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.Read full memorial tribute here:
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.
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.More tributes from SEIU Healthcare Minnesota here:
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.
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:(http://www.seiuhealthcaremn.org/...)
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.