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Monica Montgomery
Monica Montgomery appears at Golden Hall on Election Night. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This post originally appeared in the Nov. 10 Politics Report. Get the Politics Report delivered to your inbox.

Monica Montgomery knocked off Council President Myrtle Cole without any institutional support. Mostly.

On Election Night, she delivered a victory speech at the party for local Democrats and made that clear.

“We did this without labor, without the party— this was all, all community,” she said. “And it’s going to change how we do politics in San Diego.”

The organized labor groups most active in city politics – the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, the San Diego Building and Construction Trades, and the Working Families Council – all endorsed Cole. The United Domestic Workers and Unite Here, the hotel workers union, went further and dropped attack mailers against Montgomery.

But Montgomery did have some labor support.

She got the endorsement from Service Employees International Union 221, the largest union of county workers.

Last year, that union took a different tack in its contract negotiations with the county. In what it calls “common good bargaining,” it brought civil rights organizations and community groups to the negotiating table as well, broadening its demands to include policy changes that didn’t directly relate to the union’s wages, benefits and working conditions.

Montgomery represented the ACLU in those negotiations.

One of the arguments in favor of that approach is that it aligns labor groups with their would-be allies on the left.

“It is our hope that the same perspective Montgomery brought to common good bargaining, she’ll bring to the City Council,” said David Lagstein, political director for SEIU 221.

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at

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