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Meet Our Advancing Justice Award Honoree

Catalyst California is honored to present the Advancing Justice Award to Max Arias and SEIU Local 99 for their demonstrated commitment to racial equity AND for being an active, supportive partner to organizations in the racial justice movement. SEIU’s work to increase reimbursement rates for child-care workers complemented our earlier research into this critical piece of the state economy. All of Los Angeles was impressed with Max's leadership during the recent LA Unified School District strike – the gains SEIU made for low-income essential education workers will have real benefits in their lives, and the greater community, for years to come. Catalyst California is proud to call Max and SEIU a partner from the labor movement on several initiatives.

Max became the executive director of SEIU Local 99 in 2015, representing nearly 45,000 employees in public and non-public organizations in early education, child care, K-12, and community college levels. Prior to joining Local 99, he served as the Assistant Director of Collective Bargaining and Representation for the Hospital Division of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) in Oakland, CA, and as Chief Contract Negotiator with SEIU Healthcare and SEIU Local 4 in Chicago, Illinois. He began his career with SEIU in 2004 at Local 79 in Michigan helping home care workers form a union.

An organizer at heart, Max says his passion for social justice was born at an early age when he witnessed and was displaced by the war in El Salvador. Prior to his organizing work, he taught English-as-a-Second-Language and science and mathematics classes in English and Spanish at various schools in San Salvador, El Salvador. 

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