Marge Robinson, RN, President, SEIU Healthcare Michigan
As the President of SEIU Healthcare Michigan – the state’s largest union of healthcare workers – Marge Robinson made it her mission to ensure that all workers who care for others are heard and recognized for the vital work they do.
She first became a member of SEIU while working at Hackley Hospital as a Unit Secretary 32 years ago. Robinson moved on to Mercy Hospital where she served the Muskegon community for 15 years. It was there, while working full time, Robinson discovered her love of nursing and decided to return to college to receive her degree as a Registered Nurse.
As an RN in the Critical Care Open Heart Unit, she was known for being a strong advocate for quality care and sought a position where she could help fellow nurses as well as their patients. She became a steward, then a bargaining team member and eventually the chief steward. With a desire to help people on a larger scale, she became a member of the Local 79 Executive Board and the Hospital Division Director before being elected Secretary-Treasurer in 2002. In 2008, Robinson became the first member and woman president of SEIU Healthcare Michigan and was elected to serve another term in 2013.
Robinson has served as a member of the Michigan Occupational Health Standards Commission appointed by Governor Granholm in 2005. She has also served as a board member for the United Way of West Michigan, where she was a member of the allocation committee. In 2014, she was appointed by Governor Snyder to The Michigan Health Endowment Funding Board (MHEF). She is a member of both the SEIU National Nurse Alliance Leadership Board and the Healthcare Division Leadership Board. She serves as a member of the SEIU International Executive Board and is also president of the SEIU Michigan State Council. Robinson has held numerous other positions throughout the state including Vice President and President of West Michigan Labor Council.
Shalaya Bryant, Secretary-Treasurer, SEIU Healthcare Michigan
Caring for others runs in her family, and Shalaya Bryant always knew that she would someday go into the healthcare field. Her grandmother was one of the first African-American Registered Nurses at Harper Hospital in Detroit and her older sister is a LPN in a nursing center in Livonia, So when Bryant began her career as a CNA at Aberdeen Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, it was no surprise. She had already been caring for her father, providing in-home care for him while he suffered from cancer, and knew exactly what it took to give people the care they need and the dignity they deserve.
After a manager was disrespectful to her and co-workers at a meeting, she decided enough was enough and got involved more actively in her union to ensure that workers at Aberdeen were treated with common decency. She became a steward and soon after, chief steward, injecting a new energy and optimism into the membership who were being intimidated and put down by management. She led the fight for a fair contract in her facility and when the call to the SEIU International Convention came, which had a focus on getting more young members involved in their union, she decided to run for delegate. After being elected as a delegate, she attended both the regular and the Millennial sessions and came back even more energized to tackle the challenges faced by HCMI members.
Bryant was heavily involved in the Right to Work fight in November and December 2012, acting as a spokesperson for her union and doing interviews with local and national media including CNN. She graduated from the Wayne State University’s Labor Studies Program. Bryant also serves on the SEIU International Millennial Advisory Committee and is a trustee for the SEIU Michigan State Council. She has also received her certificate in Computerized Accounting from Wayne County Community College. Active in her community, Bryant participates in many community programs and campaigns, including being elected as a precinct delegate. As the youngest Secretary-Treasurer in our local’s history, Bryant will continue to bring her passion, dedication and commitment to fighting for all workers and rebuilding our struggling communities to the forefront of our union’s work.
Loretta Briggs, Recording Secretary, SEIU Healthcare Michigan