Deborah (Debby) King has had a long history with the labor movement, starting when she was still a student at the ILR School, working as a union organizer for District 65 during summer vacations. Since then she has served in various union roles, including Executive Vice-President for Collective Bargaining at 1199SEIU where she led campaigns which established the first multi-employer child care fund in the United States and led negotiations for other ground-breaking programs providing for career advancement, employment security and worker involvement in service delivery and patient care issues.
As a woman trade union leader, she has taken a leadership role in supporting the development of other union women. She participated in the first programs of Cornell’s Institute for Women at Work and as a teacher at many Summer Schools for Union Women. As Vice-President of 1199 in Connecticut which represented state health care workers, she was the chair of a coalition of public sector unions which won pay equity for women state workers, raising salaries by over 40 million dollars a year. In 1994 she joined the ILR faculty for one year at the Metropolitan District Office in New York City. During that year she helped organize support for union women around domestic violence and work/family balance. As a result of this work she became the Chair of the New York Union Child Care Coalition, which works closely with the AFL-CIO and individual unions to promote collective bargaining and political initiatives which support working parents and their families. A program developed by the Coalition (“facilitated enrollment”) has brought over 100 million dollars in NYS dollars to working families to subsidize the cost of child care.
Since 1995 Debby has been the Executive Director of the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds, which cover 250,000 workers and 700 employers in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Florida and the District of Columbia. The Training and Employment Funds provide educational opportunities to over 30,000 union members per year. She is also Executive Director of the Health Careers Advancement Program which has worked with SEIUI locals and employers to develop funds which support health worker educational and career mobility in ten states. She is a labor representative on both the New York City and New York State Workforce Investment Boards.
Debby lived and worked in Ireland where she introduced the Cornell trade union women’s leadership program to Irish unions and taught that program and others for both the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. She is a contributing author to the book “Trade Union Women in Nine Countries” edited by ILR Professor Alice Cook. She has continued her ties with the Irish Trade union movement through exchange visits to explore industrial democracy efforts in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Debby is an ILR graduate and a part-time faculty member of the Worker Institute.