36th Annual MLK Celebration Keynote
Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union
Gerry Hudson's outstanding commitment to labor, confronting the realities of long term care, and environmental justice spans decades. He continues to have wide-ranging impact on the fight to improve the lives of working families and their communities.
His dedication to addressing urban sprawl and the disproportionate impacts of environmental degradation on low-income and minority communities informed his participation in the first-ever U.S. labor delegation to the United Nations' climate change meeting in Bali in 2007. He has served on the advisory board of the Apollo Alliance, a labor-based organization that advocates for high-quality job creation in a clean energy economy. He's also served on the board for Redefining Progress, the nation's leading public policy think tank dedicated to developing innovative public policies that balance economic well-being, environmental preservation, and social justice.
Hudson, who has served as Executive Vice President of SEIU since June 2004, leads the union's political program--ensuring that SEIU members and all workers have a strong voice to hold politicians accountable and elect candidates at all levels who stand with working families.
As a result of Hudson's previous leadership of the union's long term care work, SEIU's 580,000 long term care members are building a powerful voice in the workplace and the political arena for both themselves and for the seniors and people with disabilities they support.
He came to SEIU in 1978 from the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale, N.Y., where he was a member of SEIU Local 144. Elected as executive vice president for the former-District 1199 in 1989, Hudson spent more than a dozen years supervising 1199 New York's political action, education, publications, and cultural affairs departments. During his tenure with 1199NY, Hudson coordinated the merger of the 30,000-member Local 144 into SEIU/1199. He also founded the 1199 School for Social Change - a former alternative school in the Bronx - and served as a trustee of the Local 1199 Training and Upgrading Fund, Home Care Workers Benefit Fund, and Michelson Education Fund.
Hudson also has considerable political experience. In 1996, Hudson served as political director of the New York state Democratic Party and helped lead the union's campaigns in support of Jesse Jackson's presidential efforts in New York and the successful New York City mayoral campaign of David Dinkins. He played an instrumental role in the election of H. Carl McCall, the first African American controller in New York state.
Hudson continues to help lead SEIU's efforts to win quality, affordable healthcare for all, immigration reform, and other major initiatives by strengthening the union's partnerships and alliances with community groups. He lives with his wife, Carol Joyner, and their two children, Camara and Amilcar, in Washington, DC.