Immigration reform champion to retire from labor union


“In my years at SEIU and in the labor movement, I have taken constant inspiration from workers who want nothing more than respect on the job and fair wages and benefits so they can support their families. I take this inspiration with me as I now focus my full energy on passing commonsense immigration reform, a campaign that we will win this year,” Medina said.

Medina first joined the SEIU in 1986, and was later elected as an international executive vice president in 1996. He took on the No. 2 job in 2010, replacing Anna Burger, who bowed out in the race for SEIU president against Mary Kay Henry, the surprise victor for the top job.

Henry praised Medina for his service.

“He is an unwavering advocate for SEIU members and all workers in our country who want to make a better life for themselves and their families. Whether it was Justice for Janitors or the current fight to pass commonsense immigration reform, Eliseo is always there to offer his leadership and guide our campaigns to victory,” Henry said.

Medina has a long history with the labor movement. In 1965, he, then a teenaged grape-picker, took part in a United Farm Workers’ strike in Delano, Calif. Medina later became a national vice president for the farm workers’ union, working alongside labor and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez.

Medina has been a key voice for immigration reform this year.

During the 2012 campaign, he was critical of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s stance on immigration reform. In addition, Medina had been involved in discussions with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on how to best fashion immigration reform legislation this year.