SEIU leader Eliseo Medina to keynote Northern California banquet

OAKLAND, Calif. - SEIU International Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina will be the keynote speaker at the Northern California People's Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet on Sunday, Nov. 18, the banquet committee announced this week. The banquet will be held Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. at Hs Lordships Restaurant on the Berkeley Marina.

After more than 30 years in the labor movement, Eliseo Medina is one of the nation's most visionary leaders, who has inspired thousands of workers to make their dreams real. In 1996, he made history when he was elected as the first Mexican American to a top leadership post at the 1.4 million member Service Employees International Union, the nation's largest union.

Appointed by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to the labor federation's Special Committee on Immigration Policy, Medina's leadership was instrumental in the AFL-CIO Executive Council's historic shift in immigration policy in February 2000.

Medina was also a key strategist in the recent Los Angeles strike by SEIU Local 1877's building service workers, who in April of last year won the largest wage increases in the 15-year history of SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign. In addition, he helped more than 100,000 homecare workers in California - most working for minimum wage aiding seniors and the disabled to remain independent in their homes - to secure $100 million in the state budget for raises and health care benefits this year. As a 19-year-old grape picker, Eliseo Medina participated in the historic United Farm Workers' strike in Delano, California.

Over the next 13 years, working alongside the UFW's legendary Cesar Chavez, he honed his skills as a union organizer and political strategist by running hundreds of union elections, organizing the grape boycott and negotiating farmworkers' first union contracts.

The People's Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo annual banquet honors labor and community organizations and their leaders who are making a crucial difference in the struggle for a decent quality of life for working families. This year's theme is 'Together for a world of economic and social justice, peace and democracy.' For information and reservations, call (510) 531-1729.