Staff + Leadership

Sergio Salinas Stepping Down as President of SEIU6 Property Services NW

Zenia Javalera will take over as president following her election by the Executive Board


Leave a comment

Remembering David Ayala-Zamora

It is with great sadness that the SEIU6 family announces the loss of longtime organizer and mentor David Ayala-Zamora. David passed away last night surrounded by family in Arizona.


“David was one of the very best community organizers. From El Salvador to Seattle, he brought his deep experience and his indomitable spirit to the struggle for working class justice. He was hands-on and he was honest, and he had everyone’s respect. David’s impact on our union is immeasurable. Over the past twenty years, we’ve been honored to call him organizer, field director, and advisor. But more than that, he was our brother and our friend.”
–Sergio Salinas, President, SEIU6

“David was a teacher of class struggle. It was in his bones. He was motivated by a genuine love for people. He fought for the working class, and he did everything with humor. We have learned so much from him.”
– Fred Prockiw, Director of Staff and Member Development, SEIU6

“Our hearts go out to David’s family and to his children. This is a great loss for us and for the labor community. David stood with us for so many fights, and even joined us once more at Sea-Tac to support airport workers’ call for healthcare earlier this month. We cannot overstate how much his presence, his wisdom, and his spirit have meant to our union.”
– Zenia Javalera, SEIU6 Secretary-Treasurer

Leave a comment

Honoring Our Longtime Leaders

Charles 342_Edited

Our union is strong because of members who step up, show up, and speak out. We want to honor two of our members who have done so much to empower their fellow workers over the course of many years.

Charles Pannell is a Shop Steward and Executive Board Member who has been active in our union since he started working janitorial at 999 3rd Ave in 1991.

Pannell got involved with the union during a contract fight. “The bosses wanted to give us a dime. We had the organizers on standby, and threated to walk off the job at midnight if they didn’t meet our demands. Just before midnight, the bosses relented. We got our money,” he said.

When he was volunteered to become his building’s shop steward, he asked himself, How bad can it be? “I’ve been one ever since,” he said. “You make a difference for your people.”

Jesus Sergio_Edited

Jesus García-Sanchez (pictured left with President Salinas) has served for many years as a Shop Steward and Executive Board Member. He put his energy into nearly every contract fight our union has undertaken over the past 26 years, and our union is stronger because of him. García-Sanchez announced his retirement from our union’s Executive Board in March. President Salinas thanked him for his service, applauding him for having been an uncompromising supporter of workers’ rights for decades.

“Everything has a beginning and an end,” García-Sanchez said. “It is my hope that all of you will continue this fight.”

Leave a comment

SEIU History

BSEIU copy

  • In 1921, members of seven small janitor unions dared to dream they could build their strength by forming a single organization, the Building Service Employees International Union. A union of mostly immigrant workers chartered by the then-AFL, BSEIU was primarily organized janitors and window washers in its early years. In addition to these, it eventually organized a range of other service workers, including doormen, elevator operators, nonacademic school employees, healthcare workers and public employees as well as service workers based in bowling alleys, stadiums and cemeteries, to mention just a few.
  • The BSEIU changed its name to Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in 1968. Chicago-based Local 1, SEIU’s first local union, is still organizing janitors and security officers today.
  • In the years during and following the Great Depression, the union was the first in the country to help other service workers like hospital caregivers and public employees unite together in a union, paving the way for the modern SEIU’s three core industries: property servicespublic services and health care. In 1968, the union was renamed the Service Employees International Union to reflect its membership and key sectors.
  • SEIU’s membership has grown from 625,000 in 1980 to more than 2.1 million today. At a time when the majority of organized labor was shrinking, SEIU was aggressively uniting workers’ strength – largely in the fast-growing service industries. In 2000, SEIU had united 1.4 million members, to became the largest and fastest growing union in North America.
  • SEIU represents more immigrants than any other union, and its membership is among the most diverse in the labor movement. Since 1996, over 1.2 million workers have united with SEIU, many of them women and people of color. Also that year, SEIU officers also committed to diversify the union’s leadership to reflect the membership, and today, more than 50 percent of SEIU members are in local unions led by a woman or person of color.
  • Following the 2004 presidential elections, SEIU launched a widely publicized dialogue to help rebuild the labor movement following several decades of decline. Despite massive economic changes in our world today, the strategies, structure, and priorities of the AFL-CIO, and many unions, haven’t changed much since the federation was founded 50 years ago – prompting SEIU and four major unions to disaffiliate from the AFL-CIO in the summer of 2005 and build something stronger to help unite the 90 percent of workers who have no union.
  • At a historic founding convention in St. Louis on September 27, 2005, SEIU, along with 6 other unions representing 5.5 million workers–the Teamsters, UNITE HERE, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Laborers, the Carpenters and the United Farm Workers–formed the Change to Win Federation to develop joint strategic organizing campaigns to help ensure that workers, not just executives and stockholders, benefit from today’s global economy. With a key focus to unite non-union workers by industry, the new federation aims to empower working people in this country so that they can build the strength to make their voices heard in their jobs, their communities, and in Washington. The delegates elected SEIU’s Anna Burger as CTW federation chair – making her the first woman in U.S. history to ever head a labor federation.
Leave a comment