Communications Director

Based in San Jose, CA

SEIU Local 521 was founded in 2007 when 5 local unions came together in the Bay Area, Central Coast and Central Valley to form one larger, more powerful union. Together our members are building a true 21st century union fighting to empower and improve the lives of our members. We represent 40,000 public service workers in cities, counties, courts, schools, private non-profits, special districts and public health care. We are looking for energetic, hardworking staff that is committed to real change, who believes in the value of work and the value of public services, and who wants to be part of the team that wins for workers, their families, and their communities.


The Communications Director is responsible for the full spectrum of the communications program, develops and implements the Union’s communications plans for various campaigns including organizing activity, political actions, bargaining and other activities.

Typical Tasks

  • Directs, supervises and develops communications staff.
  • Assists in the development of strategies to improve the public image and visibility of SEIU Local 521 and its members.
  • Develops, plans and directs communications strategies and calendars for various campaigns within the Local.
  • Writes and develops op-eds, background pieces, fact sheets, press kit materials, leaflets, brochures, and other materials as needed for various campaigns.
  • Writes talking points, statements, and letters to the editor, speeches, and other written materials as needed. May be called on to assist in the production of union videos.
  • Coordinates media event logistics and interviews.
  • Acts and coordinates others to act as official media spokesperson for the Local union and its elected officers.
  • Maintains ongoing, effective communication with media outlets, including local ethnic and alternative media. Maintains media database. Carries out press releases.
  • Monitors media coverage of Local union, employers and other related topics, maintains media file, makes recommendations on ways to improve media coverage.
  • Edits and coordinates production of the Local-wide newsletter, Chapter newsletters, and other communications where appropriate.
  • Creates and monitors chapter newsletter schedule, works with staff to provide high quality, timely newsletter to chapters.
  • Trains staff and rank-and-file leadership in effective verbal and written communication.
  • Edits and coordinates Local union website and e-mail communications.
  • Coordinates translation of local-wide union literature into main languages spoken by the membership.
  • Maintains database and archive of union literature.
  • Interacts and coordinates with International Union and State Council communications staff on state and national campaign communications strategies and materials.
  • Works with local union Political Director to develop candidate and issue campaign materials.


  • Two or more years’ experience in media relations, public affairs or campaign communications. Bachelor’s degree in communications-related field preferred. Previous experience with the labor movement or other advocacy group preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience in performing pro-active media outreach, maintaining good working relationships with journalists and generating positive media coverage.
  • Excellent writing, verbal and analytical communications skills. Writing test required.
  • Working knowledge of electronic and/or print media systems; knowledge of advertising techniques preferred.
  • Familiarity with all aspects of literature production process including layout required.
  • Familiarity with organizing, political and bargaining strategies preferred.
  • Knowledge of website maintenance and e-mail communications preferred.
  • Ability to work independently under limited direction and balance conflicting demands.
  • Willingness to work long and irregular hours often including evenings, weekends and holidays.
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish or Vietnamese a plus.

REQUIREMENTS: Must possess a valid California driver’s license; must pass a DMV check and have a good driving record; must have auto insurance that covers business driving (minimum of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per incident bodily injury liability/$100,000 property coverage); and must possess an automobile for business use.


  • Salary commensurate with experience.
  • Employer-paid retirement plan & 401K.
  • Fully-paid health insurance for worker and dependents (including domestic partner).
  • Liberal vacation, sick leave and holiday schedule.
  • Life insurance, dental, vision care and flexible spending accounts.

Interested parties may apply by submitting a resume and letter of application stating in detail how the candidate’s skills, abilities, and experience qualify them to successfully address the Union’s needs as described in the position announcement. The resume and letter of application should be sent to:

Margolies and Potterton, SEIU Local 521, Search Consultants

For all questions regarding this search including confidential inquiries, please contact:

Ken Margolies (East Coast)                                Jim Potterton (West Coast)
       Kam47@cornell.edu                                      jpotterton@sbcglobal.net
(845) 499-6636  (Eastern time zone)                    (831) 332-9324 (Pacific time zone)

This position is open until filled; however, the posting/acceptance of applications may close at any time.

Local 521 is an affirmative action employer and encourage applications from all qualified candidates regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, or disability. Local 521 works to ensure fair treatment of applicants and employees
and actively enforces policies against discrimination and sexual harassment.

WHEN APPLYING: Be sure to indicate that you saw this information at UNIONJOBS.COM.