The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO, CLC, Executive Board named Richard Lanigan to serve as president, effective December 15, 2015, following the resignation of Michael Goodwin. The appointment was made at the Executive Board’s meeting in New York City. Lanigan has served as Secretary-Treasurer of OPEIU Local 153 and as an International vice president for Region II since 1994.
“I would like to thank the Executive Board for its decision to appoint me as president,” said Lanigan when accepting the appointment. “I’ve dedicated my life to OPEIU and its members, and I’m excited to embark on this next phase of service to the working people of this union.”
“Richard is the fifth person to occupy the position of OPEIU president, and the board could not have made a better choice,” said Goodwin. “I know he will do a great job for the members of the union.”
After working his way through college as a union member, Lanigan joined Local 153 as an organizer in 1980. Soon he was promoted to business representative, where he gained experience negotiating contracts. In 1987, he enrolled in law school as an evening student and upon admission to the bar served for a time as an assistant to the OPEIU general counsel and the president.
As secretary-treasurer of Local 153, Lanigan manages the day-to-day affairs of OPEIU’s largest Local Union. As International vice president, he worked with Local Unions facilitating mergers, conducting hearings, filing Unfair Labor Practice charges, and assisting with affiliations, strikes, contract campaigns and grievances. He chaired the Constitution and Laws committee at seven OPEIU conventions, and taught at OPEIU educational conferences and conventions. He has negotiated on behalf of several OPEIU Local Unions under a master agreement in the maritime industry for 20 years. Representing OPEIU Local Unions in jurisdictional disputes under Articles XX and XXI of the AFL-CIO Internal Disputes Procedure, he won many decisions including the Hawai’i Nurses Association case in 2010, which determined that more than 4,000 nurses could be members of OPEIU.
Lanigan serves as a trustee on several benefit funds including the OPEIU and Local 153, Emblem Health and Perishable Food Industry Pension Funds and was certified in 2013 by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans under its Trustee Masters Program.
Lanigan received OPEIU’s highest honor for organizing, the Henderson B. Douglas Award, in both 1998 and in 2005. In 2007, he received the OPEIU Silver Organizing Award. He has been honored by the NAACP and the Boy Scouts and has received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The 2013 OPEIU Convention recognized his work representing Local Unions regarding Unfair Labor Practices and Articles XX and XXI. In 2014, the Federation of Catholic Teachers presented him their “Diamond” award. During 2013-14, he represented OPEIU in the inaugural AFL-CIO National Labor Leadership Initiative program.
After 55 years of service to OPEIU and having served as International president for the past 21 years, Goodwin will now dedicate all of his time to his position as business manager of Local 153, OPEIU’s largest Local Union, and has been appointed to replace Lanigan on the OPEIU Executive Board as a vice president representing Region II. Lanigan also will continue to serve as secretary-treasurer of Local 153.