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Leadership to Build New Power for Working People

At our 2012 Convention, SEIU delegates committed to build a leadership development system to “build a massive 99% movement.” Since then, local unions, in partnership with the Leaders in Action for Justice (LAJ) department, have recruited and trained 28,439 member leaders and 209,532 activists—exceeding the goals delegates set four years ago. Together, with more than 1,000 local and International staff members who have been a part of our leadership development system, these member leaders are building our movement for economic, social, environmental and racial justice, and equality for women, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The ongoing success of this leadership development system depends upon our commitment to integrating it throughout our organization and throughout our work and adapting it for the challenges ahead. Insightful leaders will bring the kind of collective wisdom and strategic thinking to our union that will allow us to innovate and create new organizations to build power for working people in the coming age. We must continue to invest in those leaders.

Therefore, be it resolved that:

  1. All locals shall create leadership development plans for all levels of leaders (member leaders, staff and elected and senior leadership). These plans shall:
    — Be aligned with the short term and long term strategic goals of the local and the International;
    — Be responsive to the local’s analysis of their Organizational Equity and Inclusion data; and
    — Include the competencies in SEIU’s Leadership Standards.
  2. Locals and the International shall continue to track and report demographic data, and work to improve tracking practices for more accurate data.
  3. Locals shall continue to track and report member leader and activist data, and the International should create a robust accountability system to support locals.
  4. All local and international union campaigns shall have leadership development goals, including Organizational Equity and Inclusion.
  5. All locals shall have a MLA Coordinator who is empowered to hold their field program accountable to leadership development metrics, and who is connected to counterparts around the union.
  6. The International shall continue to support cross‐local learning communities, like the MLA Coordinators, BOLD‐Rockwood Cohorts, Facilitators, Member Resource Center Directors, Technologists and Millennial Leaders. TEACH, the online platform for those learning communities shall continue to be expanded.
  7. We will develop and utilize innovative technologies and share best practices to engage more members in all aspects of the union, including political engagement at every level, local, state, provincial and federal, to advance our issues, elect champions for working people and hold them accountable.
  8. Every local shall have a plan to identify, recruit and develop member leaders under the age of 35.
  9. Locals and the International union shall collaborate to invest in each other’s success and hold each other accountable to these eight building blocks.

This leadership development system will be essential in the next four years to carry out the key strategies laid out in Resolution 117 We Are Unstoppable: Our Program to Win for Working People. In addition to continuing to contribute power to our unionwide and local campaigns, we shall turn the future focus of our collective leadership to:

  • Innovate to strengthen and transform our union to build and sustain the power to win for working people in our rapidly changing environment. In an environment in which wealthy special interests are making it harder for people to create and sustain unions, members’ commitment to the union and understanding that their participation matters is more important than ever.
  • Educate and mobilize ourselves and our co‐workers in our determination to take on racism—particularly anti‐Black racism—to create a world where racial equity prevails, where all of us can participate, prosper and reach our full potential.
  • Develop the next generation of SEIU leaders, creating an army of activists to usher in forward‐thinking organizational change.
  • Partner with not‐yet‐union leaders and grassroots community activists in local campaigns, combining the energy, wisdom and leadership, so that we can learn from each other and create stronger bonds for greater collaboration.

The building blocks of our leadership development work can be found in “Leadership Forward Essentials,” the guiding document to this resolution.