Message from the President

Susan M. Cleary, President District 1199J

1199J President Susan M. Cleary

Susan M. Cleary joined the staff of District 1199J as an organizer in 1989 and has served in both the Guild and Public Sector Divisions of 1199J before becoming Vice President in 1993. She assumed the role of Secretary-Treasurer in 1999.

Cleary also spent some time on the National Union staff helping to organize the unorganized. In that role, she led a successful campaign involving a professional unit in Hudson County.

During her tenure as Vice President of the Public Sector Division, Cleary says she’s proud of having been able to strengthen the division and to help increase member participation. An example of that she points to is a large settlement that was won by determined 1199ers at Pollak and Meadowview Nursing Homes for accumulated sick leave that would have been lost in the privatization of those facilities.

Susan M. Cleary became District 1199J’s first female President in 2006 when she was appointed to fill the term of retiring president, Joseph Franklin. In 2008, she ran unopposed and was elected to three-year terms and was re-elected in 2011. In addition, she is the Executive Secretary of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, representing the New Jersey District and is currently a trustee to District 1199J’s Benefit, Pension and Training and Development Funds. She has also participated as a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA). Ms. Cleary also served on the Health Advisory Committee of AFSCME International.

Ms. Cleary has received various recognitions from local, state and federal leaders for her many years of dedication, leadership, and commitment to the labor movement. In 2008 she received an Award of Merit from the Essex-West Hudson Labor Council, AFL-CIO. On May 17, 2009 she received the Outstanding Citizens Award from the City of Newark Council Vice President Luis Quintana. In April 2010 she received the Leadership Award from the UAW Region 109.

She began her career in 1979 in the business office of St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. She helped organize her unit of 850 workers into 1199 in 1981. Cleary became an active delegate and served in that capacity until she joined the 1199J staff.

Susan was born in Brooklyn, New York. She is the oldest of seven children of the late Lorraine and Jeremiah Cleary.