Mike Fishman is the International Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, a position to which he was elected after serving more thirteen years as the President of SEIU Local 32BJ. With 120,000 members in eight states and the District of Columbia, 32BJ is the largest private-sector union in New York State and the largest property services union in the country. Its members work as cleaners in offices, schools, stadiums, arenas, malls and government institutions; building superintendents, doormen and maintenance workers in residential buildings; and as security officers, food service workers and in other property service jobs.
Mike, a union leader for more than 30 years, was elected four times as President of 32BJ. According to Crain's New York Business Magazine, Fishman "methodically built [32BJ] into of the city's fastest-growing and most effective unions," and is widely credited with revitalizing the union through his dedication to a member-driven agenda which prioritizes higher industry standards and membership growth.
Called a "savvy strategist" by New York Magazine, Fishman led large-scale organizing drives that more than doubled 32BJ's membership. Among those who joined the union through organizing campaigns under Mike's leadership are: 10,000 security officers in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.; 8,000 office cleaners in New Jersey; and 3,000 office cleaners in northern Virginia.
The organizing success in key industries has helped to increase 32BJ's leverage in bargaining for members. Most recently, in late 2011, Mike led contract negotiations for 60,000 office building workers in seven states. Despite the tough economy, the union won yearly increases in compensation and continued or improved health care coverage at a time when millions of workers are having their wages cut and benefits reduced.
Mike's success as a labor leader is grounded partly in his understanding that labor, business and government can work cooperatively to spur economic growth and create a broadly shared prosperity. In 2011, he was named by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the New York City Regional Economic Development Council. Mike has also received numerous honors, including from the National Action Network and Alianza Dominica. In 2006, New York Magazine named Mike to the "Power Dozen" list of the most influential New Yorkers in politics.
The grandson of a union carpenter who taught him the trade, Mike's career as a labor activist began when he joined the carpenters' union. After nearly 20 years in that union, during which he served as Director of Organizing, Mike joined SEIU in 1996 as Assistant to the President and then Chief of Staff. Mike was raised in Queens and Connecticut, where he attended public schools. He is married, has a daughter, and lives in New York City.