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Top 30 Black Influencers



1199 SEIU

The story of the 21st Century NYS labor movement would be incomplete without a few chapters related to the influence of union leader GEORGE GRESHAM, President of healthcare union 1199 SEIU since 2007.

Under Gresham’s leadership, 1199 SEIU has emerged as a major player in New York economics and political circles and beyond. He directed the successful 2014 collective bargaining effort representing 135,000 union members with the League of Voluntary Hospitals of about 90 institutions in the Greater NY area. He was one of the protagonists behind the passage of the $15 minimum wage in NYS.

A fixture on annual lists of NY power elites, Gresham is also national leader who advocates for social justice, environmental protection, Medicare for All, women’s and immigrants rights.

In 1975 at the age 20, Gresham cut his employment teeth in the housing department at NY Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and later became a clerk in radiology. A union man, he moved up through the ranks from delegate to Secretary Treasurer before his ascendancy to the Presidency.

Today, 1199 SEIU local is NYC’s largest union with over 300,000 members. The SEIU, Service Employees International Union, is the nation’s largest union with upwards of 2 million members. Gresham sits on its Board.