SEIU Local 1107, which has become a preeminent force in the state, plans to build on its solid foundation to achieve even greater victories for good jobs and quality services
The largest healthcare and public service union in Nevada has announced that its longtime Executive Director, Grace Vergara-Mactal, is retiring effective September 30 and will be succeeded by the Chief of Staff, Sam Shaw. During Vergara-Mactal’s tenure at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1107, she led its transformation into one of the preeminent grassroots forces throughout the state, achieving major victories in the areas of union contract negotiations, electoral politics, legislation, organizing new members and building community coalitions.
With her guidance, the union became a pivotal factor in local, state and national elections, and helped lead a resurgence in the Nevada labor movement. Now, Shaw intends to carry forward a bold vision to build on that solid foundation and achieve even greater victories for good jobs, quality services and social justice for all working Nevadans.
The transition comes at a time when public support for unions is at record highs, and workers throughout the country — including at corporate behemoths like car companies, Starbucks, Amazon and UPS – are taking bold action. Working people are increasingly angry about extreme economic inequality caused by unfair wages, meager benefits and tax laws that heavily favor the rich, and see unions as the best way to solve this crisis.
Vergara-Mactal’s story embodies that fight for workers’ share of the American Dream. She first came to the U.S. in 1989, and worked her way up from scrubbing floors for $3.50 an hour to becoming a healthcare worker and then holding many leadership positions throughout a three-decade, trailblazing career in the labor movement. She is one of the most prominent Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) union leaders in the country, and has committed her life to mobilizing workers and raising standards for all working families. Vergara-Mactal has 27 years of service to SEIU, and in addition to being the first AAPI leader of SEIU Local 1107, she is a Vice President of the SEIU national union and an Executive Board member of the Nevada AFL-CIO.
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Five years ago, Grace became the union’s Executive Director with a mandate to build a “Strong, Fighting Union” by: empowering member leaders to win higher standards for wages, benefits and the services they provide; uniting more workers through new organizing; implementing a highly democratic governance structure; and building the most effective voice in government and members’ communities.
Vergara-Mactal tirelessly led the union to accomplish this mission and successfully implement all of those goals. Today, Local 1107 is more member-driven and vibrant than ever before, and has vastly lifted its profile among elected leaders, community members and the media.
Major achievements under Vergara-Mactal’s leadership include a recent standard-setting contract for 4,700 healthcare workers at HCA’s Sunrise, MountainView and Southern Hills hospitals with the largest raises in their history, which will help retain staff. She also helped lead the effort to pass the Nevada Equal Rights Amendment and make Juneteenth a state holiday, and was a central leader of the recent Stop Asian Hate rally in response to the attack on a 75-year-old Filipino man. In addition, she helped lead home care workers to win a historic $16 minimum wage and 42% funding increase in the latest state budget. Now, over 1,000 Nevada home care workers are either currently voting or headed toward union elections in one of the biggest organizing drives in recent history.
Throughout her tenure at Local 1107, Vergara-Mactal has focused on making sure that the union is inclusive for everyone – Black, brown, white and AAPI – because one of her core values is creating unity across racial lines.
By her side the entire time at SEIU Local 1107 has been Sam Shaw. Shaw has 25 years of dedication to grassroots activism, including 17 years of service with SEIU, first with Local 521 in California, and then holding many leadership positions within Local 1107.
The son of a Korean immigrant who was a longtime healthcare worker, Sam found his passion for creating positive change through collective action early in life and went on to work in social advocacy and state government, prior to working for SEIU.
In 2017, Sam joined Local 1107 and has led the union’s representation, communications, political and organizing teams. Shaw believes deeply that member leadership is the root of the union’s strength. Along with Vergara-Mactal and the union’s Executive Board, he has created a bold vision for the organizations’ members to reach even higher goals moving forward: continuing to win standard-setting contracts, including for over 10,000 public sector workers and 1,000 newly organized home care workers whose contract negotiations are coming up soon; organizing thousands of new members and fighting for unions for all; mobilizing people to vote – especially union members, people of color, women and youth – at unprecedented levels to elect pro-worker candidates and pass legislation; and expanding the union’s strong coalitions with community partners to advocate powerfully for economic, social and racial justice throughout the state.
SEIU Nevada Local 1107 is the largest healthcare and public service union in the state, representing nearly 20,000 workers. Together, SEIU 1107 members fight for good union jobs, quality services and a better quality of life for all working Nevadans.