Issued June 17, 2022
Washington, DC - Two top officers of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have announced their intention to retire after a combined 81 years of service and leadership in the labor movement.
Secretary-Treasurer Gerry Hudson will retire after 45 years in the labor movement and serving as an SEIU officer for 18 years. Gerry brought an unequaled passion and persistence in using the union’s political power to build a democracy where everyone is able to participate fully. He deepened the union’s partnerships in work across movements for justice, and he brought a laser focus to bringing infrequent voters of color into our democracy as a key path to winning for working people. Gerry insisted on confronting both the dog whistle and the megaphone that politicians use on race and led the union’s use of a deep race-class analysis.
“Gerry’s contributions, his life’s work of selfless dedication to SEIU 1199 United Healthcare Workers East, the International Union, and working people across the wider movement both in the U.S. and abroad is a legacy of service that will last for generations,” said Mary Kay Henry, SEIU’s International President.
Valarie Long will retire after 36 years in the labor movement, where she served as President of SEIU Local 82, Executive Vice President of SEIU 32BJ, and Vice President of SEIU. From organizing her own worksite to being one of the pioneers of the model of organizing citywide master agreements to win better wages, benefits, working conditions, and full-time hours for a largely Latino, immigrant, and subcontracted workforce as part of the Justice for Janitors campaign, she understands better than most the power that working people have when they stand together to win. Valarie’s stalwart stewardship of SEIU’s Property Services Division over many years was instrumental in its ability to build one unified organizing plan. Her leadership of the union’s work to increase member engagement, leadership development, and innovation has helped the union be in position to succeed in the future.
“Valarie channels the emotions of key moments in our union, using her own vulnerability to invite us all into the courageous conversations required to link the fights for economic and racial justice,” said Henry. “For me personally, Valarie has been a friend, a trusted advisor, a confidante, and a sister. She will be missed.”
Hudson and Long will be honored for their service at the union’s International Executive Board meeting in Chicago next week.