Our Members

SEIU Member Named “Activist of the Year” by The Nashville Scene!

Odessa Kelly

Odessa Kelly at SEIU’s “Activist Day 2018”

Odessa Kelly, a member of SEIU Local 205 and an employee of Metro Parks and Recreation, was named “Activist of the Year” by Nashville Scene magazine.

By day, Odessa works as a recreation manager at Napier Recreation Center, which is located in one of Nashville’s poorest neighborhoods. There, she supports and inspires kids every day by helping them with their homework and helping them acquire the skills and confidence they will need to thrive after they leave school.

When she’s not on the clock, Odessa has taken a lead role as a co-chair of Stand Up Nashville—a community non-profit which has, among other things helped draft the “Do Better Bill”. The legislation requires that before the Metro Council votes to give tax incentives to a company, the developers must release details about the jobs they claim will be created, including how many, what kind, whom they’ll hire, and what they’ll pay. This is landmark legislation for Nashville and for Tennessee.

Odessa was also one of the key players involved with the community benefits agreement (“CBA”) for the upcoming Major League Soccer stadium coming to Nashville. The CBA, which is a legally-binding agreement between Stand Up Nashville and Nashville Soccer Holdings, requires the soccer group to provide affordable housing on the privately developed land and it sets a minimum wage of $15.50/hour for both construction workers and the employees who will eventually be hired by the soccer arena and its surrounding businesses.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, Odessa is also the co-chair of the economic equity branch of Nashville Organizing for Action and Hope (“NOAH”). She was part of the team which helped push through Nashville’s Construction Readiness Partnership, an initiative to ensure that Nashvillians have the skills and access necessary should they want to be employed as part of the city’s construction boom.

Congratulations to Odessa on receiving this incredible award!

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SEIU Officer Awarded NES “Advisor of the Year”!

Lance Wyss & Lorena Garcia

Lance Wyss & Lorena Garcia

Lance Wyss, who serves as one Local 205’s Trustees, was honored as one of Nashville Electric Service’s “Service Advisor of the Year” in 2017. The award is won by qualifying as the top “advisor of the month” the most often throughout the year.

Service advisors are the front line of customer service at NES. Advisors answer questions, help customers start their service, work with them on payment options, and a host of other issues that require them to be knowledgeable, fast-thinkers, and friendly. nce.

“We have to be ready for anything,” says Lance. “It takes a special kind of patience to do what we do. I don’t think it’s for everyone.”

In 2017, there were two Advisors of the Year at NES—the other being Lorena Garcia, also an SEIU member.

Congratulations to Lance and Lorena for continuing to demonstrate that union work is synonymous with quality.


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Metro Parks Union Members Awarded for Excellence!

Melissa Rucker & Odessa Kelly

Melissa Rucker & Odessa Kelly

SEIU members Melissa Rucker and Odessa Kelly were honored by Metro Parks and Recreation with employee awards in “dedication” and “community involvement”, respectively. Both are program coordinators and they were selected for recognition by their peers.

Congratulations to them and to find out more, visit Nashville.gov.

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Union Steward Wins $7,500 Scholarship!

Local 205 president Brad Rayson and scholarship winner Recco Seay.

Local 205 president Brad Rayson and scholarship winner Recco Seay.

Long-time SEIU member, steward, and union officer Recco Seay Sr. was the recipient of this year’s Cecil D. Branstetter Memorial Scholarship, awarded by Nashville law firm Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings.

The scholarship is for $7,500 and Recco plans to use it to complete his doctorate. Recco’s dream is to graduate at the same time as his son, who is also attending college.


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Union Leader Named Employee of the Month @ MMC!

Members_SarahEnglehardtSarah Englehardt, a licensed practical nurse at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, has been named “MMCer of the Month” (the company’s name for an employee of the month) for June. Sarah, a union representative, steward, and member of the union’s negotiating team, described the honor as “fabulous” and has been with Methodist since 2002.

Sarah has been described by her co-workers as a great nurse and a co-worker that employees enjoy being around. Sarah displays a can-do attitude and often says “we got this” when facing a challenge on the job. Sarah creates tools that save time for nurses when completing databases, she organizes her unit, and she takes pride in the care she delivers.

“Sarah is a champion for bedside shift report and involves the patient in their care every day,” said the MMC employee who nominated Sarah for the award. “Every patient, every family member, every co-worker knows her name. Sarah’s number one priority is the patient. She will be the patient advocate, call physicians and work with case management to ensure that her patients are cared for the best they can be.” Sarah is also considered to be one of the ‘go-to’ people in the hospital for anything to do with the union or the union contract. She does all this while also attending University of Tennessee-Knoxville to complete her RN-BSN degree and while raising a family of five children.

Congratulations to Sarah for winning the June award and thanks for all of her years of service in helping build the union at MMC and representing the membership well!

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Union-Strong NES Members Dominate Another “Lineman Rodeo”

NES_LinemanRodeo-2017For the second year in a row, Nashville Electric Service (NES) crews brought home first and second place wins from the Tennessee Valley “Lineman Rodeo” in Huntsville, AL.

Along with the team competition, two NES linemen outshined everyone else during their solo events. SEIU member Tommy Barksdale won first place as an individual journey lineman out of 40 participants and member Michael Shannon won first overall as an apprentice lineman out of 102 competing.

“It makes me proud to know that I can stand with the best from across the state and say that I won,” said Barksdale. “During practice we strive to think outside the box to come up with different strategies to give us the edge. We watch and compete with other linemen from NES during practice to try and push ourselves to the next level both on the job and in competition.” “It takes time and skill to perfect the art of climbing and being able to work efficiently,” said Shannon. “I’ve had the privilege to be pushed by the guys on the team which helped me excel, and I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to achieve such an honor.”

Twenty teams demonstrated their skills and knowledge by competing in events that simulate real-life situations. NES’ team members also include Cody Roberts, Josh Fuller, Timmy Sanford, Derek Pennington, Josh Jones, and Adam Harris—all of whom are SEIU members.

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We Will Miss You, Sam Price!

Sam Price worked in the Critical Care Unit of Methodist Medical Center.

Sam Price worked in the Critical Care Unit of Methodist Medical Center.

Time is perhaps our most precious commodity, and once it passes, it is lost forever. It is with great sadness that we pay tribute to a wonderful man, inside and out.  Sam Price was an example of greatness in so many ways.  He took each day in stride, always put others first, could put a smile on the face of anyone, and filled the world with love.  He was selfless, hardworking, understanding, and absolutely amazing.  His death has left an empty spot that can never be filled.

Sam was loving and real. He was a wonderful father, grandfather, and brother.  He was also dedicated to helping close friends in Kosovo.  In addition, Sam was a wonderful friend, co-worker, and strong union member.  He was truly the glue that held us together at MMC.  He possessed a gentle and caring nature.  Sam believed in being authentic with people.  He always knew what to say and how to say it.  Sam always fought for what he believed was right.  He was our advocate and a pillar of strength.

While the world suffered a huge loss on December 10, 2015, we have to find peace in the fact that Sam’s beautiful spirit will live on through his family and many friends.

Rest in Peace our dear precious Sam!

Those we love remain with us,

for love itself lives on.

Cherished memories never fade,

Because a loved one is gone.

Those we love can never be

More than a thought apart.

For as long as there is a memory,

They will live on in our heart.

-Author Unknown

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In Memoriam: 2015

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of these SEIU members who left us in 2015…

 Members_AlbertBurke Albert Burke served as the vice-president of the local’s Retiree chapter. He was a retired inspections supervisor from Metro Water Services.
Members_RandyBreedlove2 Randy Breedlove was a maintenance & repair leader for the Stormwater division of Metro Water Services and had won a grievance against the department shortly before he passed.
Members_GeorgeJohnson George Johnson was a water maintenance leader for Metro Water Services and has been a union member since 2006.
 Members_SamPrice Sam Price worked at Methodist Medical Center as an RN and served as a shop steward. Click here to read a special tribute to Sam.
Jimmy Marler worked as a building maintenance mechanic at the City Hall Annex for the city of Chattanooga’s general services department.






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We Mourn the Loss of SEIU Members in San Bernardino

SEIU-memorialOur entire SEIU family mourns with the families of those affected by last week’s attacks. Our hearts are broken with the tragic loss of our fallen and injured sisters and brothers in San Bernardino.

Learn more about the 10 SEIU members who were killed and how their work touched the lives of their community on our memorial page. If you are an SEIU member, you can contribute to the Local 721 Member and Family Support Fund.

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Member Wins “Employee of the Month” at Methodist Medical!

Gary Hughes, unit secretary at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, TN.

Gary Hughes, unit secretary at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, TN.

Gary Hughes, a unit secretary for the oncology unit at Methodist Medical Center was named “MMCer Of the Month” in August.

Gary, who lives in Oak Ridge, served in the United States Navy for ten years and is a member of the Ridge Church. He has been with Methodist Medical Center since 2012 and has been a member of SEIU Local 205 since he started working there.As a unit secretary, Gary provides assistance to hospital visitors, patients, and staff as well as handling administrative duties for the oncology unit.

Gary is described by manager Sherry Barnett as “a delight to work with.” “Gary comes to work early and ready to work,” Sherry says. “He has a smile on his face, a can-do attitude, and I hear compliments about his work ethic from other departments. He goes above and beyond every day and you can count on him.”

The employee who nominated Gary says, “he is an asset to this hospital and in particular oncology. He anticipates problems prior to them becoming an issue and not only brings it to management’s attention, he also brings a potential solution.”

“The nurses really love him,” Sherry added. Another co-worker pointed out one of Gary’s other endearing attributes, “you can hear him smile on the phone.”

When asked about receiving the employee of the month award from Methodist, Gary was thrilled. “I’m extremely proud to work on Four West at Methodist,” he said. “And I’m honored to work with such excellent co-workers!”


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