following:
- Direct mail;
- Door-to-door voter education;
- Phone banking;
- Financial contribution(s);
- Letter(s) of endorsement;
- Other campaign activities.
When a Chapter/Regional Council makes a recommendation to endorse or oppose a candidate or ballot measure, it may include a general recommendation to the Local 21 PAC and Executive Committee to provide financial support.
At the beginning of each election cycle, the Local 21 PAC may establish a schedule for Chapters and Councils to submit recommendations on candidates, ballot measures and financial support. The purpose of this schedule is to permit the union to consider as many funding requests as possible at the same time to establish priorities for funding, if necessary. The Local 21 PAC will review the recommendations from the Chapters/Councils and make a recommendation to the Executive Committee at the beginning of each campaign cycle to support, oppose or take no position on each candidate or measure and to provide financial support including the specific level of support. The Local 21 PAC will review requests for funding/support for candidates and ballot measures that are beyond the scope of any single Chapter or Council, and as time allows, funding requests during the year.
The Executive Committee will make a final decision on the level of campaign support based on the specific recommendation of the Local 21 PAC, and other factors such as the general recommendation of the Chapter/Regional Council, the direct strategic importance of the election to the interests of Local 21 members, the strength of the endorsement, the chances of winning, the availability of resources and the level of participation in the PAC and/or campaign volunteer work by the members in that Chapter/Region.
CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES BETWEEN ELECTION CYCLES
The Executive Director may, after consultation with the appropriate Chapter or Regional Council, authorize a contribution of up to $1,000 towards an event in support of an office holder who Local 21 has previously supported and/or is in good standing with the local. All such contributions shall be included in the Political Director’s next written report to the Executive Committee.
The Executive Director, after consultation with the appropriate Chapter or Regional Council, may purchase tickets up to $250 to events sponsored by political organizations or elected office holders when it furthers the strategic interests of Local 21 members. All such purchases shall be included in the Executive Director’s next report to the Executive Committee.
In cases where there is insufficient time to wait for the next regularly scheduled Executive Committee meeting, the Executive Committee may be polled between meetings on a campaign contribution or endorsement in accordance with adopted policies for polling of the Executive Committee.
Oakland Endorsement Process
Adopted by the Oakland Council, Monday, December 12, 2005;
Amended by Oakland Council, Monday, August 25, 2008
Revised by Oakland Council, August 2016
The following general guidelines will be used by the Local 21 Oakland Council¹ to determine whether or not to recommend endorsement of local candidates for election or local ballot measures for passage. In conjunction with the Local 21 Principles for Legislative & Political Action, the Local 21 Oakland Council has developed this process as an organizational commitment to mobilize information and resources and help advance the economic and workplace interests of our union.
SCOPE OF ENDORSEMENTS
The Local 21 Oakland Council will ordinarily consider endorsements only in races for City of Oakland elected offices (i.e., mayor, city attorney, city auditor, and city council) or in elections for City of Oakland ballot measures (including referendums, voter initiatives, and council-sponsored ballot measures). The Oakland Council in its discretion may choose not be pursue this endorsement process for particular City of Oakland races or elections, if, for instance, a race is uncontested, a ballot measure does not present a question of significant importance to the membership, or involvement in the race is otherwise not in the best interests of the Union. Individual Local 21 chapters may not make endorsements; however individual chapters may choose to recommend endorsements to the general membership and the Local 21 Oakland Council.
In special situations the Local 21 Oakland Council may consider recommending an endorsement in a non-City race or election in situations that have special significance to Oakland members. In those cases the Council will coordinate any endorsement with other Local 21 chapters and the labor community at large.
We realize that not every candidate has a strong understanding of the issues that face City of Oakland employees. Therefore, the Oakland Council in its discretion may decide to hold a candidate briefing to familiarize candidates with the political and policy priorities of the Oakland membership of Local 21. The briefing will be conducted by a committee appointed by the Oakland Council, and may include the Oakland Vice-President, the Oakland Chapter Presidents, the Political Action Committee², and other interested members.
Candidate Forum or Interview
A joint membership meeting or meetings open to all members of the City of Oakland chapters may be held to present candidates to the membership. The specific format of the meeting will be determined by the Oakland Council, and may include individual interviews, a candidate forum or debate, or other format as appropriate. All members will be encouraged to attend and participate in any meetings. Local 21 will schedule these meetings at a time and place that promotes the greatest membership attendance and participation. The candidates may be asked to respond to questions given to candidates in advance as well as impromptu questions raised by members from the floor.
The Political Action Committee may choose to limit the candidates meeting(s) to candidates it determines are viable candidates, considering a candidate’s track record and experience in previous campaigns, history of support for labor, visibility, name recognition, organizational strength, polling numbers, fundraising success, financial resources, and endorsements. The Political Action Committee may choose to initiate the endorsement process either before or after the candidate filing deadline.
The Political Action Committee may prepare a summary of the candidate forum and disseminate this information to Local 21 members before the endorsement vote.
Candidate Endorsement Vote
The determination as to which candidate or candidates receive the Local 21 Oakland membership’s recommendation for endorsement will be determined by a vote of the general membership of Local 21 Oakland. The vote will be held as part of a joint membership meeting. Under special circumstances, the Political Action Committee may elect to hold the vote by mail or online in lieu of a membership meeting. The Political Action Committee may present its recommendations for endorsements to the membership at the endorsement meeting or as part of the voting material for a mail or online vote. Candidate endorsements will be decided by a secret ballot vote of the members. A candidate must receive 55% or more of the votes cast by the members voting on that race to obtain the Oakland Council’s recommendation for endorsement. Members will be allowed to vote for more than one candidate; if more than one candidate receives at least 55% of the votes cast by the members, the recommendation will be for a dual or multiple endorsement of those candidates. The membership will be given the option to vote for no Union endorsement.
BALLOT MEASURE ENDORSEMENTS
Ballot Measure Forum
A joint membership meeting or meetings open to all members of the City of Oakland chapters may be held to present and discuss ballot measures. The specific format of the meeting will be determined by the Oakland Council. All members will be encouraged to attend and participate in any meetings. Local 21 will schedule these meetings at a time and place that promotes the greatest membership attendance and participation.
Ballot Measure Endorsement Vote
The determination as to whether a ballot measure receives the Local 21 Oakland membership’s recommendation for or against the measure will be determined by a vote of the general membership of Local 21 Oakland. The vote will be held as part of a joint membership meeting. Under special circumstances, the Political Action Committee may elect to hold the vote by mail or online in lieu of a membership meeting. The Political Action Committee may present its recommendations for or against a ballot measure to the membership at the endorsement meeting or as part of the voting material for a mail or online vote. Ballot measure questions will be decided by a secret ballot vote of the members. For ballot measures, the membership may recommend a Union position for or against the ballot measure by 55% or more of the votes cast by the members voting on that race. The membership will be given the option to vote for no Union position on the ballot measure.
RECOMMENDATION BY OAKLAND COUNCIL
The Oakland Council will make an endorsement recommendation, which must be consistent with the vote of the membership, and that recommendation will be immediately forwarded to the Local 21 Executive Committee³ for its formal approval.
ENDORSEMENT BY LOCAL 21 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
In keeping with the bylaws of Local 21, formal endorsement of candidates and ballot measures will be made by IFPTE Local 21’s Executive Committee after receiving the recommendation of the Oakland Council.
Endorsement by Local 21 may entail a commitment of union activities or resources including, but not limited to, the following:
Direct mail to voters in support of the candidate/issue,
Door-to-door voter education,
The level of commitment will be based on such factors as the direct importance of the election to the interests of Local 21 members, the strength of the endorsement, and the availability of resources given other Local 21 commitments. Any financial contribution to a candidate or ballot measure campaign must be in conformance with the guidelines set forth under the Local 21 Oakland Political Contribution Process.
- The Oakland Council is made up of elected leaders from all four Oakland Chapters. For an updated list of Chapter leaders, see the most recent Oakland Bulletin or visit the Local 21 City of Oakland website at https://www.ifpte21.org/chapters/city-of-oakland and click on your Chapter’s page.
- Political Action Committee is made up of elected Presidents and Political Issues Coordinators from all four Oakland Chapters.
- Local 21 Executive Committee (EC) is made up of elected leaders from across our entire Local. For an updated list of our EC members, visit the Local 21 website at https://www.ifpte21.org/leadership
Oakland Political Contribution Process
Adopted by the Oakland Council January 28, 2008
The following general guidelines will be used by the Local 21 Oakland Council to determine whether the union should make a monetary contribution to the campaign of a candidate for local office in Oakland or a local ballot measure.
A request for a political contribution from the union by a candidate or a ballot measure campaign committee shall be forwarded first to the Local 21 Oakland Political Action Committee for consideration. The recommendation of the Political Action Committee shall then be forwarded to the Oakland Council, and the recommendation of the Oakland Council shall be forwarded to the Local 21 Executive Committee, which shall make the final decision after receiving the recommendation of the Oakland Council. If the request is time-sensitive, the union office may individually poll members of the Political Action Committee and/or the Oakland Council by e-mail, telephone, or other personal contact to arrive at a recommendation.
The Political Action Committee, the Oakland Council, and the Executive Committee shall use the following criteria in determining whether to make a contribution to a candidate (not in ranked order):
- The qualifications and experience of the candidate for the office.
- The candidate’s respect for the value of public service and for maintaining or expanding public control of public services and infrastructure.
- The candidate’s support for merit-based civil service employment.
- The accessibility of the candidate to union leadership on matters of concern to the membership.
- The actual record of the candidate in employee relations and bargaining with the union.
- The record and position of the candidate on issues important to the union and organized labor in general.
In determining whether to contribute for or against a ballot measure, the Political Action Committee, the Oakland Council, and the Executive Committee shall consider whether the measure promotes or threatens the interests of the Local 21 membership and organized labor in general, and whether the measure advances or detracts from good government and sound public policy (whether or not the measure directly pertains to labor relations).
The union may make a contribution prior to the candidate filing deadline and prior to the formal endorsement process of the union, although the union can also decide to wait till the endorsement process concludes or the filing deadline passes. However, contributions to candidates prior to a union endorsement of that candidate shall be limited to $600 per election. A contribution does not necessarily constitute a formal endorsement of the candidate or ballot measure. The union may also authorize a contribution at the same time it decides to endorse a candidate or take a position on a ballot measure. The union may give contributions to more than one candidate in an election. All contributions shall be subject to the availability of funds and all applicable legal limits.