Héctor J. Figueroa was elected President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union, the largest property services union in the country, in 2012. The union represents 155,000 property service workers in eleven states and Washington, D.C.
32BJ was critical in getting the New York state government to raise its minimum wage to $15. It also spearheaded recent union contracts at JFK and LaGuardia airports. And it is now showing great leadership, with respect to the economic crisis in Puerto Rico.
Héctor knows the island well. He was born in Ponce, where his parents were both public school teachers. In 1998, after 24 years of struggle, they finally won collective bargaining rights with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). At the time, Hector was SEIU’s Organizing Director for Puerto Rico.
On May 14, 2016, 32BJ coordinated and hosted an all-day conference on the fiscal crisis in Puerto Rico. The goal was to share information, develop strategies, and plan concrete actions on behalf of the island.
The conference hall was packed with union members, civic leaders and community activists…and the information was well-organized and thoughtfully presented.
Speakers such as economic historian Cesar Ayala and NiLP Director Angelo Falcón offered great insight and perspective on the current crisis.
The day ended with a call to action, and a concrete set of objectives for the conference attendees.
The effort is also media savvy. It has a memorable slogan “Vamos4PR” and a vivid logo.
It also has an active Twitter account: https://twitter.com/Vamos4PR
With all of this organizing, outreach and activity, 32BJ has clearly joined the battle on behalf of Puerto Rico.
It thus comes as no surprise, that City & State Magazine identified Héctor J. Figueroa as one of the 50 most influential people in New York State politics.
We are proud to report, that Héctor is using this influence on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico. That is what real leadership, and real commitment, looks like.
Hopefully other unions and union leaders, will do the same.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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