I'm here in Denver to cover SEIU's 2012 convention and this place is jumping with activity. This year they're focused on building a progressive partnership with other issue areas important to progressives - immigration, LGBT rights, the environment, and more.
SEIU represents the service industry. These are the folks that are often overlooked in our society - the janitors, the security guards, and health care professionals, for example. SEIU stands for the 99%.
During yesterday's gathering the delegates passed a resolution that the many SEIU locals bargain for trans-inclusive heath care as part of their contracts. The SEIU International offices already offer trans-inclusive health care benefits to employees.
I went to watch as the delegates debated the issue and came away incredibly impressed. While I expected there to be push back on the measure, instead it was brought to the floor and the delegates were allowed 40 minutes to debate. Every single person who got up to speak was in favor of the resolution; no one spoke in opposition. It easily passed.
Many of the attendees told me it reminded them of when the union passed a resolution to support the freedom to marry years ago. After President Obama announced his support of marriage equality, SEIU was one of the first unions to put out a statement congratulating him on his evolution. Mary Kay Henry, the President of the union, is openly lesbian.
Yesterday, thousands of people took to the streets of Denver to protest Wells Fargo's greedy attacks on the working poor and middle class. Joined by Occupy Wall Street, immigration organizations, LGBT people, and more the group led three different divisions through the city before convening at Wells Fargo headquarters. The photo above is from the protest. I'll have more soon as I get time to sort through the hours of video and hundreds of photos I shot.
Last night the union had a small dinner for their invited partners - the environmental, immigrant, poverty, and LGBT leaders they'd invited to attend to help build a broader progressive movement. The Rev Jesse Jackson surprised the group by showing up and speaking briefly to the gathering about how the gathering was truly putting a face on his dream of a "rainbow coalition." The video is after the break.