The SEIU International Convention, held every four years, is the highest governing body of our union. Delegates representing every SEIU member must approve all decisions and policies and programs of the union and are meeting to do this work together in Denver, Colo., over the Memorial Day weekend.
A march for justice and dignity for the 99%
The 25th SEIU Convention opened for official business on Tuesday and its 3,000-plus delegates took to the streets of Denver with a clear message: We’re not doing business as usual.
Sneakers on at 7:45 a.m., workers, union members and activists from around the country joined Coloradoans from all walks of life in a march from the Colorado Convention Center to the front steps of Wells Fargo bank, a top corporate-tax-dodger in the U.S.
See photos here…
The theme — and work — of this convention is: “Lead. Unite. Fight. Win for the 99%” and its President, Mary Kay Henry, conveyed the vision to delegates this way:
“It’s not just about whether we believe, brothers and sisters. It’s about whether we will initiate and lead.”
The challenges are visible everywhere: 25 million unemployed Americans… 1 in 5 children go to bed hungry… Henry called such statistics “inexcusable.”
“The solution is clear. The 99% needs to unite. We need to unite at the workplace, we need to unite at the polls, and we need to unite in the streets. We need to organize outside the bounds of our union.
The moment calls for the highest level of unity and reaffirms what we’ve learned in our homes and places of worship: We are in this together and we have a responsibility to each other. We can achieve more together than by ourselves.”
Read the Fox 31 news article: “99 percent” demonstrators march through downtown Denver
Read the Denver Post news article: March, rally in downtown Denver draws more than 1,000 people
SEIU Delegates Unanimously Reelect Mary Kay Henry International President
Member-delegates at SEIU’s 25th International Convention unanimously reelect Mary Kay Henry as 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. “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 told convention delegates earlier today. “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. 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.
Read the entire profile about Mary Kay Henry in the Denver Post: SEIU boss Mary Kay Henry Pushes for Equality, Lift for Workers
The Stories of SEIU Members, the Stories of the 99%
Throughout SEIU’s 25th International Convention in Denver, SEIU members from across the country have shared their stories — stories of the 99% — with the SEIU blog. Below are just a few of the stories of the 99% that SEIU members have shared today.
Removing the Scales From Our Eyes and Conquering our Fear: Rita Young, a security guard and SEIU Local 1 member from Chicago, tells the story of losing her job as a paralegal, becoming a security officer and finding her voice through her union.
Read Rita’s story here.
The Ripple Effect of Change: Kathy Yasi, a child care provider and member of SEIU Local 925 in Seattle, tells the story of working through her union to create more just world for her daughter, the children she takes care of and all working people.
Read Kathy’s story here.
Retiree Members Paved the Way, and We’re Still Fighting: Beverly Bell, a retired member of 1199SEIU UHE, tells the story of organizing her worksite more than 36 years ago — a decision that now affords her the ability to retire with dignity — but she’s not done fighting yet.
Read Beverly’s story here.
A Feeling of Family: Kelley Sims, a homecare worker and member of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, tells her story of becoming a homecare worker and the victories she has won through her union.
Read Kelley’s story here.