Skip to main content

From the SEIU Blog Post
by Mary Kay Henry,
SEIU Interntional President

The SEIU family is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our most beloved leaders, former SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Betty Bednarczyk, who passed away February 13 in Minnesota.

Betty started working for SEIU in 1960 for SEIU Local 113, "Minnesota's Healthcare Union." I first met Betty when I began working at Local 113 in 1980. She immediately took me under her wing, showing me the ropes at every nursing home, bargaining table, hospital labor management meeting, and every other role imaginable in a Local Union.

I witnessed Betty's commitment to excellence in leadership begin to evolve when she was an office worker who decided to run for a Local 113 leadership position because she believed the members deserved the very best from their union.

Read full memorial tribute here:

And from former SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Julie K. Schnell:

When I started at the local over thirty years ago, Betty was still a business agent.  I was working in the office as support staff when she became the Secretary Treasurer of SEIU Local 113, which at that time was the top position in the local. She is the one who gave me the chance to become a business agent, and moved my labor career forward.

Betty was a champion for women, when there weren’t many women leaders in the labor movement, but she never carried that banner in an obvious way. At a time when there were very few women leaders to look up to and admire, Betty was there. She was, if not the first, one of the first women leaders, not only within our union, but also within the state and SEIU. She is the type of person who carried it without it being obvious, in the way that she did the work and her commitment to the members.

More tributes from SEIU Healthcare Minnesota here:

Formerly known as SEIU Local 113, Minnesota's Healthcare Union, grew tremendously under Betty's leadership. Even as other union were losing ground. I remember that the Local received an award for organizing shortly after I moved to Texas in 1995. This is no small feat at time when unions were mostly losing, not gaining, members. Very sorry that I cannot find hard figures, but I remember that the local had 10,000 members when I left. Today there are 15,000 members:(

I was proud to be a shop steward for Local 113, Minnesota's Healthcare Union. The difference of working union and working nonunion would take an entire diary to write about. Let's sum it up this way: it boils down to sitting as equals at the bargaining table and having a voice in the conditions of labor regarding, not only wages and hours, but also safety, quality care, time off for illness, time off for family emergencies, and many other issues that affect our daily lives.

RIP Betty. And thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to Service Workers. We will carry on the good fight.


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site