Henry Outlines Vision to Confront Income Inequality, Achieve Highest Level of Unity in Progressive Movement
DENVER, CO - Member-delegates at the 2.1 million-member Service Employees International Union's 25th Convention today unanimously re-elected Mary Kay Henry International President. Henry's election to the top post at SEIU comes as working people in Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States continue to feel the devastating impact of the growing gap between the rich and everyone else.
"We must take broad, sweeping action to address this crisis," Henry said to 4,000 guests and delegates. "Today, on behalf of working people everywhere, we are committing to training and mobilizing hundreds of thousands of leaders in our union to re-elect President Barack Obama, to demand that the 1% pay their fair share, to insist on good jobs now and an investment in vital services like education and healthcare, and to create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants."
Henry called on the SEIU member delegates to unite and organize voters in their communities. "The economy and broken democracy will only get fixed if we unite at the polls this November. That's why we've made winning the re-election of our President with a mandate for working people our number #1 priority."
The Detroit native also called for the highest level of unity within the progressive movement. "It's time for us to re-assert what was instilled in all of us by our families, by our houses of worship, by our schools and by our communities--that we are all in this together," Henry said. "Our greatest responsibility as a movement is to restore a vibrant middle class and to continue fighting for social justice."
SEIU member delegates also unanimously re-elected Eliseo Medina for International Secretary Treasurer, the number two post in the union. Medina's labor activism began in 1965, when, as a 19-year-old grape-picker, he participated in the historic United Farm Workers' strike in Delano, CA. Convention delegates also unanimously re-elected Executive Vice Presidents Kirk Adams, Gerry Hudson, Eileen Kirlin, Valarie Long and Tom Woodruff. Mike Fishman, the current president of SEIU Local 32BJ, who led that union to nearly triple its size to 120,000 members in eight states and Washington, D.C., was also unanimously elected to serve as the newest International Executive Vice President.