George Nee has been a leader of the Rhode Island labor movement for 35 years and currently serves as president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.
Nee’s dedication to organized labor and civil rights began in earnest when he was inspired to leave Boston College in 1969 to help organize the grape boycott for the United Farm Workers of America in Dorchester, Massachusetts. After the successful conclusion of the grape boycott, which resulted in union contracts and improved working conditions for farm workers, Nee continued to work with the organization both in California and New England. In 1971, the farm workers’ union sent him to Rhode Island to coordinate a lettuce boycott. By working alongside uneducated farm workers who spoke little English, Nee solidified his belief that the right to organize and the power of collective action were the keys that would allow hard working people to take control of their economic futures.
In 1976, Nee organized an array of low paid employees including jewelry workers, clerical workers, and healthcare workers in Rhode Island into a formidable group that eventually became the Service Employees International Union, Local 76. Nee served that organization as its founding president from 1976 to 1983.
Nee joined the Rhode Island AFL-CIO as its executive director in 1983. He was elected secretary-treasurer in 1991 and president in 2009. During the 1980s, George resumed his studies and became a graduate of Rhode Island College in 1990.
In his current role as AFL-CIO president, George is actively involved in economic development projects, serving on the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority; the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC); the Human Resource Investment Council; and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. He is also chairman of the board of the Institute for Labor Studies and Research and an executive board member of The United Way of Rhode Island. He is a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in South Providence and presided this year as the Grand Marshal of Providence’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
George has been married to Anne Sliney for 33 years. She is the Chief Nursing Officer of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. George and Anne have three adult children: Patrick, Katie, and Brigid. The family resides in Cranston.
– Spencer W. Viner, Esq.