Labor Union

SEIU Wisconsin State Council

Location:

Madison, WI

Type:

Labor Union Federation

President:

Brenda Frary

Website:

seiuwi.org (not active)

The SEIU Wisconsin State Council is an umbrella group representing several local unions in Wisconsin that are affiliated with the left-of-center Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The council’s main purpose is to coordinate political activity across the SEIU local unions in Wisconsin to bolster left-of-center, pro-labor union candidates. The council directs annual independent expenditures towards political campaigns in Wisconsin that benefit almost exclusively Democratic candidates and left-of-center candidates in nonpartisan races such as for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The council also endorses candidates for office and endorses almost exclusively democratic candidates or democratic-supported nonpartisan candidates. Significant unions represented by the council include SEIU Local 1 and SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. [1] [2]

While the organization hosts events, makes endorsements, and joins coalitions, it does not have a significant public-facing presence as its website is inactive and social media channels for the group have been dormant since 2013. [3]

Background

The SEIU Wisconsin State Council’s exists as an umbrella group for SEIU local unions in Wisconsin to coordinate a political and legislative agenda at the state and local level to promote the pro-labor union candidates and enact left-of-center labor policies. The group handles creating a statewide electoral strategy and communications program on behalf of the SEIU and its local unions within Wisconsin and lobbies the state legislature on behalf of the SEIU’s left-of-center agenda. [4]

Membership

The two largest local unions that are members of the SEIU Wisconsin State Council are SEIU Local 1, which represents various employees in midwestern cities including Milwaukee and Chicago, and SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, which represents hospital employees in the state. Other member unions include SEIU Healthcare Minnesota (which has members in western Wisconsin), and SEIU Locals 21, 150, 152, 168, and 180. [5]

Affiliated Groups and Coalitions

The SEIU Wisconsin State Council is affiliated with left-of-center advocacy groups including 9to5 Wisconsin, Wisconsin Jobs Now, Citizen Action Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, United Wisconsin, Wisconsin Progress, and the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. [6]

The council is also a member of the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and joined with that organization as well as Reproductive Justice Action Milwaukee to host a rally opposing Republican-backed election integrity legislation. [7]

Lobbying

The SEIU Wisconsin State Council is registered to lobby the Wisconsin legislature and has stated on public lobbying registration reports that its lobbying interests are related to “pro-worker positions on: labor policy, income inequality, healthcare policy, climate justice and sustainability.” The organization reported approximately $37,000 in lobbying expenses in 2021. [8]

Political Endorsements

The SEIU Wisconsin State Council also endorses candidates for office in Wisconsin, almost exclusively endorsing Democratic candidates and Democratic-aligned candidates in nonpartisan races across the state. The organization endorsed Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes in his campaign against U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) in 2022. [9]

Political Spending

The SEIU Wisconsin State Council has spent over $730,000 since the year 2000 on campaigns in Wisconsin with the vast majority being spent to boost Democratic candidates. The group only gave $300 in support of Republicans in that timeframe while spending $492,967 on Democrats, and $238,000 on nonpartisan races or independent expenditures. [10]

Until 2018, the council made independent expenditures through its PAC, but during the 2018 election it set up an unregistered independent expenditure committee with looser reporting requirements and funding source restrictions. The group’s independent expenditure committee in turn spent over $330,000 to support the candidacy of Democratic-aligned Jill Karofsky in her spring 2020 campaign for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which she won in April 2020. [11]

References

  1. “About.” SEIU Wisconsin State Council. Accessed via Wayback Machine September 1, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20210616081737/http://www.seiuwi.org/about/ ^
  2. “SEIU Wisconsin State Council.” FollowTheMoney.org. Accessed September 1, 2022. https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=20456&default=contributor ^
  3. “Hijacking Campaign 2020 – Information on SEIU Wisconsin State Council Independent Expenditure Committee.” Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. June 24, 2021. Accessed September 1, 2022.  https://www.wisdc.org/interest-group-spending/129-hijacking-campaign-2020/6666-hijacking-campaign-2020-information-on-seiu-wisconsin-state-council-independent-expenditure-committee ^
  4. “About.” SEIU Wisconsin State Council. Accessed via Wayback Machine September 1, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20210616081737/http://www.seiuwi.org/about/ ^
  5. “About.” SEIU Wisconsin State Council. Accessed via Wayback Machine September 1, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20210616081737/http://www.seiuwi.org/about/ ^
  6. “About.” SEIU Wisconsin State Council. Accessed via Wayback Machine September 1, 2022. https://web.archive.org/web/20210616081737/http://www.seiuwi.org/about/ ^
  7. “Community and labor organizations speak against voter suppression in Milwaukee.” Fight Back News. July 30, 2022. Accessed September 1, 2022.  http://www.fightbacknews.org/es/node/9850 ^
  8. [1] “SEIU Wisconsin State Council.” Wisconsin Ethics Commission. Accessed September 1, 2022. https://lobbying.wi.gov/Who/PrincipalInformation/2021REG/Information/9301 ^
  9. “Barnes campaign: SEIU Wisconsin State Council endorses Mandela Barnes for U.S. Senate.” WisPolitics.com. Accessed September 1, 2022.  https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/barnes-campaign-seiu-wisconsin-state-council-endorses-mandela-barnes-for-u-s-senate/ ^
  10. “SEIU Wisconsin State Council.” FollowTheMoney.org. Accessed September 1, 2022. https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=20456&default=contributor ^
  11. “Hijacking Campaign 2020 – Information on SEIU Wisconsin State Council Independent Expenditure Committee.” Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. June 24, 2021. Accessed September 1, 2022.  https://www.wisdc.org/interest-group-spending/129-hijacking-campaign-2020/6666-hijacking-campaign-2020-information-on-seiu-wisconsin-state-council-independent-expenditure-committee ^
  See an error? Let us know!

SEIU Wisconsin State Council


Madison, WI