By Justine Villasenior
This past December we celebrated the retirement of Rosalino (Lino) Pedres, vice president of SEIU United Service Workers West and president of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, at a special holiday surprise party. Local Union Members, leadership and his friends and family were there to honor Lino’s dedication and commitment to the fight for workers.
Lino began his journey as a janitor in 1987. Knowing that there was more he could do within his union to help gain better wages and benefits for janitors he became a worker leader in SEIU Local 1877. After a successful organizing drive, Lino became a union organizer for his Local.
When Lino came to Sacramento, he and his team started working to organize union janitors in the Sacramento area. During the organizing of janitors Lino’s team played a key role in a new organizing strategy called Justice for Janitors where union leaders, community supporters and members sought arrests during demonstrations in order to bring attention to their their cause. As a result the union was recognized as representing the majority of commercial janitors in Sacramento.
Lino, his team and their community allies also played a key leadership role in organizing a strike which created the largest increase in wages and benefits for janitors in the United States. For the first time, Sacramento janitors got employer-paid health care for their children.
As a result of his service to the members of Local 1877, he was elected vice president of SEIU-United Service Workers West in Sacramento.
Lino will continue to play a role in guiding the Labor Movement in the area both as president of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and as chair of the Regional Organizing Committee.
We congratulate Lino on his retirement from SEIU-USWW and wish him well as he continues his legacy in the Labor movement and remains an advocate for workers rights.