Keep Me in the Loop!

Farm workers praise SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry for her years of leadership and support 

Mary Kay Henry’s announcement she is stepping down in May after 14 years as president of the Service Employees International Union brought praise of her leadership and support for farm workers. “Mary Kay is a great labor leader because she recognized each group of workers faces special needs and perils, and she works hard to help address them,” states United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero.

That was behind the growth in her own union, the SEIU, including championing fast food workers and winning major minimum wage hikes in states such as California and New York, and cities such as Chicago and Seattle, among other achievements.

It was also why Mary Kay Henry pushed hard to ensure the UFW had the financial resources to support farm worker organizing over the years. “She has made sure farm workers are treated as equals within the American labor movement,” observes UFW President Emeritus Arturo S. Rodriguez.

Her support for workers seeking to remedy challenges and fulfill aspirations helped the UFW score important milestones in advancing agricultural immigration reform recognizing the special dilemmas farm workers face due to their migrancy and seasonality. The UFW was able to negotiate with grower associations and bipartisan lawmakers and to convince the U.S. Senate to pass a reform bill in 2013, and the House to approve similar measures in 2019 and 2021.

“We will always be grateful for the help and support Mary Kay Henry continues to provide farm workers,” adds Teresa Romero.