SEIU 1021

SEIU elects April Verrett as the union’s first Black international president at the quadrennial convention in Philadelphia
In a historic vote, members also elect former SEIU 1021 President Joseph Bryant as executive vice president and SEIU 1021 President Theresa Rutherford into the SEIU International Executive Board.


SEIU members made history on May 20 by electing April Verrett as international president, making her the first Black woman to lead the union in our 103-year history. Verrett previously served as secretary-treasurer alongside former Mary Kay Henry, who stepped down as international president after an influential 14-year tenure.

Over 3,500 SEIU members from across the country, Puerto Rico, and Canada participated in the vote held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the union’s first in-person convention in eight years.

In addition to Verrett, convention delegates elected former SEIU 1021 President Joseph Bryant as executive vice president and SEIU 1021 President Theresa Rutherford as an international executive board member.

The election of Verrett, Bryant, and Rutherford signal a significant shift in the labor movement and the recommitment of SEIU to a culture and economy that leaves no one behind. The leadership of Verrett, Bryant, and Rutherford embodies the union’s role of ensuring that every worker, particularly Black and brown workers who have historically been written off and overlooked by our nation’s labor laws, are empowered and included in the labor movement’s future.

“I am honored to be elected to the SEIU International Executive Board,” said SEIU 1021 President Theresa Rutherford. “My election to the board means that 1021 members have a direct line to our union’s international leaders. Together we’ll ensure to build worker power from our worksites to the halls of government across the nation.”

Verrett’s presidency in this powerful moment for workers is new, but her leadership is not. In her remarks to SEIU members, Verrett unveiled her ten-year vision for SEIU, including an ambitious goal of uniting one million new members by 2034 by winning bold sectoral organizing victories that raise standards for workers across industries and lift workers who have historically been excluded.

“I am thankful that hardworking SEIU members have trusted me to lead this union as we unleash a new era of worker power,” said April Verrett, newly elected SEIU president. “By joining together, organizing, and – in many cases – striking, working people are taking power back from corporate interests and using that power to lift up their families and communities.

“Make no mistake – working people are under attack and the stakes have never been higher. But the real challenge and opportunity of leading our union in this moment is meeting the momentum of workers across the country – especially the young people of color – who are showing us what’s possible. I’m energized and honored to take on that challenge, and I believe that together we can end poverty wages once and for all.”