Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Top SEIU Official to Leave at End of Month

Laphonza Butler and Mary Kay Henry

Laphonza Butler -- the President of SEIU Local 2015 -- is quitting her job at the end of December.

Readers will recall that she was appointed to run the union after its former president, Tyrone Freeman, went to jail for a massive corruption scandal. 

During Butler’s tenure, more local unions were merged into the mega-union including 65,000 long-term care workers transferred from Dave Regan’s SEIU-UHW. Butler also serves on SEIU’s International Executive Board and is reportedly a close ally of Mary Kay Henry.

So why is Butler leaving her position atop a giant union with hundreds of thousands of members? 

Here’s what she’s saying publicly: “The time has come for new leadership to take Local 2015 to its next great victories.”

What’s the real story?

It turns out she’s jumping ship to become a partner at a political consulting/communications firm based in California, according to a Dec. 7 article in the Los Angeles Times:
“Butler will be a partner in the newly rechristened firm SCRB Strategies, along with veteran strategists Ace Smith, Sean Clegg and Juan Rodriguez. Their clients include Newsom, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a frequent subject of speculation in her own right about 2020 presidential ambitions.”

According to the firm’s website, “SCRB also advises Fortune 500 companies, major developers, and sports franchises regarding crisis, PR, and public affairs.” 

One of the firm’s corporate clients is PG&E, which is facing allegations that its faulty equipment sparked the massive wildfires that ravaged California during the past two years and killed more than 100 people. PG&E will no doubt pay a pretty penny to SCRB.

In other words, Butler’s motivation might be summarized as “ka-ching.”

The firm, formerly known as “SCN Strategies,” has added a “B” at the end of its name to indicate its fourth partner, Laphonza Butler, along with partners Smith, Clegg and Rodriguez.

Interestingly, Butler may soon find herself across a table from Dave Regan, whom she reportedly can’t stomach.


Regan has hired the firm to run some of his failed ballot initiatives, including SEIU-UHW’s 2014 ballot initiative targeting the California Hospital Association.

Like planets caught in the same gravitational field, their paths may soon collide again.