Tom Balanoff

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Tom Balanoff

Tom Balanoff is President of SEIU Local 1 based in Chicago. The Local represents 40,000 janitors, security officers, building service and industrial workers in four states[1].

He was identified as "president of one of the state's largest local unions" Service Employees Local 73" in the Sept. 24, 1994, edition of the People's Weekly World (PWW), page 7, "Illinois AFL-CIO endorses Martinez jobs bill", by Herb Kaye.

Illinois Public Action

In 1995 Tom Balanoff was a member of the board of directors[2]of Illinois Public Action.

Citizen Action of Illinois

In 1997 Tom Balanoff served on the board of directors of Citizen Action of Illinois.[3]

Chicago Martinez Jobs Bill support rally

On October 18 1997, Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU local 73, and Chicago Jobs with Justice, and Rep. Bobby Rush addressed a Chicago "show us the living wage jobs" rally, as part of a national day of action, calling on Congress to pass the Martinez Jobs Bill. there were concurrent rallies in nearly 20 cities, organized by the Communist Party USA dominated National Labor-Community Coalition For Public Works Jobs.[4]

DSA honoree


The Chicago Democratic Socialists of America 44th Annual Debs Thomas Harrington Dinner at the Holiday Inn, Mart Plaza on May 10. 2002 Using the theme, "Defending Labor Rights, Human Rights and Civil Liberties".

Honoree Tom Balanoff was introduced by Roberta Lynch[5].

In her introduction of Tom Balanoff, Roberta Lynch reminded the gathering that the days of labor's depending on a bargaining table alone for its cause are past because labor laws are not enforced, and bad laws have been passed. Today's situation calls for fighting for workers' needs. A main task of labor is to confront global capitalism. Organizing more members is a must, in order to have a stronger presence in the political arena, and to hold elected politicians accountable for their promises. Women, people of color and immigrants are the new face of labor, in need of being organized. If labor is to continue as a force for workers. It is people like those at the dinner, she said, who can make the difference.
Tom Balanoff, president of SEIU Local 1, accepted his award with optimism based on observing workers' willingness to take risks and stand up for their rights, including undocumented workers. He challenged labor leaders to engage in building more leaders, a need for each new generation.

2002 Chicago PWW banquet

Kathy Kelly, two-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and Ishmael Flory, long-time member of the Communist Party USA, headed the list of honorees at the 2002 annual Chicago People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo banquet. Barbara Moore, vice president of the Coalition to Protect Public Housing, and a representative of the Carousel Linen workers rounded out the list of those who had been nominated to receive the Chris Hani/Rudy Lozano Award.

William McNary, president of USAction, was be the keynote speaker. "People’s artist" Peggy Lipschutz and singer Kristen Lens highlighted the afternoon’s cultural presentation.

“We are very proud of our honorees, keynote speaker and entertainers, all of whom represent the finest of today’s struggles for peace, justice and democracy,” John Bachtell, chair of the banquet committee, said. “They also represent the ideals for which Chris Hani and Rudy Lozano gave their lives.”

Bachtell said the banquet committee sees the event “as more than a fundraiser for the People’s Weekly World, important as that is. It is also planned as an opportunity to draw strength for a final push to defeat the right wing in this year’s election wars.”

Bachtell, organizer of the Illinois district of the Communist Party, said the election will be “even more crucial” if the Bush administration succeeds in its effort to win congressional approval for launching a war against Iraq. “We simply cannot allow such a crime to happen,” he said.

The Chris Hani/Rudy Lozano Award is named in honor of Chris Hani, one-time commander of the armed wing of African National Congress and General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, and Rudy Lozano, a Mexican-American activist and key player in the campaign that elected Harold Washington as Chicago mayor in 1983. Both were gunned down by assassins.

In addition to Bachtell, banquet sponsors included Rev. Willie Barrow, chair, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition board of directors; Chicago Alderman Theodore Thomas; Katie Jordan, president, Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women; Rep. Bobby Rush; and Tom Balanoff, president, SEIU Local 1.

Doors opened at 2 p.m., Oct. 20, at the Three Happiness Café, 2130 S. Wentworth.[6]

Supporting Obama

In late 2007 several Illinois labor union officials-Tom Balanoff, Henry Bayer, Margaret Blackshere, Dennis Gannon and Henry Tamarin.

From December 3rd 2007[7];

Ill. Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign held a conference call for Nevada reporters today to highlight Obama’s record of support both by and for organized labor. On the call were Tom Balanoff, president of the Illinois SEIU State Council and Local 1, Henry Bayer, executive director of the AFSCME Council 31, Margaret Blackshere, former president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Dennis Gannon, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and Henry Tamarin, president of UNITE HERE Local 1.
“He comes from us,” said Balanoff on Obama. “He understands our problems. We could count on Barack on all issues important to working families. Healthcare, general economic justice, jobs… Barack was there, not only there but oftentimes leading.”
The conference call came at a difficult time for Obama’s campaign in his effort to court organized labor in the state..."

Balanoff was consistently supportive of Obama[8];

Tom Balanoff, president of the SEIU Illinois State Council, said Obama's voting record is sound, with votes against trade deals like the Central America Free Trade Agreement and support for issues such as the Employee Free Choice Act. "We know that he's the real thing," Balanoff said.

Going right back to Obama's days as a community organizer[9];

Tom Balanoff, President of SEIU Local 1, will address the nation during the 2008 Democratic National Convention...has a long history working with Barack Obama, going back to his days as a community organizer on Chicago's Southside. Local 1 has proudly endorsed Senator Obama in each of his campaigns.
Balanoff has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Obama for decades, fighting for access to quality health care that everyone can count on, economic fairness, an end to this needless war and the freedom of all workers to join a union without intimidation.

"Obama Year One"

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan, Room 232, Chicago, a forum was held 'Obama Year One."

In the aftermath of the historic 2008 elections and in the midst of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, activists and progressives from across movements came together to push for a new New Deal. The new political and economic realities created new opportunities to mobilize for progressive changes including ending wars and militarism; promoting workers' rights; reforming healthcare; and developing economic policies that promote jobs and communities instead of corporate profits. There have been both advances and setbacks in these struggles. One year later, it's time to take stock of lessons learned, evaluate strategic goals, and plan for future campaigns. Join leaders of the labor, peace, immigrant rights, healthcare reform, and economic justice movements in assessing the past year and current political conditions to determine ways we can work together towards progressive change.

The panel included: