Three ILWU-endorsed candidates in Southern California have won Delegate seats in the California Democratic Party. Two other ILWU-supported candidates narrowly lost elections that took place on January 7.
Among the winners were Local 63 Business Agent Cathy Familathe who also serves as President of the Southern California District Council, Irene Huerta who serves as Secretary to ILWU Local 13 President and is member of OPEIU Local 537, and Shannon Ross, wife of ILWU Local 94 member Marcel Ross.
Local 13 members Jerry Avila and Vivian Malauulu both narrowly lost their bids. All candidates were endorsed by ILWU Locals 13, 63, 94 and the Southern California District Council. Malauulu was elected to the Long Beach Community College District Board of Trustees in 2016.
“This is historic, because it may be the first time that the ILWU has endorsed candidates and friends of our union to become delegates in the California Democratic Party,” said Cathy Familathe. She added that candidates on the ILWU-supported slate were “pro-Bernie” and will use their delegate positions to press for a pro-worker platform.
The Assembly District Election Meetings are held every two years. Each District elects seven women and seven men to serve as delegates from their Assembly District to the state Party. Delegates are responsible for planning and attending informational meetings throughout the region and working with other delegates to represent their community. They vote at regional meetings and the California Democratic Party Convention.
“I think it’s important for union members to get involved in politics,” Huerta said. “Especially with all that is going on right now, it is important that workers have a voice in shaping the agenda for the Democratic Party.” Huerta was first elected as an Assembly Delegate in 2015 and has been encouraging other union members to do same.