Standing up for workers is in newly elected SEIU executive vice president Mike Fishman's blood. His father was in the union, and his mother was booted from a PTA in Connecticut for speaking out in favor of school integration. He joined the labor movement 30 years ago as a rank and file carpenter and has been fighting on behalf of the 99% ever since.
Under his leadership, 32BJ doubled in size, raising standards for tens of thousands of property services workers along the East Coast. And in January, despite a tough economy and a war on workers by the right, Mike led the members to win higher wages and affordable healthcare for 60,000 workers across seven states.
"We are in the fight of our generation. A fight for the middle class, a fight for the basic values that built this country - that everyone should do their fair share, that hard work should be rewarded, the idea that we can overcome any challenge no matter how grave as long as we put our self-interest aside and pull together as a country. It's a fight we can't afford to lose, and it's a fight we have to be all in to win."
Alba Vasquez, a 12-year veteran of 32BJ and one of its Executive Board members, said today, "It has been an incredible privilege to work with Mike. He has given us the strength to work toward our goals and for the future of our children, to build the future of our labor movement and to have a voice defending our lives. I am incredibly proud of him and wish him the best of luck at the International."
"Mike is an incredible leader and a fierce fighter who for decades has gone to the mat for working people, many of whom never imagined that joining together in a union could ever be possible," said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. "The officer team and I look forward to Mike bringing the many lessons he has learned leading 32BJ to help set the course of the entire union."