1199ers Attend 26th Annual SEIU Convention

May 27, 2016

Winning racial and economic justice are untied goals in union’s Constitution; Gerry Hudson named International Secretary Treasurer.

The Service Employees International Union held its 26th Annual Constitutional Convention May 22-24 in Detroit, MI. with thousands of members from SEIU locals across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico in attendance. 1199SEIU’s delegation was among the largest at the event, joining sisters and brothers from every sector as they tackled challenges around organizing, political action and community development.

“The Convention is about coming together and sharing our successes and celebrating what we’ve done,” said Convention Delegate Beriza Luciano, a substance abuse counselor at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City. “Workers have to fight for respect and dignity. And hearing people from everywhere tell their story gives us all the strength to continue on in the struggle.”

In addition to being built around solidarity, issue-awareness and coalition-building, the Convention is also the Union’s quadrennial election of executive officers and re-establishment and amendment of Constitutional goals. This year, major resolutions passed by the membership include: a new and strategic commitment to win racial and economic justice —with confrontation of the link between the two and resources to disrupt the forces of systemic racism; a call for economic justice for Puerto Rico, by restructuring the island nation’s debt and the implementation of progressive tax reform; and the demand for environmental justice for working people by demanding responsible environmental stewardship, reduced dependence on fossil fuels and support for communities like Flint, MI — mostly poor and largely people of color.

Members also re-elected SEIU Pres. Mary Kay Henry to a third, three-year term leading the organization and elected seven vice presidents to SEIU’s executive body; in a highlight for 1199ers, members enthusiastically affirmed Gerry Hudson for his first term as International Secretary Treasurer. Pres. George Gresham and a sizable contingent joyfully put Hudson’s name in for nomination to the position. Presidential candidate Sec. Hillary Clinton also appeared at the Convention, giving a rousing speech that covered a broad range of topics — from organizing rights to child care. Every high note drew a thunderous round of applause.

“Right to work is wrong for America,” she said. She also vowed to improve conditions for low-wage workers and to act on the scourge of gun violence.

“I think this is wonderful. I’m playing an important role in my Union and I’ll be taking vital information back for those who can’t be here,” said Convention Delegate Margaret Boyce, a CNA at JFK Hartwyck at Edison Estates in Edison, NJ. “I will take back what I learn and teach others about our Union. It’s wonderful to see that we are all the same and all want the same things. This reminds us that, in spite of our differences, we are all human beings when we look at the big picture.”

For more information details about the Convention Resolutions and the Resolutions Committee, click here.