July 12, 2019
“I am devastated that my longtime friend and colleague Hector Figueroa has passed away. His presence in New York - and his sudden loss - cannot be understated.
“Labor rights were certainly in Hector’s blood, as his parents were active in workers’ rights in the 1970s in Puerto Rico. In 1982, Hector brought his talents to the U.S. and fought tirelessly to protect and expand organized labor. His service at 32BJ SEIU established the union as a powerhouse for workers of all stripes. Over the decades and for millions of New Yorkers, Hector became THE face and voice of the labor movement. He was intrinsic to the state’s fight for fair pay for workers, including the fight for $15. To say he was a giant in the labor movement would be an understatement.
“Beyond labor, Hector was also a passionate and fierce advocate for our immigrant brothers and sisters, and a valiant fighter for equal rights for all. He served on countless boards and task forces on both the City and State level - all with common goals that Hector espoused: improving our communities, expanding and providing greater opportunities for all, and making the world a better place in which to live, work, grow and love.
“Most recently, Hector and I partnered on the New York State Complete Count Commission, working to ensure that every New Yorker - regardless of their status - is counted in the upcoming Census. This service is yet another testament to Hector’s selfless dedication to his fellow man. He understood that we ALL count.
“Hector embodied everything that was great about New York. His embracing of diversity and his passion, his spirit and his willingness to help his neighbors captured the best of who we are.
“This is a sad day for New York, and I grieve with our entire state with Hector’s loss. I offer my sincerest condolences to Hector’s wife Deidre, his children Eric and Elena, and all our friends at 32BJ SEIU.”