Person

Maria Peralta

Occupation:

National Political Director for the Service Employees International Union

Party:

Democrat

Main Residence:

Washington, DC

Maria Peralta is the national political director of the large, controversial Service Employees International Union (SEIU). She is also the national coordinator of the national commission on voting rights for the left-of-center Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL) and previously worked for SEIU Local 1199 New Jersey as a political director. [1]

During her tenure as political director for the SEIU, Peralta has focused on directing the organization’s political program where she, during the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, stated that “Black, Latinx, and [Asian and Pacific Islander] voters” would be “the deciding factor” of the election. Peralta called on then-candidate Joe Biden to focus on union members during his campaign, claiming that he needed to build a “multiracial coalition to win.” [2] [3]

Career

Peralta attended Fordham University between 1988 and 1992, where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications. She also attended the New School, a private university in New York City, from 2003 until 2007 to earn a master’s degree in urban policy and management. [4]

After leaving education, Peralta became the political director for SEIU 1199 NJ, the New Jersey division of SEIU Local 1199, a large local affiliated of the SEIU. She remained in this position, creating the local union’s political agenda, from January 2005 until March 2010. [5]

The SEIU is one of the largest, most controversial, and most politically involved labor unions in the United States. It represents building services employees, nurses, other healthcare workers, and public employees. The union has been noted for its close ties to the broader left-of-center movement, perhaps most notably for its relationship to the controversial, now-defunct community organizing network ACORN and its successor groups. The SEIU also has deep ties to the Democratic Party, liberal institutions, the broader labor movement, and was an original “institutional investor” in the left-progressive donor association Democracy Alliance (DA). [6] [7]

During her time at SEIU 1199 NJ, Peralta also worked as an instructor for Rutgers University’s LEARN program. Between March 2007 and January 2013, she taught leadership development and communications courses for labor union members and leaders. [8]

After Peralta left her position as political director for SEIU 1199 NJ in 2010, she founded her consulting firm, Maria Peralta Consulting, which provided strategic communications planning, writing, and editing for her clients. She ceased working independently in 2013. [9]

Peralta joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL) in January 2014. LCCRUL is a left-of-center organization of attorneys that in recent years has advocated and litigated on a broad range of left-progressive policy issues. The committee has argued in support of placing public housing in suburban areas, implementing rent control measures, removing the citizenship question from the census, and including illegal immigrants in the count for the 2020 Census. During the 2020 election, the committee argued in support of mail-in-voting and the removal of requirements for proof of citizenship in voting. LCCRUL has supported calls to reinstate the Obama administration’s expansive birth control mandate for employers, end cash bail, maintain race-based college admissions, and create a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into alleged right-wing extremist involvement in 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin. [10] [11] [12] [13]

Peralta began working for the organization as national coordinator for the national commission on voting rights in January 2014, and she continues to work for the committee as of July 2021. [14]

SEIU

Peralta returned to working for the SEIU as its national political director, directing the organization’s political program and helping to create its political strategy. She started her position at SEIU in December 2017 and is still employed by the organization as of July 2021. Before the 2020 presidential election, SEIU’s political strategy was noted as “working with a multiracial group of partners” to target “voters of color.” [15] [16]

Peralta noted that Pennsylvania’s “Black, Latinx, and API voters will be the deciding factor” of the 2020 presidential election, claiming that President Biden would be “the leader we need to pull us out of this pandemic and economic crisis we face.” Peralta also claimed that President Biden needed to “reengage union members and former union members who moved away from the Democrats in 2016” and create a “multiracial coalition to win.” [17] [18]

Despite her comments on President Biden, Peralta noted that former President Donald Trump’s campaign had worked effectively to win support from ethnic minority voters, claiming that the campaign was “going after our communities in ways that are persuasive,” by “talking about the strength of the economy” under the Trump administration. [19]

Earnings

When Peralta began working for the SEIU in 2017, she began as acting political director, earning $143,890 in gross salary and receiving approximately $3,000 in additional compensation for her role. When she became the official political director in 2018, Peralta earned $158,349 in gross salary and received around $2,500 in additional compensation. Her gross salary increased again to $160,629 in 2019, and she received $6,159 in additional compensation. [20]

References

  1. “Maria Peralta,” LinkedIn, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-peralta-a3836429/. ^
  2. “SEIU and Priorities USA Action Launch Partnership to Turn Out Black and Latino Voters in Pennsylvania,” SEIU, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.seiu.org/2020/10/seiu-and-priorities-usa-action-launch-partnership-to-turn-out-black-and-latino-voters-in-pennsylvania. ^
  3. Steven Greenhouse, “A Bold New Plan to Turn the Rust Belt Blue,” The New Republic, July 14, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/159215/union-2020-democrats-plan-win-rust-belt-voters. ^
  4. “Maria Peralta,” LinkedIn, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-peralta-a3836429/. ^
  5. “Maria Peralta,” LinkedIn, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-peralta-a3836429/. ^
  6. “Some Criticize SEIU for Its ACORN Connections,” The Washington Post (WP Company, October 6, 2009), https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/05/AR2009100503585.html. ^
  7. “The Washington Post,” The Washington Post (WP Company), accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/16/AR2006071600882_pf.html. ^
  8. “Maria Peralta,” LinkedIn, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-peralta-a3836429/. ^
  9. “Maria Peralta,” LinkedIn, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-peralta-a3836429/. ^
  10. “Fair Housing and Community Development Project,” Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, May 25, 2021, https://www.lawyerscommittee.org/project/fair-housing-and-community-development-project/. ^
  11. “Census and Redistricting,” Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, May 17, 2021, https://www.lawyerscommittee.org/census2020/. ^
  12. “Educational Opportunities Project,” Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, July 6, 2021, https://www.lawyerscommittee.org/project/educational-opportunities-project/. ^
  13. Don Owens, “Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Calls for U.S. Department of Justice Hate Crime Investigation,” Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, August 26, 2020, https://www.lawyerscommittee.org/lawyers-committee-for-civil-rights-under-law-calls-for-u-s-department-of-justice-hate-crime-investigation/. ^
  14. “Maria Peralta,” LinkedIn, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-peralta-a3836429/. ^
  15. “Maria Peralta,” LinkedIn, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-peralta-a3836429/. ^
  16. Firas Nasr, “Maria Peralta,” She the People (She the People, December 17, 2019), https://www.shethepeople.org/20-for-2020/maria-peralta. ^
  17. “SEIU and Priorities USA Action Launch Partnership to Turn Out Black and Latino Voters in Pennsylvania,” SEIU, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.seiu.org/2020/10/seiu-and-priorities-usa-action-launch-partnership-to-turn-out-black-and-latino-voters-in-pennsylvania. ^
  18. Steven Greenhouse, “A Bold New Plan to Turn the Rust Belt Blue,” The New Republic, July 14, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/159215/union-2020-democrats-plan-win-rust-belt-voters. ^
  19. “Labor Union SEIU Unveils $150-Million Campaign to Help Defeat Trump,” Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2020), https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-02-26/labor-union-campaign-defeat-trump. ^
  20. “Service Employees: Maria Peralta,” Union Facts, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.unionfacts.com/employee/Service_Employees/MARIA/PERALTA. ^
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