32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg retires after leading essential workers through COVID-19 pandemic


One of the city’s most powerful unions, 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, has a new leader after its president Kyle Bragg announced his retirement Dec. 7 after 40 years of service. Bragg had planned to retire earlier, but he stepped into the void when legendary leader Héctor Figueroa of Jackson Heights suffered a fatal heart attack in 2019.

Bragg led the union of essential workers through the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic shutdown and successfully negotiated the 2019 commercial contract, which raised standards and wages for his members and oversaw the union’s successful advocacy for airport workers at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports that led to the passage of the landmark Healthy Terminals Acts in New York and New Jersey, which provided comprehensive health care coverage and improved wages to tens of thousands. In 2022, 32BJ reached a historic contract for 32,000 essential residential building service workers who were critical in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.