Issued May 22, 2016
DETROIT, MI- Today, SEIU’s Quadrennial Convention delegates, which comprise SEIU’s highest governing body re-elected Mary Kay Henry as International President. Gerry Hudson, who previously served as Executive Vice President, was elected as International Secretary-Treasurer. Two Executive Vice Presidents were re-elected, Valarie Long and Rocio Saenz, and five new vice presidents were elected: Neal Bisno, Luisa Blue, Heather Conroy, Scott Courtney and Leslie Frane.
“SEIU members’ unstoppable movement for change has led the way in shifting the debate in this country on inequality and penetrated the national consciousness,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “I am honored that the two million hard-working service and care workers of SEIU have chosen me, Gerry Hudson, and our Executive Vice Presidents to serve them as we continue to build strength and a voice in our economy and democracy for working families across North America.”
Background on SEIU Officers:
Mary Kay Henry, International President
In 2010, Mary Kay Henry became the first woman elected to lead SEIU, after more than 30 years of helping unite healthcare workers. She leads rooted in the belief that when individuals join together they can make the impossible possible. In 2015 she was named one of the 100 most creative leaders by Fast Company Magazine and was included in the 2015 top 50 visionaries reshaping American politics by Politico magazine for SEIU’s innovative leadership in propelling the fight for living wages embodied in the historic movement known as the “Fight for $15.” Under her leadership, SEIU has won major victories to improve working families’ lives by strengthening and uniting healthcare, property services, and public sector workers with other working people across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Whether on the picket line with workers, knocking on doors with SEIU members or behind a megaphone at community rallies, Mary Kay Henry believes in the global family of working people. She raises her voice every day to steward the fight for an economy and democracy that work for all of us.
Gerry Hudson, International Secretary Treasurer
Gerry Hudson's outstanding commitment to labor, confronting the realities of long term care, and environmental justice spans decades. He was honored by Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations for his extraordinary leadership and continues to have a wide-ranging impact on the fight to improve the lives of working families and their communities. He had previously served, since 2004, as Executive Vice President of SEIU where he led the union's political program--ensuring that SEIU members and all workers have a strong voice to hold politicians accountable and elect candidates at all levels who stand with working families. His dedication to addressing urban sprawl and the disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation on low-income and minority communities informed his participation in the first-ever U.S. labor delegation to the United Nations' climate change meeting in Bali in 2007. As a result of Hudson's previous leadership of the union's long term care work, SEIU's long term care members are building a powerful voice in the workplace and the political arena for both themselves and for the seniors and people with disabilities they support.
Valarie Long, Executive Vice President
Valarie Long is Executive Vice President of the Property Services Division of the Service Employees International Union, representing more than 375,000 janitors, security officers, airport workers, food service, light manufacturing, laundry and maintenance workers across North America. She brings nearly 30 years of experience developing leaders to her role as the International Executive Vice President of SEIU's Leaders in Action for Justice, the leadership programs for members, staff and elected leaders that is designed to prepare the scale of talented and inclusive leaders we need to win campaigns now and lead the movement for social and economic justice for generations to come. As part of SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign, Valarie helped pioneer the innovative model of organizing city-wide master agreements to win better wages, better conditions, improved health-care, and full-time opportunities for a largely Latino and immigrant, subcontracted workforce. Now in more than 30 North American cities, the Justice for Janitors campaign continues to inspire workers worldwide.
Rocio Saenz, Executive Vice President
Rocio Sáenz has served as an SEIU Executive Vice President since 2013. Prior to her election, she headed the property services New England Local in Boston, which represents 18,000 workers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Sáenz has advocated for workers' rights and community empowerment most of her adult life. She emigrated from Mexico to Los Angeles, where she initially worked low-wage jobs. Sáenz became an organizer for SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign in 1988, and was part of a team that led a successful campaign to organize L.A. janitors. In August 2001, Sáenz moved to Boston to build the Justice for Janitors program and a year later, she led thousands of Boston janitors on a month-long strike that drew widespread support from the media, clergy, politicians and community groups. The strike ended with an historic settlement that dramatically improved workers' wages, benefits and workplace rights.
Neal Bisno, Executive Vice President
Prior to being elected Executive Vice President, Neal Bisno served as President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the state’s largest union of nurses and healthcare workers, representing nearly 25,000 frontline staff in hospitals, nursing homes, home and community based services, and State facilities. Neal joined the in 1989 and has served in various leadership capacities at SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania since 1995 where he doubled the size of the local union through relentless focus on organizing and on driving long term strategy to turn the politics of the state. He has led a signature health systems fight at UPMC, where not yet union workers just won $15/hour at the largest private employer in Pennsylvania. In collaboration with partners at AFSCME, Neal helped 20,000 participant-directed homecare workers gain a first-ever voice for themselves and their consumers under an Executive Order issued by Governor Wolf in February 2015. Neal’s efforts have helped thousands of nurses and healthcare workers improve their work environment and the care they provide to their patients.
Luisa Blue, Executive Vice President
Luisa Blue has dedicated the last four decades of her life to organizing and advocating for workers’ rights through the union. She previously served as the Chief Elected Officer of the SEIU Local 521 representing over 55,000 public service workers who provide vital community services from the Silicon Valley, down the Monterey-Santa Cruz Coast and into California’s Central Valley. In 1977, she worked as an RN at San Francisco General Hospital and joined the union where she become more empowered and active and helped organize a successful campaign that improved collective bargaining rights for county registered nurses. Luisa expanded the fight to unite nurses on a national level as a founding member of the SEIU Nurse Alliance. She has also served on the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Executive Board and served two terms as their national president. She continues to lead in the advancement of AAPI worker’s rights, civil rights and economic justice.
Heather Conroy, Executive Vice President
Heather Conroy previously served as Executive Director of SEIU Local 503, representing state, university and local government and non-profit workers as well publicly funded care providers and nursing home workers in Oregon. Under her leadership, SEIU Local 503 grew to over 55,000 workers strong through traditional and creative approaches to new organizing. She has led contract campaigns and negotiations that resulted in better working conditions for tens of thousands of workers including “common good bargaining”—an innovative approach to collective bargaining that raises living standards for all Oregonians which garnered national interest. In 2012, her leadership and innovation resulted in 22,000 homecare workers winning healthcare coverage and in 2015, she led the same group of workers to be the first groups of homecare workers in the nation to secure a path to $15/hour in their contract.
Scott Courtney, Executive Vice President
For the past 33 years, Scott Courtney has helped workers across industries build a strong voice at work. Having been raised in a union household, Scott’s has a deep understanding of the challenges working people face. Prior to being elected as Executive Vice President, Scott served as SEIU’s Organizing Director, where he helped build the Fight for $15 movement, that has been hailed by Slate as “the most successful progressive political project of the late Obama era, both practically and philosophically.” Scott also led organizing campaigns for SEIU Healthcare, negotiating innovative agreements that made it possible for thousands of healthcare workers at hospitals affiliated with major for-profit hospital corporations like Tenet and HCA to join SEIU.
Leslie Frane, Executive Vice President
Leslie Frane has 28 years of experience as a union leader, advocacy strategist and coalition builder. Prior to her election to Executive Vice President she served as Director of SEIU Healthcare, which represents over one million health care workers in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, including approximately 500,000 home care workers and 500,000 workers in hospital and nursing home settings. Leslie coordinated the union’s efforts to organize non-union healthcare workers, to raise wage and benefit standards for all healthcare workers, and to expand access to high quality, affordable healthcare for everyone in our communities. She oversaw SEIU’s efforts to shape and implement healthcare reform in the U.S. and to strengthen the voice of workers in public policy decisions that influence all aspects of the healthcare delivery system. Leslie also served a nine-year tenure, as President of SEIU’s Oregon Local 503, where she nearly doubled in membership and became a respected voice for working families and for the essential healthcare and public services that Oregonians continue to rely upon.