John Santos is a 32BJ Vice President and New York Metro District Residential Division Director, where he leads more than 34,000 doormen, porters, handymen, and other residential building workers in New York’s five boroughs in their political work, worker organizing and member representation programs.
John began his career in the labor movement as a porter, elevator operator and doorman at a downtown Manhattan building in 1992. His experience as a 32BJ member inspired him to become a shop steward and then, in 1998, to work for the union as a delegate. After two years working to protect workers who lost their jobs when buildings were sold, John was then tapped to become the lead on the union’s groundbreaking campaign to organize commercial office cleaners in New Jersey where they won $5.50 an hour raises as well as health benefits and protections on the job.
From New Jersey, John began to lead the unions organizing and field campaigns in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and The Bronx where he activated a large group of active leaders who advocated for political and union program. He then became deputy director of 32BJ’s New York Residential Division, working closely with now president Kyle Bragg to grow the division. In 2001 John became district director in Hudson Valley where he led workers to win Displaced Worker Legislation which protects workers from being immediately dismissed when building owners decide to change contractors. Now Workers in the Hudson Valley are offered their current jobs by new contractors who take over work in their buildings, creating stability for thousands of working families in the region.
John eventually came home to New York to serve in his current role of Vice President and Director of the NY Residential Division. Since John returned to New York, Residential workers have seen steady increases in membership and have organized aggressively to keep market density, protecting industry standards as thousands of new residential buildings have been built across the city.