Local 509 is sad to share news of the passing of longtime member and union leader Kenneth (Kenny) Gorman, Jr.
A celebration of Kenny’s life was held on Tuesday, January 14 in Spencer, MA. Details can be found here, or in the Worcester Telegram.
While he recently retired as a correctional program officer at the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Kenny was a larger-than-life figure at SEIU Local 509 for many years. He served in a variety of union leadership roles throughout his career: steward, chapter president, chair of our Committee on Political Education (COPE), and most recently as a trustee of the local. Many members, both in his chapter and beyond, are grateful for Ken’s willingness to mentor and support them in their work — along with his encouragement to become more active in the union.
In addition to bargaining for and representing working families in countless forums, Kenny maintained a true passion for politics. Prior to his storied years of work in the union, Ken served as a legislative aide on Beacon Hill and maintained several close friendships from his time there. Ken volunteered many of his own hours helping to elect candidates who understood and prioritized issues impacting working families — most recently helping to elect Marty Walsh as Mayor of Boston.
Both Kenny’s day-to-day work and his activism were firmly grounded in the desire to lift up all working families — and his dedication to the cause knew no boundaries. Whether here at home or halfway across the country, Kenny was always ready to lend his voice and energy to the fight for workers’ rights. When union workers in Wisconsin came under attack from Governor Scott Walker, Kenny passionately rallied a large crowd in Boston in support of his brothers and sisters. His words and actions will continue to inspire our work for years to come.
Kenny Gorman was a great leader, a dedicated public servant, and a kind man who will be greatly missed by all of us at local 509. The SEIU Local 509 COPE Committee has established an annual $1,000 scholarship to be given in Ken’s memory.