Born and raised in downtown San Jose, Jean Cohen's professional career spans three decades working for local government, the labor movement, and the nonprofit sector to build social and economic justice through public policy and organizing. Jean worked for many years on housing, land use, and transportation policy for State Senator Jim Beall and San Jose City Councilman Raul Peralez. She served on staff at Sacred Heart Community Service as the Director of Development and Communications, developing tools for economic self-sufficiency for the working poor and homeless of Santa Clara County.
During her tenure at SEIU-UHW, NUHW, and as the Political Director of the Alameda Labor Council, Jean directed the organizing and legislative programs for over 120 affiliated labor unions in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties, engaging over 100,000 unionists through multiple election cycles. With a focus on affiliate and member mobilization, she has organized successful electoral field programs and contract campaigns utilizing direct action, strategic coalition building, and investments in leadership and policy development. From 2016 to 2020, Jean was the Political and Communications Director for UA Local Union 393.
Under her leadership in 2021, the South Bay Labor Council distributed over 1,000 covid vaccines to union families, organized the VTA Solidarity Fund, and served as the regional campaign hub for the No Anti-Union Recall for Gavin Newsom. Jean is currently an Executive Board Member for Team San Jose and she also serves on the NOVAworks Workforce Board.
In January 2023, Jean was elected for a third term as Vice Chair of the Santa Clara County Democratic Party. She is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow and a graduate of Saint Mary’s College with an M.A. in 21st Century Leadership.
The proud daughter of a union teacher and union musician, Jean is committed to building power for working people.
Josh Rodriguez, a Texas-born individual raised amidst the vibrant tapestry of Mexican culture and then the Borderland, is a testament to the transformative power of diverse experiences. His unique upbringing nurtured a profound appreciation for unity, determination, and the pivotal role labor unions play in shaping societies and the lives of working individuals.
Josh's early exposure to the tireless efforts of his grandfather and community members in Mexico City, who championed equitable working conditions and fair treatment at their syndicate, laid the foundation for his unwavering commitment to advocating for labor rights. This awareness, deeply etched in his consciousness, kindled a desire to uphold dignity, promote equality, and amplify the voices of those who often go unheard.
Striving to support leaders who share his convictions, Josh worked with trailblazers like Bernie Sanders, Jessica Cisneros, Julie Kushner, and Michelle Lujan Grisham across the US. These candidates, who prioritize the expansion of labor rights and healthcare access, have provided Josh with platforms to amplify the voices of those advocating for a more just and equitable society. His experience as a skilled field organizer includes recruiting and leading large teams of volunteers, developing strategic campaigns, analyzing data and voter demographics, and leadership development.
However, Josh's commitment extends beyond electoral campaigns. At his core lies a dedication to equipping individuals with the tools necessary to navigate the intricate webs of power within political and economic systems. Josh is deeply committed to fostering a culture of education and organization, empowering people to grasp and apply the principles of effective advocacy in their own quests for influence.
As a steadfast advocate for labor rights and healthcare equity, Josh is armed with a profound understanding of diverse viewpoints and a vision for a future that promises fairness and opportunity for all.
Carmelita (Lita) Gutierrez
Carmelita Gutierrez joined South Bay Labor Council in the summer of 1997. She is charged with administrative office responsibilities. As a student at San Jose State University, Carmelita was an active organizer with MEChA, a Chicano/Latino student organization. As a member of MEChA she helped organize for educational rights on campus and worked with a coalition of other high school and college Chicano/Latino student organizations across California. Her experience allowed her to serve as a liaison from MECha to the African-Black Student Alliance and to the Asian, Pacific Islander Student Union in organizing educational rights issues statewide. “Lita” graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S. in Social Science.
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IBEW Local 332
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