We would like to introduce ourselves as the new Co-Trustees of SEIU Local 73. We look forward to building on the work that Trustee Eliseo Medina began with members, staff and allies. We also want to thank Eliseo for his service to Local 73 members as he returns to work with locals in his home state of California.
Together with you and with our staff, we will work hard to restore Local 73 to its rightful role as a strong, progressive, member-driven union. We will also continue to pursue the goals established soon after the trusteeship began:
- End the conflict in the local so we can all focus on the interests of members and working people across our states;
- Provide the best representation possible to members—in the workplace and in the policy debates that threaten public services and the well-being of families across Illinois and Indiana;
- Stabilize the financial condition of the local;
- Increase communication and transparency across the organization; and
- Put the day-to-day operations of the local back on track and restore self-governance as soon as possible.
We are grateful that Eliseo has brought us this far and left his stamp on the direction that we should follow moving forward. Now, together with Deputy Trustee Lenore Friedlaender, we will continue to pursue these goals and rebuild the local to create a better future for its members and for our communities in Illinois and Indiana.
Many of you have already met Co-Trustee Dian Palmer, who previously served as Deputy Trustee after the local was placed under trusteeship earlier this year. Dian has been a nurse for 25 years and an SEIU member for 17 years—and she is still actively involved in improving working conditions and patient care. Dian is also President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, Chair of the SEIU Nurse Alliance, and an Executive Board Member of SEIU. She is a member of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Black Nurses Association. In addition, she serves as a member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Administrative Committee, and the Wisconsin AFL-CIO Board.
Denise Poloyac has lived in Chicago since 1984 and has spent her entire career working to improve the lives of working people. Becoming Co-Trustee of Local 73 is something of a homecoming for Denise since her initial work in SEIU was in Chicago. Denise first worked with Local 73 in the 1990s when she represented the local and its members as an attorney doing arbitrations and Board cases. She then served as Secretary-Treasurer at Local 20 in Chicago where she fought to make it a member-driven local that won for its members. For the past 10 years, Denise has worked for the International Union first in the Health Care Division and most recently as the Director of the Property Services.
We know that there will be many challenges in the upcoming year – not just for Local 73, but also for all of SEIU, for all working people, and for our communities. We will make sure that our members receive the best representation and we will engage members to help lead the important work of Local 73 as we take on the fights to create a city, state and country that live up to our vision for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice.
Local 73 members are a key part of this process. It’s time to move forward to continue the critical work of the local. In the last few months, together we have settled important contracts that improved the lives of SEIU members and families in our communities. In the last two years, hundreds of faculty teaching in Chicago’s universities have joined Local 73—and now instructors at schools across the region are also coming together to form unions.
As we move into the new year, Local 73 members will be standing up against elected officials who are working to make public services into low-wage, no-benefits work that won’t support families. We’ve launched a committee within the local and joined a coalition with other union members to prepare for the fight to preserve the pensions that public employees have earned and worked all their lives to create.
We will also fight back against proposed cuts that would affect the public services we provide and the wellbeing of families across Illinois and Indiana, and against threats to our diverse communities and our rights. Through our combined determination and leadership we will improve the lives of working people in Chicago, Illinois and Indiana and show how we can create a more just society by fighting together.
We hope your holidays are peaceful and restful. We look forward to working with you in the New Year.
Dian and Denise