A memorial event to honor 45 years of Bruce Popper’s work in the Labor Movement was scheduled yesterday for the Buffalo native, who began his 45-year career in labor as a rank-and-file member of the union. As a Delegate, Bruce processed grievances and helped negotiate contracts at the University of Rochester. In 1978, Bruce was hired as an organizer and rose up the ranks to serve as President of the local. As his career progressed, he later served as Area Vice-President for Hospitals in Buffalo, Corning, and Rochester helping to win contracts for workers at Kaleida Health in Buffalo and Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. In more recent years, Bruce led strikes at Anthony Jordan Health Center in Rochester and helped workers to secure a fair contract following difficult negotiations.

“Bruce always fought for workers, to help them build power and to move workers forward in Rochester,” said Tracey Harrison, 1199SEIU Vice-President.  “He was a very sincere and genuine human being who was all about what was right, didn’t matter what title you held or where you came from,” said Harrison.

Bruce served on 1199SEIU’s Executive Council, the union’s highest governing body. He sat on many different boards locally in Rochester and participated in community groups and steering committees focusing on social and economic justice. He believed in the power of effective communication and created a massive list that serves to keep members and the community informed and educated on the labor movement. Bruce was a historian and could tell you the history of Frederick Douglas and his importance to the Rochester community. If you were lucky enough, you’d catch Bruce playing the harmonica. 

1199SEIU Retired Vice-President Bruce Popper passed away at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester last month at the age of 71. Bruce is survived by his wife of 36 years Barbara and his daughter Katherine Dee Popper. 


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