Michael Allen, Board Vice Chair
Michael Allen was born and raised in Los Angeles by his Latina mother who immigrated to the United States after she married an American mining company attorney. When his mother was widowed when he was just 6 years old, Michael learned first-hand the value of hard work as his mother raised him on her own and worked as a seamstress to support them.
He began his career initially working at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles; then after moving to Northern California he worked as a psychiatric nurse for the Sonoma County Crisis Clinic. Michael later put himself through law school and joined the Sierra Club Legal Defense Team on the Warm Springs Dam initiative before ultimately finding his calling as a negotiator, mediator, and consensus builder at the Sonoma County Organization of Public Employees.
As Executive Director of the Service Employees International Union Local 707, Michael worked to resolve labor disputes, create local jobs, and protect working families. Michael is also a respected labor and employment law attorney and served nine terms as the President of the AFL-CIO North Bay Labor Council. In 2007, State Senator Patricia Wiggins asked Michael to accept the position of District Director for her five regional offices that serve over 880,000 constituents. Michael worked for the California State Senate resolving constituent and community issues in the greater North Bay area until 2010.
Michael's work in the community is just as extensive as his professional work. In the 1980s, Michael helped establish the Sonoma County Day Care Center, which still serves the community today. In 1992, Michael negotiated an innovative and groundbreaking housing benefit for Sonoma County workers that helped hundreds of North Bay families to realize their housing dreams. Michael previously served on the Santa Rosa Planning Commission and as Chair of the SMART Train Citizens Oversight Committee, working to create a more sustainable economy through this groundbreaking transportation project.
Michael is also a founding member of Solar Sonoma, a coalition of community leaders and private sector organizations that promotes development of alternative energy sources and reductions in fossil fuel dependency and green house gas emissions. Allen continues to advocate for green job creation as a creative means to jumpstart California's economy.
Elected to the State Assembly in November 2010, Michael was appointed to serve as the Assistant Majority Leader shortly thereafter. Since then, he has worked to improve safety at our state hospitals, help working families, and create local jobs. After serving in the Assembly he was appointed to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board by the Assembly Speaker Perez in January 2013.