Javier Morillo-Alicea is the president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26, which unites more than 5,000 property service workers in the Twin Cities metro area. As president, he leads the organizing, legislative and political activities of the local union representing Minnesota’s union janitors and private security guards.
Since Morillo was elected president, SEIU Local 26 has grown by roughly 1,200 members, including over 700 private security officers in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Local 26 is focused on negotiating member contracts, uniting new members, and developing new leaders. In the past two years, as a result of two public contract campaigns, Local 26 won affordable healthcare for janitors and security officers, along with dramatic wage increases. In addition, the local has participated in national campaigns, including traveling to Houston to support 5,000 newly united janitors. In Houston, Morillo was arrested with SEIU members and leaders and spent 37 hours in jail after engaging in an act of civil disobedience that the Houston police met with violence but which ultimately led to a first janitorial contract in Houston.
SEIU Local 26 has also led on legislative and political action on the issues of quality, affordable health care and immigration reform. As a leader in the immigrant rights movement, Morillo has stood up to Republican attacks on immigrants in the state, publishing an Opinion Page editorial in the statewide newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, criticizing Senator Norm Coleman’s failure to support comprehensive immigration reform and another exposing the Minutemen extremists surrounding the congressional campaign of Republican candidate State Senator Dick Day.
Morillo is also active in electoral politics, first working on the Dean for America campaign, Dave Thune for Saint Paul City Council, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, and Patricia Torres Ray for State Senate. For the Torres Ray campaign, he served as convention floor manager and campaign chair. Prior to being elected president of SEIU Local 26, he was a political organizer for the SEIU Minnesota State Council and served as State Director for the AFL-CIO’s Voter Protection Program. This summer he will be a Barack Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Morillo was previously a historian and anthropologist, teaching courses in Latin American History, Comparative Colonial Cultures, and Globalization at Carleton and Macalester College. He is a Fulbright Scholar and has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Yale University. He lives on the West Side of St. Paul with his partner of thirteen years.