Photo of April Verrett being sworn in as new president of SEIU International with the words Congratulations April Verrett, newly elected SEIU President and both the SEIU and CTU logos.

CHICAGO—A Statement from Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates on the historic election of April Verrett as the first Black president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU):

“Coming from a Southside union household and serving as the former Executive Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana (HCII), April Verrett is a living example of what can happen when workers from different cultures, creeds, colors, and ZIP codes raise their voices together for a fair and more economically just society.

“Verrett’s solution-driven leadership of the SEIU comes at a time when our country is in search of brave, bold and badass visionaries willing to stand up for working families, senior citizens, educators, healthcare workers and all those who are ignored and mistreated in our rigged system.

“Having seen April’s work firsthand, I know she will bring a new moxie in the role of SEIU president. Beyond ushering in a new era for the labor movement that centers the voices of Black women, Verrett’s empathic approach to trade unionism will raise up a new generation of leaders willing to center the lived experience of black girls and boys on the South and West side of Chicago and beyond.

“Working hand-in-hand with grassroots organizations here in Chicago, Verrett was instrumental in founding the United Working Families organization, a group that has worked tirelessly to elect Black and Brown folks throughout Chicago and Illinois.

“We look forward to working with Verrett and the SEIU in the fight forward to make sure that our students, their families and communities across the country live in safe, welcoming and thriving neighborhoods rich with all the resources they need to strive.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 300,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at