CHICAGO—The state’s largest union of healthcare and child care workers announced Greg Kelley as its new Executive Vice President.
“Greg Kelley brings more than 20 years of experience fighting alongside working women and men for living wages, healthcare and fairness on the job. I look forward to Greg’s leadership as we build power and fight for a just society for all,” said SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher.
Kelley said his passion for improving the lives of working families continues to grow, particularly as the assault on living wages, safe work conditions and benefits have increased as corporations have sought to drive even more to their bottom line.
“I look forward to using my talents and skills in the fight for social and economic justice for all families,” Kelley said. “These are difficult times for working people and we must confront the role of the wealthy 1% in breaking our economy. While Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is quick to scapegoat working people for our state’s problems, he is quietly passing on massive tax breaks to himself and his wealthy friends and dismantling vital public services.
“I will work with our membership and our partners in labor and in the community to build a progressive movement in our states that takes on issues of economic and social justice that affect working people everywhere.”
Kelley was nominated by President Kelleher and was approved by a unanimous vote of the local’s Executive Board on Friday. Kelley previously served as Vice President for Health Systems and Nursing Homes for SEIU Healthcare Illinois. [See brief bio below.]
Kelley succeeds former Executive Vice President April Verrett, who recently joined the leadership team of the California-based SEIU Local 2015.
Greg Kelley brings a passion for social and economic justice to the position of Executive Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri & Kansas. Motivated by his faith tradition and coming from a family of Baptist pastors, Kelley views building power for organized labor as his form of ministry.
Born on the West Side of Chicago and growing up in Maywood, Ill., Kelley started his career in the labor movement as a worker in the Cook County Clerk’s office where he organized co-workers to improve workplace conditions.
With his leadership potential recognized, he went on to work as a union member-intern before being hired as an organizer for the former SEIU Local 46. He successfully organized the first union of museum workers in Chicago at DuSable Museum.
Kelley has held a variety of roles throughout his near 20-year career, including organizer, organizing director, business representative and political director. In 2007, he became Secretary Treasurer at hospital workers union SEIU Local 20.
In 2008, when three SEIU locals merged to form SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri & Kansas – representing 92,000 workers — Kelley continued his role of bargaining contracts for workers as Vice President of the union’s Nursing Home and Hospital Division.
Kelley attended Proviso East High School and the University of Iowa where he majored in Political Science. He was very active in student government and was president of the University’s Black Student Union. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Kelley enjoys running and sports, especially when the White Sox, Bears and Hawkeyes are playing. He is the father of 3 brilliant and beautiful children.