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California Democratic Party chief says SEIU has threatened to cut off funding

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton says one of the state's most politically powerful unions has threatened to cut off funding for the party over his support for a group that has broken away from the labor organization.

The rift could drive a wedge between the party and one of its most generous donors. The state council of the Service Employees International Union has directed $700,000 to the Democratic Party since 2007 and millions more to Democratic candidates and causes.

Burton said SEIU’s California president, Bill Lloyd, made the threat as Burton was set to appear last week at a San Francisco fundraiser for the splinter group, the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

"They threatened me," said the 76-year-old Burton.

Burton said that he was championing union workers "when [SEIU's national president] Andy Stern was in college." He hailed the breakaway union's leader, Sal Rosselli, as a lifelong friend and “one of the strongest labor leaders in this state.”

Mary Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for SEIU’s state council, would neither confirm nor deny any warning from Lloyd to Burton. “Formal discussions haven’t been had with our board," which would have to vote to cut off funding, she said.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

Comments () | Archives (58)

So, are they going to endorse the Republican
Party and it's anti-union, ant-big govt
stance? I don't understand this position.

The SEIU, like ACORN has morphed into an unethical, power hungry, corrupt gang of self-serving thugs. Both organizations started off with good intentions but be honest and look what they have become.

The National Union of Healthcare Workers appears to only want to represent healthcare workers. Period, not to become king makers or the new residence of Jimmy Hoffa wannabes. And the SEIU cannot stand either the competition or that is is being manifestly shown that the SEIU has other agendas that undercut their stated goals of better wages, hours & working conditions for their members.

I may not agree with John Burton much but at least he is intellectually honest. He is obviously seeing that SEIU & their corruption is and will harm the Democrat Party & the country.

Right . I suppose they will start supporting repugnicans . The unions own the rat party more than the rat party owns them . They will not withdraw support from the party , they will just be more discerning which candidates they allow the party to nominate .

Its about time someone/anyone stand up to public employee unions and tell them they didn't or should not have gotten into public service to get rich, sure they do not earn as much as a doctor but DUH they are not doctors and face it most of them they are highly paid for the work they do. Yes I know many will blast this as shortsighted, mean or ignorant but its the truth and besides in an era when money is short and unions still want more reality has to set in..

What an absolutely absurd suggestion. Does anybody seriously think the unions are going to shift their support to Republicans?!? Greens?!? Socialists?!? Puh-leez...

Thank Goodness! SEIU is another ACORN we don't need in this state or actually in our country.

This is SEIU being SEIU. In Andy Stern's own words, “[W]e prefer to use the power of persuasion, but if that doesn’t work we use the persuasion of power.” SEIU has the power over the party and he is exerting it. Now lets see how Burton responds.

This is all hot air. This union would never back away from the Democrats.

The people of California put people in office only to find out they represent union and interest group. It's all about money.

Stop the in-fighting and organize to change the California Constitution so that we can effectively govern California!

Signed: SEIU member

Union contrcts i.e. control of state agencies have been a major cause of Californias dollar woes. It will have to change sometime. States should not have Unions. The whole
operation is basicly corrupt.

WOW, the Democrate Party is doing something honorable, let's see if they follow through. I would be very embarassed taking money from that group. The leaders got convicited of smoking and drink their member's dues. That union reperesent the lowest paid workers in the state and yet they are the biggest donors, hey try cut the dues!

the democratic party should severe ties with the felons from seiu, like yesterday.

Right !! So what will SIEU go next....the Republican ??? I seriously doubt it....this group holds California hostage today...they aren't about to give that up with the State budget under attack....this is nothing but a cheap negotiating tactic by a bunch of thugs !!

Who owns the politicians in this state again????

ANOTHER organization that has learned to PROFIT from illegals, and the Dem Party TAKES it's cut!!!

It's a bad idea for unions to be associated with only one political party in today's age of hyper-partisan. Anything wanted by the unions will be immediately championed by one side to achieve a "victory for our side" while the Republicans will invariably fight it; this is regardless of the actual merits of the unions' desires or proposals.

But, still, to threaten to sever ties because the party chairman had the gall to be seen at another union's fundraiser is extreme pettiness.

It is all about campaign contributions the life blood of politicians. The right of Union members to pick and choose a union with leadership qualities is at stake here. Let's see what Mr. Burton will do on this issue. This will be very interesting to all union members in California that wants integrity in its leaders and unions. I hope he chooses well.

This brouhaha will blow over. If the SEIU and the Democrats really split up, the public employees of this state would have to start making reasonable wage and benefit demands.

I just don't see it happening, even though I pray for it.

This is a media stunt and not a reality. These union hacks really want to appear that they are twisting Burton's arm, but they cannot. He won't take this threat.

The real truth is that SEIU will continue to fund democratic candidates through their local unions and through the state council. With campaign finance restrictions, this threat is no where near as strong as it would have been 10 years ago. Its a total bluff. I hope Burton stands up to this crap.

One Socialist threatening another Socialist for supporting another Socialist...sounds like the Soviet Union all over again.

Please cut off the funding, a chance to save our state from the special interest. For once I would like a politition to do whats right for all the people instead of just their big money donors.

sensor ship explains no comments

I'd put a $50 wager that the SEIU has it backwards...it is the SEIU that requires Democratic Party support in order for it to survive.

Yeah, like who else has labor got to champion their cause in this state, the republicans? Give me a break....The SEIU sees a threat and wants to stomp it. Power play of the day.....end of line.

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