1199 Magazine | July / August 2020

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We Endorse Biden and Harris!

Fill Out Your Census!

Did You Forget Your 1199 Credit Union Account?

A Challenging Year for Training Fund Grads

“If you want to move up in this life, it takes hard work.”

May-June 2020

A Journal of 1199SEIU July-August 2020


The coronavirus (and Donald Trump) ravaged America. In November we can start repairing the damage.




4 On the cover: Home Health Aide/CNA Jolie Apuzzo earned her CNA this year with the help from the 1199 Training and Employment and Home Care Industry Education Funds and the Workforce Investment Organization and Robin Hood. Apuzzo completed her studies at the Consortium for Worker Education. Apuzzo overcame numerous obstacles, including the loss of her mother to HIV/ AIDS. Apuzzo began her CNA career at Archcare’s Terence Cardinal Cooke

Center in Manhattan at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apuzzo says it was worth it, and credits 1199 staff with helping her succeed. “They gave me this chance. I had strength inside me I didn’t even know I had,” she says. “The program gave me an opportunity to use talents I don’t even know I had. I have always loved 1199, but I’m even more loyal now. You can do anything you want with their help. It really is a place of second chances.” See story on page 14.

@1199seiu www.1199seiu.org 2

May-June 2020

1199 Magazine July-August 2020 Vol. 38, No. 4 ISSN 2474-7009 Published by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East 498 7th Avenue New York, NY 10018 (212) 582-1890 www.1199seiu.org

Editorial: 1199ers Do Not Give Up

4 The President’s Column Electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is the way we will save the country.

11 The Work We Do Homecare workers remain a lifeline to our most vulnerable.

7 Around the Regions 1199ers participated in national Strike For Black Lives; Illuminations celebrate homecare workers; 1199ers say NO to Goya Foods.

14 Recognizing Our Graduates We celebrate our 2019/2020 Training Fund Program grads! 16 Hazard Pay Fights Caregivers paid a high price during COVID. They deserve to be compensated. 18 Political Action In COVID Workers are embracing new strategies.

20 Don’t Forget Your 1199SEIU Credit Union Account! Abandoned accounts will be turned over to NYS in October. 22 Thank You Caravans Parades celebrate our essential workers. 23 Our History Goodbye to Milton Glaser, graphic arts legend and friend to 1199.

George Gresham

It’s the end of summer. For many of us, we’d normally be planning for back to school, coordinating camp pickups, or headed to cookouts or family reunions—maybe even a last-minute getaway and a few days of rest. But, if we ever were, we’re not in the normal now. We haven’t been since Donald Trump’s election in 2016 and certainly not since the spring, when a complete lack of national leadership allowed a pandemic to ravage the United States, kill more than 160,000 people and upend our economy. We haven’t been in the normal since the White House and its enablers on Capitol Hill abdicated their responsibility to stop more deaths and help those who have been devastated by the crisis in other ways. We haven’t been in the normal since this administration left the nation to founder in the absence of any national policy, except for those that plunder our national resources and enrich corporations and CEOs. But November is just two months away, and with it, a chance to restore our institutions and begin to undo the horrendous damage of the last four years. To make sure this happens, 1199ers have thrown their full support behind the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. We are operating in a new way, in a new world, but our fire is not tempered. Even in the face of a pandemic, we are still the Purple Army. We still communicate our values. We still fight for justice. We still make sure our communities and patients are represented. We still hold those in power accountable. And we’ll still make sure that workers have the voice, rights, and opportunities to which they are entitled. We are organized, and we are undeterred. Throughout the pages of this magazine are undeterred 1199ers. 1199 members are in the streets fighting for racial justice and Black Lives. 1199SEIU members are winning organizing victories and fights for hazard pay. They’re winning strong, new contracts.

secretary treasurer

Maria Castaneda executive vice presidents

Jacqueline Alleyne Yvonne Armstrong Lisa Brown Tim Foley Patrick Forde Ruth Heller Antonio Howell Maria Kercado Steve Kramer Joyce Neil Monica Russo Rona Shapiro Milly Silva Gregory Speller Veronica TurnerBiggs Nadine Williamson editor

Patricia Kenney director of photography

Jim Tynan art direction & design

Maiarelli Studio

cover photo

Kim Wessels contributors

Mindy Berman Regina Heimbruch JJ Johnson Tobias Packer Erin Rojas Jacob Webb

Johanna Goodman

Even in the face of a pandemic, we are still the Purple Army. We still communicate our values. We still fight for justice. We still make sure our communities and patient are represented. We still hold those in power accountable.

They’re moving up in their careers and taking on the challenge of higher education. They’re calling out powerful corporations, and much, much more. CNA/HHA Jolie Apuzzo is a recent Training and Employment Funds graduate. She’s had numerous struggles in life but has kept going. Says Apuzzo: “If you want to move up in this life, it takes hard work.” She applies the same philosophy to her Union work: Giving up is never an option. We could not agree more.

1199 Magazine is published six times a year—January/ February, March/ April, May/June, July/ August, September/ October, November/ December—for $15.00 per year by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, 498 7th Ave. New York, NY 10018. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 1199 Magazine, 498 7th Avenue New York, NY 10018

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We Endorse Joe Biden and Kamala Harris November’s election is truly a matter of life and death. The President’s Column by George Gresham

Our 1199SEIU Executive Committee has endorsed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to become the next President and Vice President of the United States. This should come as no surprise to any 1199 member. The clear and present danger that Donald Trump presents to American democracy, to the future of Planet Earth and our very lives is obvious. Four more years of the worst presidency in U.S. history is simply unacceptable. November’s election is a matter of life and death. I mean that literally. As I write this, our country is headed toward at least five million COVID-19 infections and has just surpassed more than 160,000 deaths from the virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that in some regions, the actual figures may be from two to thirteen times the official numbers. Most of us remember like they were yesterday the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which took 3000 lives. Now, imagine such attacks happening every three days--week in, week out--for the past five months. The current 160,000 COVID deaths are equal to fifty 9/11 events. Of course, there’s no way to figure how many of these deaths are directly due to Donald Trump’s empty leadership, but unquestionably there are tens of thousands. Just as deadly as the virus were several months of denial, accusations of a hoax, falsely bragging that things were under control and that the virus will simply go away. And here we are, five months later, the United States still has no national policy on masks, testing, or protective gear for frontline healthcare and other essential workers. Ours is the only advanced industrial country in the world where the pandemic remains out of control. With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, we have more than 25 percent of the world’s COVID4

July-August 2020

19 infections and deaths. And this isn’t even accounting for the loss of more than 40 million jobs, and with them, the loss of life-saving health coverage for so many. Like I say, this is a lifeand-death election. Even without the pandemic and the economy’s collapse, this wouldn’t be an ordinary election. Not since Woodrow Wilson celebrated the Ku Klux Klan at the White House has there been a president so outwardly white supremacist. Donald Trump appears to be running for President of the Confederacy, rather than President of the United States. From the time he announced candidacy in 2015, he has done little to hide his hatred and contempt for African Americans and non-white immigrants, and Latinx and Native persons.

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will fight for and alongside 1199SEIU members and our families to ensure that we all have the right to join together in unions, regardless of the color of our skin or where we were born.”

Not that we couldn’t see this coming. It was clear when Trump called Mexicans rapists and criminals and a Nazi mob in Charlottesville very fine people. It was clear watching him simmer a years-long resentment and envy of our first Black President, precisely because he was our first Black President And so it has gone: Donald Trump’s near-daily casual insults targeting people of color—especially women of color. His obsessive (and illegal) building a wall against an imaginary invasion of Mexican and Central American workers. His separating and caging of children. His dispatching a militarized police force to U.S. cities to gas and beat peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters. His support of Confederate flag-bearing mobs armed with assault weapons at state capitals. Donald Trump has made clear law and order is for the rest of us, but not for himself, his family and his lieutenants. Fortunately, in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we have candidates who will put an end to Donald Trump’s

presidency, along with his lies, his corruption and drive toward fascism. Unlike Trump, who has sided with corporations over working people and stoked divisions based on race and ethnicity, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will fight for and alongside 1199SEIU members and our families to ensure that we all have the right to join together in unions, regardless of the color of our skin or where we were born. Earlier this year, campaigning for Biden in the South Carolina Democratic primary, Representative James Clyburn said, “I know Joe Biden. I know his character, his heart, and his record. Joe Biden has stood for the hard-working people of South Carolina. We know Joe. But more importantly, he knows us,” Joe Biden knows 1199SEIU. He knows the instrumental role we played in electing President Barack Obama and himself in 2008, and again in 2012. Five years ago, when we launched our Fight for $15, Joe Biden came to New York to stand with us alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo.

 1199’s Executive Committee voted overwhelmingly this summer to endorse Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to become the next President and Vice President of the United States.

When we elect Kamala Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants—note I said “when,” not “if”—we will be making history in electing the first female Vice President, and the first Vice President of both African and South Asian descent after nearly 250 years of American history. We are proud to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because they will lead a strong federal response to the pandemic that will allow us to finally beat back the coronavirus. They will support allowing every worker in the U.S. to join a union with collective bargaining rights. They will support and make real a $15 federal minimum wage. They will fight to make voting a right free of theft and suppression and easily accessible to every American

adult. They will fight for immigrant rights and a path to citizenship to all who want it. They will return the United States to the Paris Climate Accords and take immediate bold action to combat climate change. They will fight to break down the systemic racism and exclusion that keeps all working families from getting ahead. They will reverse Donald Trump’s tax policies, which were great for multinational corporations, CEOs and the stock market, but not for working families. In short, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will help build an America that works for us all. We 1199ers—together with our other SEIU sisters and brothers—number over two million essential workers. With our families, we are more

than five million strong. If we do our job—and I would argue that our most essential job in the coming weeks in to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and defeat Donald Trump—we can be the difference that wins on their election November 3. Because of COVID-19, especially in some of the battleground states, we can’t know yet what all our campaigns will look like, but we already know that each of us has co-workers, family members, neighbors, friends and co-worshippers. We can call them to make sure they call others to register and vote, whether it’s by mail, absentee ballot, or at the polls. I hope you are ready to fight like your life—and your families’—depend on it. Because it does. 1199 Magazine 5

Social Media

Florida Maryland Massachusetts New Jersey New York Washington, D.C.

Around the Regions Strike for Black Lives

1199SEIU UNITED HEALTH-CARE WORKERS EAST: As we mourn the passing of the Civil Rights giant, U.S. Representative John Lewis, it is also a time to celebrate his legacy. The significance of his famous march across Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 is being taught to a younger generation. The 50th anniversary of that march was attended by a contingent of 1199ers in 2015, alongside former President Barack Obama. Lewis had been the sole surviving speaker from the March on Washington in 1963. His lifelong struggle to promote and preserve equal voting rights for all will live on in the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act” recently introduced in Congress. #GetOutTheVote #GoodTrouble

@1199SEIUFLORIDA: 1199ers who work at Middletown Dialysis Center joined forces with sisters and brothers from Garnet Health and community allies to demand a #FairContractNow. The multibillion dollar corporation, Fresenius, refuses to pay what the dedicated workers deserve. #HeroesDontGetZeroes!


July-August 2020

@1199MASS: Yaaassss Latia! 1199 leader, Latia Holmes, joined @RaiseUpMA today at Nubian Square to reinforce that our govt must #InvestInOurRecovery. Healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic and we are fighting to protect quality care for MA families. #mapoli

1199SEIU NEW JERSEY: Imagine you’re a nursing home worker serving on the frontlines during the COVID-19 crisis. Then, in the midst of the pandemic, your employer DOUBLES the cost of the health insurance you need for your family–to $11,000 per year! This is exactly what workers are experiencing at Complete Care at Green Knoll, where they picketed today during the nationwide #StrikeForBlackLives. #WorkerJusticeIsRacialJustice

1199SEIU UPSTATE NY: Today, 62 professional community outreach workers at Health Home in Niagara Falls became the newest members of 1199SEIU. The group includes social workers and support staff who provide critical community-based health services to the Niagara Falls area. Join us in welcoming them to the 1199SEIU family! #UnionStrong

DON’T MISS OUR LABOR DAY WEEKEND KICKOFF! Join us on Friday, September 4th for a Labor Day Weekend Kickoff Virtual Party to thank you - our #HealthcareHeroes! Labor Day is celebration of working people, and we are going to bring in the weekend right with a night of music from various genres and decades. So dust off your dancing shoes, and get ready to party with us!

1199ers joined thousands of workers in 25 cities across the U.S. on July 20 for a national Strike for Black Lives. The actions demanded that corporations and governments take sustained actions to dismantle systemic racism and address the oppressive conditions that sustain inequality in Black and Brown communities. The national day of action included healthcare and other service workers who walked off their jobs for eight minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of Black people who have died at the hands of police. In a demonstration of intersectionality, some events included climate activists who protested the often-deadly environmental conditions that plague Black, Brown, and poor communities. Across 1199’s regions, member participated in a variety of actions. In Massachusetts, members kicked off their day of action at the State House in Boston, where they reminded elected officials that caregivers are battling multiple pandemics. Members chanted and carried signs calling on lawmakers and employers to support healthcare workers who overwhelmingly face the debilitating impacts of discrimination, low wages, poor staffing and inadequate health care. In New York City, members at Interfaith Medical Center and Brookdale Medical Center—both in Brooklyn—held actions at their institutions and were joined by numerous community supporters and elected officials.

Ned expressed pride in the participation of her Interfaith coworker and added that sustained, movement-driven action is necessary for lasting change. “We heal our patients by educating them. We can do the same thing with our society,” she said. “What we need to do that is resources and for elected people in office to hear our cries and pleas to support us and work with us.”

“We heal our patients by educating them. We can do the same with our society.” — Michelle Ned, In-Service Coordinator, Interfaith Medical Center  1199 members across the regions, including these at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn and (below) at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, participated in a July 20 Strike for Black Lives

“This isn’t just about today. Our members and our patients are dying in the streets,” said Michele Ned, an In-Service Coordinator at Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant. (A recent NYC neighborhood profile from New York City found Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant residents are more likely to live in poverty, be burdened by rent costs and face insecurity around necessities like transportation, clothing, housing, and health care.) 1199 Magazine 7

C IODV- I1 D COV 9 -19

Around the Regions

 Florida members at institutions owned by Hospital Corporation of America have been keeping on the pressure around a fair contract and PPE.


HCA Workers Make Strides With Three-Month Contract Extension Florida 1199ers at hospital operated by the healthcare giant Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) made major strides in July when HCA agreed to a three-month contract extension. Caregivers at the 19 HCA institutions across Florida demonstrated determination and unity with sticker days and other actions to press management around the need for an extension as Florida is engulfed in the COVID-19 pandemic. After a break in contract talks that began in early summer, 1199SEIU Bargaining Committee members resumed contract negotiations, and on July 14 reached an agreement to extend their collective bargaining agreements for three months. The extension ensures that protections will remain in place to exercise our rights and make our voices heard as we continue to hold HCA hospitals accountable on critical coronavirus-related issues that are threatening our lives and the lives of our patients. At the same time, HCA reiterated their refusal to negotiate hazard pay, as well as their demands to float workers to other facilities, and silence workers’ voices and ability to raise patient and work safety issues. At press time, HCA workers said hospitals still weren’t providing enough PPE, have threatened layoffs, and ended pandemic pay during this crisis, despite making $581 million in profits in Q1 2020 and receiving nearly $5 billion in government relief. Workers responded with a loud, united commitment to building their power to hold HCA hospitals accountable. 8

July-August 2020

At press time, HCA workers said hospitals still weren’t providing enough PPE, have threatened layoffs, and ended pandemic pay during this crisis, despite making $581 million in profits in Q1 2020 and receiving nearly $5 billion in government relief.



Labor Coalition Supports Boycott of Latin Food Giant

Shining A Light on Homecare Workers

1199SEIU announced via social media on July 17 the union’s participation in a boycott of Latin foods giant Goya Foods. During a July 9 appearance at the White House, Goya President Bob Unanue praised Donald Trump and characterized the United States as “blessed” to have Mr. Trump as its leader. The response to Unanue’s compliment was swift and severe, with a social media-driven, organized boycott movement springing up with the hashtags #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway. The action quickly drew high profile supporters, including famed playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents a heavily Latinx district that spans the Bronx and Queens. 1199’s own Executive Council voted unanimously to support the boycott at a July meeting, and during a July 22 TeleTown Hall, EVP Maria Kercado explained the importance of the action and the Union’s decision to support it. “We have a bitter history with Goya,” said Kercado. “The company has consistently taken positions against the Latino community; instead of setting an example and taking the high road they have done the opposite.” Kercado pointed out that the boycott was a central discussion at a recent meeting of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). LCLAA includes delegations from 1199SEIU, Transit Workers Union Local 100 and the New York State Nurses Association and supports the boycott and has been urging other labor organizations not to remain neutral. Workers from across labor played a central role in a United Food and Commercial Workers organizing campaign at Goya Florida in the late 1990’s. Goya eventually succeeded in dismantling the Florida workers’ union. For more information about the Goya Boycott, visit 1199seiu.org. #BoycottGoya #Goyaway

“This is not work you can do if you don’t have the heart for it.” — Blanca Graniela home health aide, Best Care Agency

 Illuminations celebrating homecare workers lit up cities across the country on July 1, National Homecare Day of Action


498 7th Avenue New York City 10018 Between 36th & 37th Streets


 1199’s NYC headquarters has moved! Be sure to update your contacts!

Home health workers across the country – including tens of thousands of 1199SEIU members – took a moment on July 1 to celebrate homecare workers during a National Homecare Day of Action. Nationally, the day included numerous socially distanced actions. New York State home health workers were recognized with a rolling series of illuminated portraits that were projected on building from Niagara Falls to Brooklyn. The event was meant to publicly recognize the essential nature of homecare work. Images of homecare workers, some hundreds of feet high, lit up the July night sky. The displays were a poignant reminder of just how rarely homecare workers are seen and celebrated in our society. “Homecare workers are always left out of the conversation. What we do is so important,” said Blanca Graniela, a home health aide with the Best Care Agency from the Bronx. “We go into people’s homes. We travel on trains for hours at time. We never get hazard pay. We all definitely deserve to be recognized.” Graniela was among a group of home health aides who attended the illumination at the historic Dime Savings bank Building on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. “This really shows why homecare workers are special,” she said of the images. “This is not work you can do if you don’t have the heart for it.”

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 Far left: Presby 1199ers take a moment to celebrate during a June “thank you” caravan event at NY-Presbyterian’s main hospital in upper Manhattan.

At NY-Presbyterian Hospital,

Near left: NYPresbyterian has instituted a race relations and diversity program, including support for racial justice initiatives and the Movement for Black Lives.

Protecting Workers Was A Priority The hospital developed an unprecedented support program for its healthcare heroes during the COVID-19 crisis. As COVID-19 engulfed New York City, hospitals and healthcare workers became both beacons of hope and ground zero for COVID’s ravages. Caregivers battling the largest public health disaster in modern American history also struggled to protect their own health, provide for their families and care for their patients. The pandemic highlighted many issues, but especially the critical importance of effective healthcare leadership. Aided by dedicated staff, a forward-thinking management team, and the ability to plan and pivot, NY-Presbyterian Hospital, with its six campuses and regional hospitals, played a central role in New York’s COVID-19 response. Under the direction of CEO 10

July-August 2020

Dr. Steven Corwin, NY-Presbyterian offered exemplary care to affected New Yorkers and commitment the institution’s caregivers. Working together, the hospital, Union leadership and institution-based committees of rank and filers, developed an unprecedented package of support programs to help workers through the COVID-19 crisis. “NY-Presbyterian’s response has been exemplary. I began my healthcare career at New York-Presbyterian, so I know what an exceptional institution it is,” said 1199SEIU President George Gresham. “The hospital and Dr. Corwin have worked with us in a spirit of true partnership and genuine concern for healthcare workers and the communities they serve.”

“I work at Presbyterian and my husband is a nurse at the hospital. We both got COVID. We were quarantined, and the support from Presbyterian really meant a lot.” — Nikosa Collins, cytotechnologist, NY-Presbyterian

During the crisis, workers received recognition pay, child and elder care assistance, free temporary housing, grocery deliveries, hardship grants, meals at work, free transportation, free counseling and pastoral care and much more. The institution also worked to provide appropriate PPE and COVID-19 testing. “Meeting the needs of their employees during that time was a real collaboration between the Union and NY-Presbyterian. 1199 and Presbyterian are deeply committed to making sure that healthcare workers are protected, compensated, and able to care for their families,” says 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Jacqueline Alleyne. “I work at Presbyterian and my husband is a nurse at the hospital. We both got COVID,” said cytotechnologist Nikosa Collins. “We were quarantined, and the support from Presbyterian really meant a lot. We didn’t have to worry about days off or how we were going to take care of our kids. We could focus on getting better and getting back to work to take care of patients.” Respect and quality care are the foundations of Dr. Corwin’s management philosophy. “This was an enormous undertaking. We have not seen the likes of this in my 40 years in medicine,” said Dr. Corwin. “It really required an enormous amount of good will and competencies on the part of all the healthcare workers. This was unprecedented and all the strategies in the world go out the window unless you have very dedicated people [caring for] patients and the communities they come from. I can’t thank our 1199 workers for everything they did, and they did it with grace, grit and determination. I was truly humbled.” Nikosa Collins says that acknowledgement has reinforced a genuine sense of community at NYPresbyterian. “Dr. Corwin gets it,” says Collins. “Everything he and his team have done—from their COVID response to their work around race relations, inclusion and diversity—shows how much they care and how they really understand the needs of Presbyterian workers, and the time and culture they’re in.”

The Work We Do


For one aide, home care is even closer to home.

1. Rochelle Rolike has been a homecare worker for more than thirty years. Two years ago, she began caring for her own mother, Mary Cullen. Under New York State’s Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) patients are allowed to choose their caregivers, offering friends and family the opportunity to care for loved ones. 1199 Magazine 11

The Work We Do

Rochelle Rolike has been a homecare worker for more than three decades. For most of that time, she’s worked as a traditional home health aide with New York’s Premier and Stella Orton agencies. But for the last two years, Rolike has been working at Premier under the CDPAP model, caring for her own mother, Mary Cullen, 78. (1199 represents Premier CDPAP workers in NYC and Erie County, NY.) CDPAP is a relatively new model in New York State. The Medicaid program allows clients to hire relatives or close friends as their homecare provider. In Massachusetts, 1199 represents 35,000 Personal Care Attendants who work in this model. Rolike says working as a caregiver for her mother presented some unexpected challenges, but she welcomes the opportunity to take care of her and ensure her safety. “It’s not for everybody,” says Rolike of caring for her mother. “You really have to think about what kind of relationship you have with the person. It’s definitely not easy.” 12

July-August 2020


3 2. Laughter is the best medicine. “I’m a very friendly person and I’m always trying to make my patients laugh. I know if I can’t get them to laugh after three days together, we aren’t a good fit,” says Rolike.


3. Rolike, shown here with her patient Betty Logan, 78, also cares for her own mother, Mary Cullen, who is in the early stages of dementia and can sometimes be a challenging patient. Cullen has always been tough,” says Rolike. This was an asset in Cullen’s career as a bartender, but not so much now. “Part of the reason I’m doing this is because I didn’t like the way she was talking to her other home health aides.

4. “I thought it would be easier taking care of a relative, but it’s definitely not,” says Rolike. “It’s much more personal. Everything about it feels personal.”

5. “It’s definitely not easy to watch someone decline. My mother is the hardest case I’ve had,” says Rolike.


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Celebrating Our

Training Fund Graduates

More than 2,000 members completed programs through the nation’s largest worker training fund.

Every year, the1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds (TEF) holds a Recognition Ceremony to honor 1199ers who completed a degree, certificate, or skill-building program. The event is a yearly highlight and moment of unabashed pride and joy. Though COVID-19 denied this year’s 2,000 graduates their moment of communal joy, there was still plenty of pride to go around. “This year’s graduates had to stay focused and finish their programs while enduring the enormous stress of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said TEF Executive Director Sandi Vito. “Many members started new jobs immediately after graduation with temporary credentials to alleviate workforce shortages in critical areas and help save lives. The courage and dedication of 1199SEIU healthcare workers is inspiring,” In the absence of a live event, the TEF is planning to share videos featuring graduates’ personal stories and present certificates to officially commemorate grads’ participation in the Union’s programs. 1199SEIU President George Gresham lamented the lost opportunity to speak to graduates but noted that particularly in 2020, members’ academic achievements are a testament to the strength of 1199. “We are proud of every one of these graduates. Their commitment to education and professional development shows their commitment to their patients and to health care,” said Gresham. “Being a working adult student is an incredible challenge. I know because I have done it. The fact that these members stayed the course in their dedication to education and advancement reminds us what 1199 members are made of. We congratulate every one of them on their achievement and we are grateful to them for their work on behalf of all of us as we band together to fight COVID-19 and heal our country.” 14

July-August 2020

“I reminded myself that I am worth this opportunity and I have the support of all my Union sisters and brothers and my family to get me through.” — Deja Murrain, Certified Substance Abuse Counselor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center

1. Surgical tech Shakeel Shah started in the kitchen at Buffalo’s Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. Soon, he’ll be a surgeon’s righthand man in the operating room. Shah this year earned an associate’s degree in surgical technology from Niagara County Community College. Driven by his love of hard work and team care, Shah has climbed his health career ladder, even while working full time while completing his studies. A member of the Dean’s List and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Shah says that Training Fund staff played an integral part in his success. “I can’t really say enough about the Training Fund,” says Shah. “I was so busy because I was in school and working and they helped me so much with everything from connecting me with a tutor to meeting me in the cafeteria at work to make sure I filled out my paperwork on time.” 2. In 2003, Jaqueline NjuGhong, a health educator at Lynn Community Health Center in Lynn, MA, had to flee her home country of Cameroon after being targeted for her work as a teacher, HIV/AIDs resource worker, and political activist. After arriving in the U.S., she worked two CNA jobs to support her family. She’s also dealt with the death of her husband. Her activism propelled Nju-Ghong her to become a health educator at Lynn Community Health and a Union activist. This year, she added another milestone, earning a bachelor’s degree in social work from Salem State University. 3. Carlos Arteta-Higgins, an RN at University of Miami Hospital earned his BSN from Miami Regional University this year after working in wound care at U of M for the last five years. He says his BSN is the next step in his journey to becoming a nurse practitioner. Describing the hospital as a war zone during COVID-19, ArtetaHiggins says his main

concern was protecting the lives of his co-workers and his patients. Arteta-Higgins says that even during the pandemic, workers should hang onto their vision for their own lives. ‘Never give up on yourself, no matter what,” he says. “Dream big and go for it. Even if it’s a little bit at a time. You will get there.” 4. With three kids under the age of 12, you’d think Vernell Lucas has enough to do, but the Baltimore mom wanted more for herself and her kids. After a few years of working two jobs and taking courses for programs that didn’t quite fit, Lucas decided to apply to a newly-launched Central Sterile Tech Apprenticeship Program. The program is a collaboration between 1199’s Training Program and University of Maryland Medical Center. Lucas says the demands of the program meant that her partner and her mother had to be on board to help out with child care and other tasks. They were. And for the last six months she’s been working as a Central Sterile Tech at U of M’s Midtown Campus. “It was a lot, and it was a family effort,” she says. “If you are determined you can do anything. If there is a will, there is a way.” 5. Deja Murrain, a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, earned a master’s degree in social work from Fordham University. Murrain faced numerous challenges during her schooling, including the death of her grandmother (for whom she was the primary caregiver) and contracting COVID-19 herself. Still, she persevered, maintaining a high GPA and even getting married. “I was so excited to have the TEF there for me every step of the way. And when it got hard, I reminded myself that I am worth this opportunity and I have the support of all my Union sisters and brothers and my family to get me through.”

Bob Kirkham Photo


Rose Lincoln Photo





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Heroes, Not Zeroes Workers fight for recognition pay.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, caregivers have been lauded from all quarters as the heroes saving our country. But when it comes to the recognition pay workers deserve for manning the front lines during the pandemic, generosity dries up. While many employers have been exemplary in the efforts to recognize and compensate caregivers, others have

forced workers out into the streets to take actions demanding the recognition and hazard pay they deserve. On Long Island in New York, 1199SEIU members from three institutions affiliated with Stony Brook Medical Center have been fighting for recognition pay through a potent public campaign and several marches and demonstrations. Dietary workers

u Workers from institutions affiliated with Stony Brook Medical Center held a July 21 picket to press the wealthy institution for hazard pay.



July-August 2020

at Stony Brook, and its Southampton and Eastern Long Island Hospitals have been struggling with the powerful institution for recognition pay. At Southampton, which has received millions from wealthy donors, workers say management is pushing them to work through the busy summer season with the intention of scaling back in the fall.

Hundreds of Stony Brook workers were joined by local officials at a June 21 march and rally at the institution’s main campus in Suffolk County. “Stony Brook has consistently refused to acknowledge meaningfully the contributions of frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis,” said 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Steve Kramer. “This is a well-resourced institution that has consistently benefitted from the good will of the community, not to mention wealthy donors. This institution could have done the right thing by all these workers, but instead chose to fight us every step of the way. So now we are out here with our sister and brother union members calling on Stony Brook, Southampton and Eastern Long Island to do the right thing by the workers who have so faithfully supported these hospitals throughout the pandemic.” In New York’s Hudson Valley, veteran healthcare workers say they had never felt so much pressure as they did when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit their hospital, Orange Regional Medical Center, in Middletown, NY. The severity of the illness, rapidly changing protocols, the long hours, extreme contagion, and the fear that you could infect a loved one added to a lingering physical and mental fatigue that often was unbearable. After several traumatic weeks of caring for patients and witnessing the death of some of them, 1199SEIU members Rachel Dunham, a unit clerk, and Rich Panio, a respiratory therapist, both succumbed to the virus. In addition to getting sick (both eventually recuperated and went back to work at the hospital), Dunham’s worst fear came true; she passed on the virus to her 83-year-old mother, who died. In the previous month, Dunham

 Healthcare workers in New York’s Hudson Valley held several actions over the summer, calling for recognition pay for workers; some of the area’s largest systems have refused to compensate staff with the recognition pay they deserve.

and Panio were among more than 3,000 1199SEIU members working under the umbrella network, the Greater Hudson Valley Health System, (GHVHS, recently renamed Garnet Health), who signed and distributed petitions asking the administration for hazard pay. “Even before I got sick, my coworkers and I knew that essential workers in other fields were compensated for holding down the fort. In our petitions, we asked that our sacrifices be acknowledged and our value in caring for patients and protecting the community be considered,” Dunham said. At first, the petition was turned down by Human Resources, although they signaled that once federal aid was distributed, they would reconsider. To help them make their decision, the GHVHS members launched an aggressive campaign at Orange Regional Medical Center, Catskill Regional Medical Center, and the associated offsite medical groups. It included signs in car windows that administrators could not miss because their offices overlooked the parking lot. Members also did Friday walk-ins and wrote sincere and detailed emails to individual administrators about how COVID-19 had affected their lives. On May 15, union leaders received a letter from CEO Scott Bakulis stating that members would receive a bonus for “the amazing work they have done during the past several weeks of COVID-19 pandemic.” On May 19,

full-time employees deemed high-risk received $5,000; those at medium risk, $3,500; and those at low risk, $2,500. Edna Stachurski, a recovery room nurse, said, “We were recognized for the hard work we did in this horrible time, and they divided it among all employees — including housekeepers, kitchen staff. That, to me, speaks to how they feel about their staff.” Laura Mosco, an endoscopy tech said, “The hazard pay bonus let me know that I was considered more than a number.” While the GHVHS bonus is unparalleled in the state, other healthcare employers in the Hudson Valley, have also recognized their frontline workers by providing enhanced compensation or bonuses: Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, $2,500, Montefiore Nyack Hospital, $2,500, Saint Joseph’s Medical Center, $1,000, St. Vincent’s Hospital, $1,000, and four Wingate nursing homes and Archcare at Ferncliff Nursing Home. Still, some of the Hudson Valley’s largest hospital systems including, Nuvance Health (Vassar Brothers Medical Center and Putnam Hospital) and the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (Good Samaritan Hospital, Bon Secours Hospital, MidHudson Regional Hospital, HealthAlliance Hospital, and Crothall/ Compass at WMC) have refused to compensate their staff, and at press time members were planning actions to press management for what they deserve.

“The hazard pay bonus let me know that I was considered more than a number.” — Endoscopy Tech, Laura Mosco

1199 Magazine 17

“ Everyone Needs to Get Involved

Between Now and November”


Member Political Organizers (MPOs) use new tools to foster community involvement. Home health aide Sandra Diaz is a freshman Member Political Organizer who has been honing her social media and data management skills.


COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives, and our political activism is no different. 1199ers are more than prepared to pivot and embrace new methods of communicating, mobilizing, and organizing to help elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In addition to saving the country from a pandemic, Union members have been building 1199’s GOTV arsenal. Central are social media, phone banking, a robust vote-bymail campaign, and recruitment of Member Political Organizers (MPOs). This year’s MPOs will lead a new, institution- and communitybased program to engage members where they live and work. MPOs and members will work together to lift workers’ voices around local issues

and broaden local power bases. Together with allies and coalition partners, 1199 activists will build networks to grow worker power nationally and beyond November. Florida Region MPOs hit the ground running in June with a virtual campaign kickoff that drew an unprecedented 11,000 activists. As part of the powerhouse coalition Florida For All, recruits will use a host of tools to build community and excitement around the election. Using 1199’s America For All platform as a jumping off point, voters’ personal stories will help drive the campaign. Organizers will use social media and text to have conversation and build connection. Voters are encouraged to talk to family and friends, help them register friends, and talk about the issues with people in their networks. In Upstate New York and Maryland/DC, activists are reaching as many as 20,000 members at a time using Purple Spoke, the union’s texting program. In Baltimore, Delegate Reeba McKinney, a CNA at the Greenhouse in Baltimore, worked recently on the campaign of Councilman Brandon Scott, Democratic nominee for Baltimore Mayor. “We organized virtual rallies and called members to talk to them about their concerns. We talked with community members to really get the voice of the people out there,” she says. Though she’s energized by Scott’s campaign, McKinney is anxious about November. “It’s been very difficult here in Baltimore,” she says. “So many people have lost jobs and family members in COVID. School closings have really changed the dynamic at home for many people. It’s like people don’t know what to expect. I try to remind them that they have the power to


July-August 2020

stabilize things with their vote.” “Making sure people vote is going to be critically important this year, whether it’s vote by mail or getting to the polls,” she says. “My biggest fear is that people will feel their votes don’t count. I do everything I can to discourage that.” Political activism brought new vigor to the work of Sandra Diaz, a home health aide with New York City’s Premier Agency. This spring and summer, Diaz worked on several campaigns, including on efforts to protect Medicaid and pass the CARES Act, and Michael Blake’s congressional race in her home borough of the Bronx. Diaz, a freshman MPO, says politically mobilized homecare workers have more power, something they need more than ever. “Homecare workers are at the bottom of the ladder,” she says. “That’s why I have such passion for this work.” Diaz also learned practical skills, including data, phone bank, and project management; she also polished her social media and public speaking skills. “This work is important and empowering,” she says. “I have a passion for it, but everyone needs to get involved somehow between now and [November]. We have to get our message of America For All out there and activate every community.”

Scan the code below to learn more about our America For All platform.





There’s $6 675 Billion at stake. DON’T LEAVE OUR SHARE ON THE TABLE. Our hospitals, nursing homes, home care services and schools are already facing deep cuts. Complete your 2020 Census today help build stronger communities that work for EVERYONE! Go to www.2020Census.gov or talk to your organizer today for more information. 1199 Magazine 19


Did You Forget Your 1199SEIU Federal Credit Union Account? Money in abandoned or dormant accounts is scheduled to be turned over to New York State. Are you a member of the 1199SEIU Federal Credit Union? It’s vital to keep your share accounts with the credit union active. New York State law requires that all financial institutions report any account that is considered dormant or inactive, and turn them over as abandoned property. Any account that has been without activity for three years is considered inactive. We are required by law to publish this list of dormant account holders. A report of these unclaimed funds will also be sent to the New York State Comptroller. Listed persons appear to be entitled to these funds. The full list is on file and available for public inspection at the 1199SEIU Federal Credit Union, located on the 2nd floor of at 498 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. Held amounts of funds will be paid to proven, entitled parties by the 1199SEIU Federal Credit Union through October 31, 2020. Remaining unclaimed funds will be turned over to the New York State Comptroller’s Office on or before November 10, 2020. For more information visit the 1199SEIU Federal Credit Union, or call (212) 957-1055. 20

July-August 2020

Sonia Aragon 230-32 57th Rd., 2nd fl., Oakland Gardens, NY 11364 Ilene Ashe 558 E. 181 St., Apt. 5K, Bronx, NY 10457 Cynthia Belcher 1028 New York Ave., Apt. D7, Brooklyn, NY 11203 Cornella Benton 1365 St. Nicholas Ave., Apt. 3J, New York, NY 10033 Marion Bethune 358 Nepperhan Ave., Apt. 1C, Yonkers, NY 10701 Vanessa Boateng 3915 Carpenter Ave., Apt. 2B, Bronx, NY 10466 Randolph Brooks 1785 Patterson Ave., Bronx, NY 10473 Juliane Cadet 61-42B 223rd Pl., Oakland Gardens, NY 11364 Xiomara Calana 340 Haven Ave., Apt. 5J, New York, NY 10033 Ann Cannuscio 242 N. Beech St., North Massapequa, NY 11758 Daisy Casas 504 W. 139th St., Apt. 12, New York, NY 10031 Sherly Pierre Charles 707 Lawrence St., Elmont, NY 11003 Gladys Chimilio 1346 Dickens St., Apt. 2B, Far Rockaway, NY 11691 Keane Clarke 484 E. 94th St., Brooklyn, NY 11212 Yvette Cordero 60 Washburn Ave., Freeport, NY 11520

Zoila Cordovez 4546 49th St., Apt. 4B, Woodside, NY 11377 Carmelo Crespo 6402 18th Ave., Apt. 141, Brooklyn, NY 11204 Mariela Demorizi 120 Bay 17th St., Apt. 3, Brooklyn, NY 11214 Judith Denis 2932 Ave. V, Apt. 6D, Brooklyn, NY 11229 Cassandra Edwards 2973 Tiemann Ave., Apt. 2, Bronx, NY 10469 Victoria Fernandez Pena 76 Saint Nicholas Pl., Apt. 21, New York, NY 10032 Ann Marie Foster 586 E. 39th St., Apt. 1, Brooklyn, NY 11203 Marguerite Fouchard 239 Brentwood Pkwy., Brentwood, NY 11717 Eduardo Fuentes 9 Wolden Rd., Apt. 2, Ossining, NY 10562 Nazaria Guerrero 1036B Rev James A Polite Ave., Apt. 2, Bronx, NY 10459 Malieka Hamilton 573 E. 86th St., Brooklyn, NY 11236 Teresa Hamilton 16129 Jewel Ave., Apt. 4L, Flushing, NY 11365 Henry Hawkins 1128 Belmont Ave., PH, Brooklyn, NY 11208 Lelia Henry 147-44 97th Ave., Jamaica, NY 11435 Debbie Hewitt 5115 N. Socrum Loop Rd., Apt. 69, Lakeland, FL 33809 Amoreth Hylton 644 E. 92nd St., Brooklyn, NY 11236

Muritala Ismaila 7 Spartan Ave., Bsmt., Staten Island, NY 10303 Cristina Jackson 92-31 57th Ave., Apt. 2A, Elmhurst, NY 11373 Marcia Jackson-Johnson 876 E. 225th St., Bronx, NY 10466 Celia Justiniano 341 45th St., Brooklyn, NY 11220 Elmira Kaparova-Scelta 13921 85th Dr., Apt. 6H, Jamaica, NY 11435 Judith Marley 91-35 195th St., Apt A5, Hollis, NY 11423 Michelle Martin-Cruz 1830 1st Ave., Apt. 17B, New York, NY 10128 Stephen Massey 101 Larkspur Ln., Spartanburg, SC 29301 Kisha Mc Clam 120 De Kruif Pl., Apt. 29K, Bronx, NY 10475 Elsa Morales 9907 42 Ave., Corona, NY 11368 Jasinthia Nicholson 1442 Stuyvesant Ave., Trenton, NJ 8618 Mary Nieves 110 E 177th St., Apt. 4J, Bronx, NY 10453 Reginald Noble 207 Fireside Ct., Lehigh Acres, FL 33936 Eartha Noel 2072 E. 55 St., Brooklyn, NY 11234 Nidia Nunez 30 Northbrook Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977 Joyce Okorodudu 380 Cozine Ave., Apt. 9B, Brooklyn, NY 11207 Fitzroy Paulson 780 Linden Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11203

Glen Perry 130 Van Cortlandt Ave. W, Apt. LE, Bronx, NY 10463 Michael Poole 2541 7th Ave., New York, NY 10039 Cynthia Riddick 91 Albany Ave., Flanders, NY 11901 Daphne Russell-Williams 1340 E. 83rd St., Brooklyn, NY 11236 Sarah Sessoms 431 Torry Ave., Bronx, NY 10473 Merline Sewell 140 Creek Side Circle, Spring Valley, NY 10977 Mercedes Small 182 Utica Ave., 3rd fl., Brooklyn, NY 11213 Lizzie Smith 312 Tecumseh Ave., Mt. Vernon, NY 10553 Stacey Smith 1048 Clay Ave., Apt. 2, Bronx, NY 10456 Jessie Sol 3960 54th St., Apt. 3P, Woodside, NY 11377 Nora Squash 175-05 Wexford Terr., Apt 2E, Jamaica Estates, NY 11432 Marie Theodore 287 Linden Blvd Apt., Apt. A10, Brooklyn, NY 11226 Michael Trottman 601 W. 175th St., Apt. 5D, New York, NY 10033 Cecilia Vega 14 Caryl Ave., Apt. 51, Yonkers, NY 10705 Edna Wilson 397 E. 49th St., Apt 5A, Brooklyn, NY 11203

1199 Magazine 21


Thank You Caravans

Regional “thank you” caravans bring gratitude and a little bit of a party to 1199 caregivers.

1199SEIU officers, staff, and members took time in July to caravan throughout the Union’s New Jersey, Upstate, Hudson Valley/Capital Regions, and Long Island. The thank you events were a way for staff and community to say “thank you,” to the caregivers who gave so much to save so many lives. Vehicles festooned with banners and signs carried messages of love and gratitude. They stopped along every route for little bit of partying—with 1199 supplying the music and members supplying the moves.  Top left, counterclockwise: New Jersey, Hudson Valley Capital Region, Hudson Valley Capital Region, New Jersey

Milton Glaser Was a Good Friend of Ours Legendary graphic designer left indelible mark on 1199.

Legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser, who passed away June 26 – his 91st birthday – played a major role in the cultural life of 1199. Glaser is widely counted among artists who have exerted the most farreaching effects on the nation’s visual culture. He was one of the founders of Push Pin Studios–the revolutionary graphic design organization–and New York magazine. Over seven decades, he produced a vast quantity of powerful graphic imagery. The circulation of his 1966 psychedelic poster of Bob Dylan exceeded six million. His 1977 “I (heart) New York” is one of the most recognizable logos in the world. After the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks, T-shirts with the logo became a symbol an international sign of solidarity. His political posters championed issues such as civil and women’s rights, peace, climate protection and the fight against AIDS. He designed the poster that helped win the yearslong grape boycott in the 1960s that led to a crucial union contract for the United Farm Workers. 22

July-August 2020

Glaser’s work reflected his lifelong commitment to justice, equality and humankind. That commitment and love of his hometown began in childhood. “I’m political because I grew up that way in the Bronx, in ‘The Coops,’ a left-wing cooperative building,” Glaser told a New York Observer interviewer in 2016. “And it was a politicized time. Everyone was involved in politics— demonstrations every day. . . .It was about trying to eke out a way of living, it was about wages, it was about protecting workers, it was about the emergence of a strong labor force.” Glaser was a long-time friend of Moe Foner, 1199’s public relations and cultural genius and founder of Bread and Roses (B&R), the Union’s celebrated cultural program. The two, born into the same radical tradition, did not veer from that course. Glaser served as an informal but highly valued consultant to B&R and was a member of the Program’s board of advisors.

He made a key contribution to B&R’s 1980 “Images of Labor” poster series, in which artists produced works to accompany quotes by labor and other progressive leaders. Glaser was the first artist to whom Foner pitched the idea. He responded with an enthusiastic thumbs up. For the series, Glaser painted a dove rising from a pair of bound hands to illustrate the 1927 words of the framed Italian immigrant and anarchist Bartolomeo Vanzetti: “It is true indeed that they can execute the body, but they cannot execute the idea which is bound to live.” In addition to the extensive U.S. tour of the exhibit, Glaser’s poster was reproduced by the Swedish labor movement and distributed in union halls, schools and public institutions throughout the country. In 1999, Glaser produced for B&R the simple but powerful poster ORGANIZE. The poster, with a timeless message produced in vertical descending letters, can be found today in 1199, SEIU and other union offices. In 2009, Glaser became the first graphic designer to receive the National Medal of Arts, presented to him by President Barack Obama. Esther Cohen, Foner’s B&R successor, was also a friend of Glaser’s. It was she who commissioned him to produce ORGANIZE as well as the cover illustration for Foner’s biography, “Not for Bread Alone.” Cohen attests to Glaser’s commitment and love for his profession. “I called him on his 90th birthday last year,” Cohen says. “He was at work.” His enduring influence on 1199 extends to this magazine. It is designed by Maiarelli Studio, headed by Giona Maiarelli, a protégé of Milton Glaser.

 Milton Glaser receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2010.

Glaser’s iconic “Organize” poster, created for 1199’s Bread and Roses Cultural Project in 1999.

“ It was about protecting workers.”

1199 Magazine 23

Shining a Light on Homecare Images of homecare workers lit up the night on July 2. The massive illuminations were part of a national Homecare Day of Action. See Around the Regions on pages 9.

1199 Magazine 24

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