Carnell “Sonny” Reed
Carnell Reed was born December 7, 1937 in Haynesville, LA. Mr. Reed relocated to the Washington, D.C. with his parents at the age of seven. He grew up in the Northwest part of Washington, D.C., and attended Garrison Elementary School, progressing along to Shaw Junior High School and then completing Armstrong High School. Carnell started working with the Prince George’s School Board in 1964 was hired as the Day Supervisor at Crestview Elementary School, where he remained until 1966. In 1966, there was an opportunity to advance and he was then moved to Suitland Jr. High as the Day Supervisor until 1970. In 1970, an opportunity opened up for him to become a full time Organizer for the Firemen and Oilers Union. While working to organize the Firemen and Oilers Union and getting contracts established, he then went on to help organize Local 400 with fifteen hundred members. In 1971, he enrolled in University of District of Columbia, and received a Certificate in Labor Law, to further his knowledge of the union with the hopes of continuing to move up. He received a Certificate for Organizing from the George Meany School in 1972. In 1973, he then went on to organize Prince George County Hospital, which later became Local 63. In 1974, he was elected to the position of First Vice President of Local 400. In 1975, the Firemen and Oilers Union disaffiliated with Local 400 and the Local became independent. The Union was now an independent association named Supporting Service Employees, Local 400.
In 1977, 1978, 1979, he received Certificates for Civil and Human Rights from the George Meany School. In 1977, he was elected to the position of Secretary Treasurer, having the responsibility to keep an accurate account of funds coming in and going out of the Local 400 union. In 1979, he was elected President of Local 400 Union. In the next few years, the union spent countless work hours to get the union better established. In 1984, the Union became affiliated with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), in which the Union was named SEIU Local 400 PG. In 1986, he was appointed to the Public Sector Board of SEIU and was placed on the Executive Board as a member.
In 1991, he was appointed to work on the Committee of the Future Report of SEIU. He also serves on the Metropolitan-Washington Council of AFL-CIO as an Executive Board Member. In addition, he also serves on the Maryland State and the District of Columbia AFL-CIO Board as the Regional Vice President and is still presently holding the same positions.
From 1991 to 1996, he was appointed the President of State Council 54 of Service Employees International Union. From 1996 to 2000, he served as Auditor for the International Office of SEIU. In 2008, he was elected Recording Secretary for SEIU State Council 54.
As Union President, he has negotiated new contracts with the School Board for the custodians and has handled the grievances the members have had over the years. He continues to represent the membership not only at school level but before the County Council and State Government.
Mr. Reed was called home on December 4, 2014. He has left a permanent imprint on the labor movement in the Washington D.C. metro area. His legacy of fighting the tough fight to improve the lives of the hard working custodians in the Prince Georges County School System was and will continue to be the driving force for the stewards of SEIU Local 400 PG. With his spirit, his drive, his zest and his conviction, we must all fight to continue to do the job that he has bestowed upon us to do.