Rank and File Member
Turned Union Leader
Remzi's Record of Service
Becoming a member of SEIU Local 25 in January 1986, Remzi’s first job was working as a doorman, receiving room attendant, and janitor while attending college. “I was so grateful because I was able to get health insurance and a living wage to help me pay for school. I wouldn’t have had those opportunities if not for the union.”
While grateful for the Union’s support, Remzi witnessed manipulative management, racial discrimination, and unfair wages from employers. “Wage increases and benefits were completely stagnant, it was rock bottom,” Remzi says. These conditions hit home for Remzi when a longtime building doorman was forced to return to work just one year after retiring, the result of an insufficient pension. “The pension just wasn’t enough for this doorman to live on. After I saw that happen, I knew I had to get involved.” Shortly thereafter, Remzi became a union rep for Local 25, beginning a career of service to union members that’s spanned nearly three decades.
“It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to be able to serve working families in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Now more than ever, working families need a strong voice who will advocate for them and improve their lives. I strive every day to be that voice at Local 73,” Remzi says. “And luckily,” he adds, “I don’t have to do it alone. The Members Leading Members team will have the backs of our workers every step of the way. I’m proud to be slated alongside such a diverse group whose skills complement each other so well.”
Read more about Remzi’s Record of Results:
Union Representative at SEIU Local 1 (1996-2004)
Negotiated contracts that tripled the pension contribution for doormen and increased wages by 20%
Increased district membership by 25%, adding 750 new members and 160 new units
Instrumental in opening the Local 1 Training Center, which provided workers the opportunity to enroll in a 2-year apprenticeship program and earn a nationally-recognized certificate, which increased potential for promotions and wage increases.
Senior Staff Specialists at Illinois Nurses Association (2004-2009)
Serviced members throughout the Northern Region (21 units), negotiating contracts & implementing internal organizing & member services
Prepared members for negotiation, setting up teams to meet all contingenies
Presented contracts to general membership, developed internal leaders, & held regular labor-management meetings to resolve issues before they reached a grievance
Contributed articles to the newsletter to enhance member awareness of key issues
Worked with board of directors to implement strategic plans, motivating membership into contract campaigns
SEIU Local 73 conducts the first historic strike in thirty years with the UIC professionals.
SEIU Local 73, Director of Higher Education Division (2009-2017)
Served as Chief Negotiator for all new and existing contracts under the Higher Education Division, servicing 19 master contracts for hundreds of workers at University of Chicago, UIC, City Colleges of Chicago, Loyola University, and others
Grew the Higher Education Division from 2,700 members to over 4,000 after going through senate hearings, rallies and contract negotiations to add academic professionals at UIC to Local 73
Drove wage increases by as much as 20% in one year for 480 new members to the Higher Education Division
Earned an Executive Board Member role, responsible for developing the mission and vision for his unit
Coordinated hundreds of grievances and guided dozens of Union Representatives through the grievance and arbitration process
Served on the Leadership Team of the Joint Bargaining Committee, a team formed to implement innovative strategies on how to best represent members
Remzi’s skilled negotiation was critical in achieving the first contract for 800 professionals at UIC, including conducting the first historic strike in 30 years.
“Remzi has worked tirelessly and effectively with our team through 16 months of contract negotiations with the administration. He excels at listening to the members and at skillfully guiding us through the bargaining process. Remzi’s knowledge of negotiations and the relationship he has built with us, our membership, and with the management’s team...has been instrumental in the progress we’ve made.”
- University of Chicago Faculty
“Remzi was instrumental in negotiating our first professional contract at UIC, nearly doubling members’ wages with pay increases averaging 28%.”