District Council 1707, AFL-CIO

Local 215 President, Lorraine Guest

Lorraine Guest is the President of Social Service Employees Local 215 of District Council 1707. A native New Yorker, Ms. Guest has always been interested in issues concerning poor and working families, the infirmed and the mentally and physically challenged. She says that her close relationship with her late identical twin sister forced her think of someone other than herself all her life. She graduated from Clara Barton Vocational High School and attended nursing school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Her involvement with the trade union movement began while working at Brooklyn Hospital in 1973. She became involved in her union’s contact negotiations and she never looked back. Currently while serving as the president of the council and the president of her local, she serves as the Chair of the DC 1707 Political Action Committee and the Chairperson of PEOPLE, the political fundraising arm of AFSCME.

She has attended New York City College and the Cornell University Women’s Leadership Institute. She is still attending classes relating to the trade union issues and rank and file leadership.

Guest’s leadership role in Local 215 began when she was elected to become a shop steward at FEGS in 1992. She was elected to the local’s executive board as a member-at-large in 1994 and 1996. She became the local’s Recording Secretary from 1998 to 2000. She remains the Co-Chapter Chair of the FEGS Chapter within the local, a position she has held since 1998.

She has been a consistent advocate for members’ rights, fair and equitable contracts and has been a part of a sophisticated negotiations team, which has successfully negotiated four contracts with her employer. Her constant mantra to fellow workers is do not just complain about problems or issues but take an active role in making positive change.

She has been known to say often that she enjoys working. Helping people gives her great personal satisfaction. Guest supports organizing efforts which will grow her local and the council because she knows that unorganized social service employees earn less and possess inferior benefits to unionized social service employees.

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