President, Local 768
The new DC 37 vice president grew up in a progressive household in Jamaica, where his parents were involved in the anti-colonial and independence movement.
As a young adult, Reid pursued his university studies at time a when the island was going through economic, political and sometimes violent upheaval.
“The trade union movement is a leading voice in Jamaica,” said Reid, who pursued advanced labor studies at the University of West Indies in Jamaica, a teaching cooperative in Guyana and the Higher Institute of Trade Union Studies in the Soviet Union.
Because of the political instability in Jamaica, Reid decided to immigrate to the United States about 35 years ago. Continuing his studies, he earned an undergraduate degree in occupational and environmental science at Hunter College. Reid also earned a bachelor’s degree in labor studies and master’s in occupational sciences at SUNY Empire College.
Twenty years ago, Reid started working at the Dept. of Health as a Public Health Sanitarian. He got involved in the union soon after his hiring. He worked his way up from Shop Steward, executive vice president to president. He is now in his fourth term as president.
As Local 768’s leader, he focused on strengthening the shop steward network, exposing department failures in protecting the public health, alerting members about anti-worker internal investigations, fighting short-staffing, informing members about union benefits and educating activists about the challenges facing the labor movement.
As an executive board member, Reid said he plans to support DC 37’s transformation from a service-based labor union to a more aggressive model of organizing and grassroots activism.
“The labor laws are designed to control us, and the internal structure of unions tends to limit our actions,” Reid said. “The labor movement needs to remake itself in order to survive in the long term.”