Richard Becker
Year
2019
Chapter
Position
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, 32BJ SEIU, Union Organizer/Union Representative

As an organizer with a local union that unites janitorial workers, manufacturing workers, and railroad employees, Richard has found his calling in empowering working people to fight for improvements in their workplaces and communities.

Richard’s first foray into politics was campaigning for John Kerry in 2004, when he was just a senior in high school. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Kentucky, where he served as president of the College Democrats chapter and later, as state co-chair of the College Democrats of Kentucky. Richard took a semester off school to work as a field organizer on Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. He worked in the southern Ohio town of Portsmouth for six months, where he learned the Obama community organizing model firsthand.

After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, Richard worked in Democratic Party politics around the country before eventually settling in Louisville. On returning to Kentucky, Richard became a union organizer, first with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, and then from 2014 to the present with Service Employees International Union. In his current role with SEIU, each day on the job brings new challenges and experiences. Whether he’s writing the union’s quarterly newsletter, helping non-union workers navigate the difficult process of forming a union, or helping members of the union fight for improvements in their workplace, Richard enjoys having a career that is filled with meaning and purpose.

In addition to his work with SEIU, Richard is a published writer with bylines in the Courier-Journal, LEO Weekly, Insider Louisville, and Vox, writing about labor and politics. Additionally, Richard is a former co-chair of Jobs with Justice Kentucky, serves on the executive board of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, and recently joined the executive board of his neighborhood association, the Schnitzelburg Area Community Council.

From 2017 through 2018, Richard was a candidate in the Democratic primary for state representative in Kentucky’s 35th district. Though he did not prevail in the primary, he went on to campaign for several other progressive candidates in the fall and coordinated his union’s 2018 general election political activities.

Richard lives in the Schnitzelburg neighborhood of Louisville with his fiancée Jane, their dog Bernie, and their cat Pancake. When he’s not writing, organizing workers, or campaigning, Richard enjoys playing guitar and piano, reading, and walking his dog.