Valarie Long is an International Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union. She leads the Property Services Division which represents more than 386,000 janitors, security officers, airport workers, food service, light manufacturing, laundry and maintenance workers throughout North America. She also oversees Leaders in Action for Justice -- SEIU's leadership development program for member leaders, officers and local union staff.
Long brings more than 30 years of organizing and leadership development experience to her role. From organizing her own worksite to being one of the pioneers in the model of organizing citywide master agreements to win better wages, benefits, working conditions and full-time hours for a largely Latino, immigrant and subcontracted workforce as part of the Justice for Janitors campaign, she understands the importance of working people standing together to win.
That innovation spread across the country and property services campaigns including the SEIU Stand for Security campaign, which unites thousands of security officers. It has been described as the largest movement of African American workers since A. Phillip Randolph formed the first Black Union for Pullman Porters in 1925. Through these organizing efforts, SEIU is now the largest union of private subcontracted security officers, with more than 50,000 members.
Long has contributed to the union's joining the national effort to address pay inequality, family and medical leave, and workplace violence against women. Her first job as an organizer with SEIU was in what was called the "clerical division." She helped office workers find their voice and unite in SEIU through District 925's organizing effort at the University of Cincinnati.
She was one of 100 women arrested for demonstrating on Capitol Hill in September 2013 to help keep families together and win commonsense immigration reform. Long has built global worker solidarity and power for property services workers around the globe in her capacity as a steering committee member and executive board member of Union Network International. UNI is a global union federation that represents more than 1 million workers in 125 unions across 70 countries and holds global organizing agreements with several multinational companies including janitorial multinationals and the three largest security companies in the world.
Long grew up in a pro-union household in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio: her father and grandfather worked at the steel mill and were active union members; her mother worked at the Ford Motor Co. plant and was a UAW member; her grandmother was an LPN. Long's first organizing experience -- as a single mother -- was organizing her worksite during a campaign led by the Communications Workers of America, where she went off the job and worked as an organizer in Columbus, Ohio, for a couple of years. She found her way to SEIU in 1986; hired as an organizer at the University of Cincinnati.
Long enjoys spending her free time with her grandchildren and in her garden in Laurel, Md.