SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley will be among leaders honored during the 76th anniversary awards ceremony of the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO). Billed as the “2020 Spirit of ’76 Virtual Gala and Holiday Virtual Reception,” the event will take place at 6 p.m. on Dec. 8.
Kelley will accept the “Barbara Merrill-Rudy Lozano Labor Award” on behalf of the 90,000 “frontline heroes” of his union who are doing daily battle against a deadly Covid-19 pandemic while caring for vulnerable hospital patients and nursing home residents.
Thanking the IVI-IPO for the recognition, Kelley was quick to comment: “This honor, this award is not about me, this award is a salute and an expression of gratitude to the 90,000 healthcare and childcare workers represented by our amazing union.
“They are essential frontline heroes who put themselves in harm’s way everyday as they do this dangerous but necessary work. They are there caring for our most vulnerable citizens – cleaning them, turning them in their beds, washing their bedsheets, cleaning their rooms, feeding them, consoling them and basically being their ‘family.’ During this pandemic, they literally are the only family they see on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
Event organizer Al Kindle said Kelley was selected because of the leadership of the union and the frontline work the members perform.
“The way the union has behaved in this crisis and the leadership he has shown have been exemplary,” Kindle said. “We honor the people who have been out front. Kelley is like the symbol of the healthcare workers who take the point. We honor him and all healthcare workers. This is not a singular award.”
In addition to Illinois, Kelley’s union represents workers in Indiana, Missouri and Kansas.