Published: October 11, 2019

Political endorsements at SEIU 503 are made by the 52-member CAPE Council, which will begin its work in November.


This month, members of SEIU 503 kicked off an endorsement process that will determine how our Union engages in political campaigns in 2020. There’s a lot at stake. Decisions that impact SEIU 503 members – everything from the salary pots that determine our wages to our retirement and healthcare plans to policies like paid family and medical leave – are made in the State legislature, local governments and in Washington, D.C. It’s critical that we have a voice in those rooms, and the ability to advocate for our interests.

Our endorsement process is important. When politicians help SEIU members, we can reward them with our support. When they don’t, this process is how we hold them accountable. In the past, we have forced candidates with previous endorsements to start the process over, we have withheld financial support, and we have actively opposed candidates in primary campaigns.

This process is driven by CAPE. The Citizens Action for Political Education (CAPE) is SEIU 503’s Political arm. It’s a member-run political action committee funded by voluntary contributions (not dues dollars). Members on the CAPE committee will drive all the work around the 2020 CAPE endorsement process.

CAPE is run by a council of 52 members who are elected by contributors to the committee. The 2019 CAPE election is currently underway – the deadline to participate in this current election was July 31, 2019. Any SEIU 503 member who contributes to CAPE is eligible to participate. Ballots were mailed on October 1 and are due back by 5 PM on October 22. A new council will be announced on October 25.

Here’s a preview of the endorsement process and timelines.

  • Fall/Winter: The newly elected CAPE council will meet and begin the discussion on the endorsement process.
  • Spring: Political candidates will fill out questionnaires, and CAPE council members will interview candidates in person. Candidates will also participate in regional interview, so members of their communities will have the opportunity to meet and talk to them.
  • Late-Spring: CAPE council will vote on endorsement recommendations. Those recommendations will be finalized by SEIU 503’s Board of Directors.

When the process is complete, SEIU 503 will communicate endorsements to members so they are informed about where the candidates stand on issues that impact our union.

We’re extremely proud of our democratic, member-run process. With all the interest in politics right now, engagement in CAPE is up. If you’d like to get involved, you can start by giving to CAPE. Already a CAPE contributor? Make sure you’ve got the information you need to vote in the CAPE elections. And if you’d like to get even more involved, please contact your organizer to learn about how you can get plugged in.