LOS ANGELES, CA — The Executive Board of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99 is pleased to announce the selection of Max Arias as the union’s new Executive Director.
Max, who begins his tenure on February 16, brings vast experience in contract negotiations and grassroots organizing to the union, as well as seven years of teaching experience in his native El Salvador.
“I am impressed with the mission of Local 99 to develop a member-led organization that forms alliances with the community to not only strengthen the power of its members in the workplace, but to be a key player in the struggle for economic justice for all working people,” says Max. “I look forward to working with the membership of Local 99 and with our partners to further our mission of achieving good jobs in our communities and a quality education for all.”
Max most recently served as the Assistant Director of Collective Bargaining and Representation for the Hospital Division of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) in Oakland, CA. He succeeds Scott Washburn who has served as SEIU Local 99’s Interim Executive Director since July, 2014.
An organizer at heart, Max says his passion for social justice was born at an early age when he witnessed and was displaced by the war in El Salvador. “I joined the labor movement because
I strongly feel that only through the struggle of workers can we dream of a society in which we can provide for our families – one where our children will have access to a good education, safe neighborhoods, and enough to eat. Our jobs should allow us to provide them with all of that, and the opportunity to succeed.”
In addition to his work with SEIU-UHW, Max has also led organizing campaigns and served as Chief Contract Negotiator with SEIU Healthcare and SEIU Local 4 in Chicago, Illinois. He began his career with SEIU in 2004 at Local 79 in Michigan helping home care workers form a union. Prior to his organizing work, he taught English-as-a-Second-Language and science and mathematics classes in English and Spanish at various schools in San Salvador, El Salvador.
SEIU Local 99 represents nearly 45,000 employees in public and non-public organizations in early education, child care, K-12, and community college levels. SEIU Local 99 members are: Teacher’s Assistants, Playground Workers, Special Education Assistants, Bus Drivers, Gardeners, Custodians, Cafeteria Workers, Maintenance Workers, Family Service Workers, Child Care Providers, and others working in schools, colleges, and administrative offices throughout Southern California.