SEIU California Elects New President

SACRAMENTO – Bob Schoonover, a long-time labor leader and strategist, was selected as President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California by the organizations’ Executive Board today. SEIU California is composed of SEIU locals representing over 700,000 workers, including caregivers, janitors, security officers, nurses, other healthcare workers, social workers, other public service workers, school workers, faculty, and others.

“SEIU members inspire me every day with their commitment to justice, equity, and opportunity for every person in our state to achieve the California Dream whether they are black, white, or brown,” said Schoonover. “I’m proud to lead an organization that empowers diverse voices, takes on the fights that matter to our children’s future and creates opportunities for labor union members to lift up all working people.”

Schoonover’s selection comes following the retirement of Roxanne Sanchez, who held the position since 2017. During Sanchez’s tenure, SEIU California has been a strong counterweight to the Trump Agenda in California, leading the fight to protect healthcare, promote inclusion of immigrants, and prevent family separation. In advancing California’s values, SEIU fought for legislation to reduce health care prices, replace the discriminatory cash bail system, and more.

“SEIU’s 700,000 members have clearly defined California’s values and delivered on policies that create a healthier, brighter future for all our children,” said Sanchez. “As President, Bob brings tremendous experience and leadership in health care and wage justice to the crucial work ahead for the labor movement, our state, and nation.”

Since 2010, Schoonover has been President of SEIU Local 721, the largest public-sector union in Southern California representing 97,000 workers. Schoonover’s leadership was crucial in the success of the national Fight for $15 movement on the West Coast, succeeding in raising the raise floors for workers in the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and the State of California. Schoonover also pioneered new health care models that improved service delivery in Los Angeles County. Having risen through the ranks, Schoonover started as a heavy-duty equipment mechanic with the City of Los Angeles in 1979 and first became active with his union during a citywide strike in 1980. In addition to serving as President of Local 721 and SEIU State Council, Schoonover is Vice President of the SEIU International Executive Board, Vice President of the California State Federation of Labor and Vice President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

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