Skip to main content

Army veteran and union leader Terry Wade organizes across cultures


“The language barrier is tough, but they light up when they see my ‘SEIU’ sign."

By: Marakah Mancini
Nov 07, 2015


Terry Wade served in the U.S. Army for twelve years, and has another ten years’ experience in the security industry.

“Vets have a lot of skill and experience,” he says. “A lot of veterans come home to work in security, which is a good field. I’ve been doing the work for over ten years.”

“But a lot of security officers find that their companies pay so little that they can’t feed their families. That’s unacceptable for veterans—or for anyone else.”

In order to improve conditions in the security industry, Terry works to organize his union, SEIU Local 1. That work has paid off in unexpected ways.

Terry has had the chance to meet people from Eastern Europe and South America. “The language barrier is really tough, but they light up when they see my ‘SEIU’ sign,” he says.

“We are all from different places and have different backgrounds, but we have one thing in common: We are all struggling for a living wage, better healthcare, and just to be treated with dignity and respect.”