28. Yvonne Walker
The head of Local 1000 of the Service Employees International Union is Yvonne Walker, who has led the local for 12 years and is the first African American woman to ever have that job. Her local represents nearly 100,000 state workers, and that’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to paying dues, demonstrating, carrying signs, organizing and negotiating. Walker, who started her state career 25 years ago working as a legal secretary for the Justice Department, has had a turbulent two years, but as far we can tell she’s still in the saddle. She’s weathered the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which blocked unions’ ability to collect fees from nonmembers, and she’s survived dissension in her own ranks. The most recent contract with the Newsom administration – negotiated before the pandemic – called for a 7 percent raise over three years and increased health benefits. Walker, who hails from Oceanside, is a Marine Corps veteran.
Updated Aug. 11, 2o20