Deborah King has had a long history with the labor movement, having served in various union roles over the last five decades. Throughout her distinguished career, she has been a national proponent for better jobs for workers as a way to achieve quality healthcare. Deborah has initiated projects that have brought millions of dollars of federal, state and private grants to support healthcare workers, the healthcare industry, and low-income and underserved communities throughout New York.
From 1995 to 2016, Deborah served as the Executive Director of the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds, the largest labor-management workforce development program in the U.S. which provides educational, training and job placement opportunities to 250,000 members in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, DC and Florida, including home care workers. In this position, she founded and led the Healthcare Career Advancement Program, which encouraged 1199SEIU local chapters and employers in other states to establish similar programs, and which now provides a forum for Fund leaders in 13 states to share past best practices and develop new strategies.
While Executive Vice President at 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East from 1987 to 1994, Deborah led collective bargaining negotiations on behalf of more than 160,000 workers and negotiated the first Taft-Hartley Childcare Fund in the United States. She also initiated quality-of-life improvement programs providing for home mortgage assistance and employment security, and instituted initiatives to improve worker satisfaction and patient care.
As a woman trade union leader, Deborah has taken a leadership role in supporting the development of other women. As Vice President for Collective Bargaining and Education with 1199SEIU New England in Connecticut from 1979 to 1986, she was the spokesperson for a coalition of public sector unions which won pay equity for women state workers. She has served as a delegate to the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China, in 1995, and to the Women in the New Economy Summit in London, England, in 1999.
During the 1970s, Deborah lived and worked in Dublin, Ireland where she taught courses for women trade unionists at the College of Industrial Relations and at the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, and served as a research scholar at the Industrial Training Authority. She is a contributing author on a chapter about Ireland to the book Trade Union Women in Nine Countries.
Since 1995, Deborah has served as an adjunct faculty member at Cornell University’s ILR School, teaching collective bargaining and providing support to trade unionists on work and family issues. In that role, she helped establish and served as the chair of the New York Union Child Care Coalition. From 2002 to 2017, the Coalition lobbied and won over $130 million in funding from New York State to help working people pay for child care.
Deborah is currently the Senior Advisor at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, where she is using her expertise and passion for uplifting the skills and status of care workers to advance their cause.
Deborah holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University’s ILR School.