Raising the standard for good working conditions is like a chain reaction. More people will see their work life can be better.

~ Clara Vargas, 32BJ Member, Florida

Lenore Friedlaender

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Lenore Friedlaender, Assistant to the President of 32BJ works to build strong and meaningful alliances with community, labor, environmental and advocacy partners locally, regionally and internationally. She is also head of representation for Long Island, where 2,000 32BJ members live or work. Lenore was the second woman elected as a Vice President of 32BJ since it was founded in the 1930s, and she is the first woman elected as Assistant to the President.

Lenore works closely with Build Up NYC, a historic collaboration between 32BJ, and the New York City Building Trades, which began as a project to bring good jobs to Long Island City, and as dedicated to organizing buildings “from shovel to broom.”

She also built 32BJ’s member engagement program, based on a lifelong mission of helping working people understand their rights and become leaders in the fight for workplace and social justice. “A lot of my work over the years has been about development and training of staff and member leaders,” she said. “Access to education and education are a big deal to me.”

After coming to 32BJ in 1999, Lenore served as Director of Organizing for five years, spent two years helping to lead representation work in New York City. In the course of her work at the union, she has developed training curricula for stewards, member organizers and union staff. Lenore also established 32BJ’s member and youth brigades as ways to engage members and college-age young people in the union’s work.

As part of solidarity work with global labor federations, she has worked with unions in the United Kingdom and El Salvador to develop and train member organizers, and with unions in other countries that share the same employers as union members in the US. And she has led the union’s global environmental partnerships to mobilize around climate justice, including forming part of the steering committee for the People’s Climate marches in September 2014 and April 2017.

Lenore also works with the union’s arts committee, which sponsors an annual show to display artwork by 32BJ members and their family members. Participants have included doormen, cleaners, building supers and others showcasing their work in photography, painting, drawing and other art genres.

Prior to working with 32BJ, Lenore worked as an organizing coordinator on SEIU’s Justice for Janitors campaign, Dignity Nursing Home campaign and hospital organizing campaigns.

Lenore serves on the Strategic Partners Committee of the SEIU International Executive Board and is on the executive committee of SEIU’s Property Services division. She also co-chairs the Thomas Shortman Training Fund Advisory Committee and is one of the trustees of the union’s legal fund, and a deputy trustee of the union’s Health, Pension, Training and Supplemental Retirement Savings Program.

Prior to SEIU, Lenore’s work took her from a Philadelphia court system where she and coworkers ran a campaign to organize clerical workers to a bubble gum factory where she led a fight for women workers to gain access to higher paying male-dominated jobs.

Lenore lives in Queens where she has been involved in many community and political efforts. She is the daughter of immigrants who came to the United States in the 1930s to escape Nazi persecution.