Heather Conroy was elected Executive Vice President of SEIU in 2016 after serving previously as executive director of SEIU Local 503. Conroy’s approach to leadership is based in determination, collaboration and innovation, values that helped fuel transformative victories for people who provide essential public services and the communities they serve. Under her leadership, over 45,000 family child care providers in California won their union and the right to collective bargaining, a victory nearly 20 years in the making that showcased the courage and commitment of early educators, the majority of whom are Black, Brown and immigrant women.
Through both traditional and creative approaches to organizing, Conroy has helped to unite underpaid workers in both the public and private sectors to hold corporations accountable and win better jobs and services. Her leadership at SEIU Local 503 on “common good bargaining”—an innovative approach to collective bargaining that raises living standards for all Oregonians—garnered national interest and inspired hope for the future of collective bargaining.
In 2012, her leadership and innovation resulted in 22,000 home care workers winning healthcare coverage by resourcefully leveraging the Affordable Care Act. These workers also secured a path to $15 an hour in their contract.
Conroy's dedication to improving the lives of all working people has helped unite tens of thousands of people into SEIU. Under her leadership, SEIU Local 503 in Oregon grew to more than 55,000 members. Conroy was also a leader in the creation of Oregon’s Fair Shot Coalition that helped to raise wages for over 100,000 minimum-wage workers, extend paid sick leave to all Oregon workers and build partnerships around racial and economic justice to lift up everyone in the community. The coalition’s victories also included removing employment barriers for people with a criminal record, taking on racial profiling as a law enforcement tactic, and winning a retirement security program that gives every working Oregonian access to an easy, effective way to build a retirement savings.
Conroy’s motivation to work in labor stems from her early life in rural Pennsylvania when her father and uncles were members of an asbestos workers union. From an early age, she understood that union membership was how her family had a good life and financial security. The first in her family to go to college, Conroy was inspired to pursue a career in the labor movement by her labor studies professor at Pennsylvania State University, Frieda Rozen -- one of the many strong women who have helped propel her forward to follow her passion and lead campaigns that help people changes their lives and communities for the better.
Conroy is married, a mom to an independent 21 year old daughter and a full time stepmom to two tweens.
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