ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A memorial was held Sunday to honor the life of Local and National labor leader Bruce Popper, who died last month at the age of 71.

Popper was the retired Vice President of 1199 SEIU, the largest healthcare union in the United States. He fought for social and economic justice for workers across the state, including in Rochester.

He was a Buffalo native, and began his 45-year career in labor as a rank-and-file member of the union.

Recently, he led strikes at Anthony Jordan Health Center in Rochester.

Those who knew him best — such as 1199SEIU New Member Organizer John Carter — said that above all else, Popper’s goal was to help others.

“Bruce’s goal in life was to raise the living standards for all living people, especially here in Rochester and those who worked in healthcare,” Carter said. “We traveled many miles together, we went up to Ontario, Canada, and Washington D.C. to protest, basically everything that had to do with improving workers lives, that’s what Bruce was all about, and that’s why I’m here honoring him.”

In recognition for his 45 years of service in the labor movement, Popper received the key to the City of Rochester.