Sisters and brothers,
I’m honored to announce the selection of Simboa Wright to the office of Vice President of SEIU 721 and Adolfo Granados to the office of Treasurer. Their selection comes after a thorough interview process, and both were approved by a unanimous vote of our union’s Executive Board.
Simboa and Adolfo bring decades of organizing, advocacy, and leadership development experience to their new roles in our union, and I couldn’t be happier serving alongside them as your SEIU 721 President. Simboa and Adolfo have both been instrumental in our union’s Rise and Resist organizing and membership work, and their tireless dedication has delivered real results. Even in a post-Janus era, SEIU 721 leads the country in membership density and new member sign-ups, and we’re not slowing down any time soon.
Incoming Vice President Simboa Wright has worked for the City of Los Angeles as a Wastewater Collection Worker II for 20 years, and has been an active leader in our union since joining in 2001. As a steward, and later as a member of our Executive Board and Chair of our union’s African American Caucus, Simboa has shown a deep dedication to social and worker justice for nearly two decades. Simboa was a key architect of our union’s groundbreaking Fix LA campaign, which brought together the Coalition of City Unions and community organizing groups in a one-of-a-kind common-good bargaining table that fought for improvements for City employees as well as the communities they serve.
Adolfo Granados will be serving as our union’s Treasurer, and enters the role with over 22 years as an Eligibility Worker with Los Angeles County. As a Steward Coach, Adolfo has been instrumental in implementing SEIU 721’s Representational Excellence program and skilling up new stewards to tackle issues at their worksites. Adolfo is an active member of LA County’s Bargaining Policy Committee, as well as the union’s Latino Caucus, Social Justice Caucus, and Environmental Justice Committee.
Simboa and Adolfo join Secretary Lillian Cabral and myself as the officers of SEIU 721, and together with our union’s Executive Board, we’re responsible for turning our members’ goals and vision into reality.
While we continue to mourn the passing of our sister, President Linda Dent, we remain steadfast in our commitment to fulfilling her vision for a more just future for our members, our families, and the communities we serve. Here’s how we’ll do it:
For years, SEIU 721 has led the nation in developing groundbreaking, cutting-edge campaigns that win for our members and their families. As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve hit the ground running to ensure that our economic recovery is an equitable one that preserves the right of workers to join unions and take collective action. At the same time, we’ve used our strong, collective voice to remind local governments and decision makers of the sacrifices SEIU 721 members made throughout the pandemic, and fought to secure meaningful long-term investments in the frontline services we provide.
Our union has the tools and know-how to win better wages, stronger benefits, and long-term financial security for our members. Our organizing teams lead comprehensive, field–driven campaigns to win at our worksites and at the bargaining table. Our top-notch Legal and Advocacy teams have our members’ backs on the job, and our Government Relations team uses our member power to elect pro-worker politicians that share our values, and holds them accountable when times get tough.
If we’ve learned one thing in the past 10 years of contract campaigns, it’s that public workers win better contracts by joining with community allies on common good strategies. Simboa Wright knows this. He was a key player in the effort to build the Fix LA Coalition that delivered a strong contract for LA City workers and the Targeted Local Hire Program that has lifted 2,000 Angelenos out of poverty.
Our union attracts a lot of attention for our massive street actions to pass important legislation and win good contracts, but some of the most important work we do is quiet, behind-the-scenes advocacy for individual workers. Adolfo Granados knows this. As one of our expert trainers, Adolfo coaches stewards to understand and enforce our contracts. He teaches them when to work cooperatively and when to fight to get the best result for our members. Excellent representation means no fight is too big, no fight is too small.
Every time SEIU 721 members get a mailer urging us to “give yourself a raise” by dumping our union membership, you can be sure it was sent by a sleazy union-busting organization like the Freedom Foundation, which is funded almost exclusively by the Koch family and other ultra-right billionaires. We will continue to expose these groups and their donors, who are behind efforts to oppose the minimum wage, roll back clean water protections, and undermine the Voting Rights Act.
Our union will continue to work closely with our community partners to address the most pressing issues facing our members and the residents we serve. In the streets, at our worksites, and at the ballot box, our union is a powerful force in the fight to win justice in our communities. Make no mistake: the Fight For $15 proved that our unity and focus can transform the impossible into reality.
More than 30 million Americans now earn their primary income from gig employment, such as driving for Uber or making deliveries for DoorDash. These companies are laser-focused on cutting compensation, avoiding health insurance and retirement mandates and exempting themselves from worker protection laws. Local governments want to follow their lead, but we’re leading the effort to protect good jobs and keep the gig economy out of government.
The case for union membership is overwhelming. Workers with unions earn more, retire with more security and enjoy greater protection and a stronger voice in the workplace. By growing our union and helping workers in other sectors form their own, we create more leverage to secure good contracts for our own members, address issues in our own communities, and win big fights for racial and economic justice across the country.
We will continue to develop and implement innovative new organizing models, and fight to pass the federal PRO Act and similar state laws to prevent corporate giants like Uber, Lyft, and McDonald’s from spending millions on coercive tactics to intimidate workers from organizing.
Sisters and brothers, we have a lot of work ahead of us. But I know that with the leadership of our officers and dedicated Executive Board, and the tireless organizing of rank-and-file members across our union, we will meet this moment and confront these challenges head on.
Together, we will win.
David Green, SEIU 721 President