SEIU’s International Executive Board HAS elected Mike Fishman and Rocio Sáenz to help lead the 2.1 million-member union.
Fishman will be International Secretary-Treasurer, the union’s second-highest-ranking leader.
Sáenz will be the first Latina to serve as an SEIU International Executive Vice President.
“As our union continues to focus on income inequality as the number one problem this nation has to solve, Mike and Rocio’s leadership and voices will be vital,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “Just as they have stood up for working people in their communities, they will be powerful advocates for our members across the country.”
Fishman, 64, was raised in Queens, New York, and Connecticut. He has been an SEIU International Executive Vice President since May 2012. Before that, he served for more than 13 years as President of SEIU Local 32BJ, the largest private-sector union in New York State and the largest property services union in the country.
Called a “savvy strategist” by New York magazine, Fishman led organizing drives that more than doubled 32BJ’s membership.
The grandson of a union carpenter who taught him the trade, Fishman joined the labor movement as a rank-and-file carpenter more than three decades ago.
“I am humbled and honored to have the trust of my brothers and sisters in the labor movement in taking on this role,” he said. “Standing up for working people is in my blood, it’s what I know and it’s what I’ll do. It’s a fight for the fundamental promise of America: work hard and you can get ahead.”
“His record at 32BJ shows that no one has been a more dedicated and more effective labor leader than Mike Fishman. I know that he will be a tireless defender on behalf of our members,” Henry said.
Fishman replaces Eliseo Medina, who is retiring effective Oct. 1 to focus full-time on immigration reform.
Rocio Sáenz, 49, emigrated to the United States from Mexico. Initially working low-wage jobs in Los Angeles, she joined 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 2001, she moved to Boston to build the Justice for Janitors program there; she became the President of New England’s property services local in 2003.