First African American to head the largest local union in the Midwest
CHICAGO–SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri and Kansas (HCIIMK) announced today the election of Greg Kelley as president along with executive team members Faith Arnold, Executive Vice President, and Maggie Laslo, Secretary-Treasurer.
Kelley, whose first full day in office is today, will lead the union, which represents 90,000 healthcare, child care, nursing home and home healthcare workers in the four states and is the largest in the Midwest region.
Former President Keith Kelleher, who opted not to run for re-election after 37 years in the labor movement and decades at the helm of leadership of the union, congratulated Kelley on his election and will continue to work in a leadership position with the organization. Kelleher has served as president of SEIU Local 880, president of SEIU HCIIMK after a merger, as well as a vice president of the international union.
Kelley’s 20-plus years of labor experience includes working in the Cook County Clerk’s office, where he organized co-workers to improve workplace conditions prior to becoming an organizer at SEIU Local 46. He later served as political director and secretary treasurer of the hospital union SEIU Local 20. After the merger of Locals 4 (nursing homes), 20 and 880 (home care and child care), along with members in Missouri and Kansas, to make HCIIMK, Kelley first assumed the position of director of the Healthcare Division and later as executive vice president. He also is a member of SEIU’s international executive board.
Said Kelley: “I am honored and humbled by the confidence placed in me by the members of our union. I am up to the challenges ahead of leading this great union and continuing the work of winning for our members and working people throughout our states. I have big shoes to fill, as President Kelleher has guided our union well throughout the ups and downs of the struggles we’ve waged on behalf of members.
“I look forward to working with Keith and benefiting from his wisdom and experience as we strive to lift wages, workplace conditions for working people and bring dignity and respect for our members in their communities and their places of employment.”
Kelleher said: “When I decided not to run for re-election so that new leadership can rise and lead in this pivotal moment for our union, our state and our country, I could think of no one better than Greg Kelley to continue what we’ve started.
“I’ve known Greg for many years and we’ve stood side-by-side in far too many battles to mention in the fight for working families. I’m honored to continue to work with Greg in any capacity that would best utilize my experience to help develop future leaders of the labor movement.”