SEIU has sought to engage the candidates in a variety of ways during the
course of the year. Many of the Democratic candidates appeared before
the SEIU executive board during its meeting at Gallaudet University in
January 2007. Also in January the union launched its "Walk a Day
in My Shoes" campaign. Between April and August six of the Democratic
candidates joined an SEIU member at home and on the job for a day; Republican
candidate Mike Huckabee also participated. On March 24 SEIU joined
with the Center for American Progress Action Fund to sponsor a health care
forum in Las Vegas. All eight Democratic candidates did a one-on-one
interview with individual SEIU members. SEIU also called on all candidates
to release detailed health care plans by August 1. (Additionally
purple-shirted activists from Americans for Health Care, a project of the
SEIU, are much in evidence at campaign events in the early primary states.
SEIU is also partnering with AARP and Business Roundtable on the Divided
We Fail campaign).
Ed. note (Oct. 22, 2007): There was no national endorsement by
SEIU. Following the conference, on September 19, the executive board
met. (The board comprises 64 leaders representing about 85 percent
of the union's 1.9 million members. An endorsement in the presidential
race requires at least 50 percent of the executive board members representing
60 percent of per capita membership). Local leaders were to go back
and engage their boards and members on the conference and the issues.
Meanwhile, members of the board planned to meet on September 24 in Chicago
with representatives of the three top campaigns (Clinton, Obama and Edwards)
and hear from each how their candidate would win the general election.
On October 8 the SEIU announced that its local unions will decide on presidential
primary endorsements on a state-by-state basis, with decisions announced
no earlier than Oct. 15, 2007.