Published: April 3, 2018

Our union’s Member Leader Development Program (MLDP) is designed to develop and strengthen leadership and organizing skills through a combination of classroom work and practical field organizing alongside SEIU 503 staff members. The MLDP program is built into our contracts and work release is arranged between the union and our employee.

Higher ed housing worker and recently elected OSU Bargaining Delegate Brenda Rodriguez-Cruz recently completed the MLDP program, during which she signed up close 30 new SEIU 503 members. Brenda worked directly with her organizer to set up multiple events on OSU campus including membership meetings, new employee union orientations, and multiple rallies and unity breaks, including OSU’s portion of the February 26 statewide and nationwide day of action.

On top of assisting with Linn County and Western Oregon University’s sublocal election, Brenda attended CareWorks meetings, translated materials into Spanish, and organized and facilitated new employee union orientation meetings for SEIU members working at DHS offices in Salem.

Prior to her work as an MLDP, Brenda led and participated in various campus actions. In 2017, she and her coworkers in the Housing Department wrote and circulated a petition asking for OSU for a commitment to support immigrant rights. After gaining signatures from students, staff and community members, Brenda and a delegation of SEIU 503 members at OSU delivered the petition to President Ed Ray.

“What I’m going to bring back to OSU is why it is important that we stick together with our union,” says Brenda. “This is not just about us and our wages and benefits. It’s about the generation coming up behind us. We need to carve a path for millennials to follow in our footsteps. This is OUR time. We need to be the example for the ones coming after us.”