1199 Magazine | March / April 2017

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A Journal of 1199SEIU March/April 2017

See inside for Notice of Proposed Constitutional Amendments

“Only by uniting with community members and progressive coalitions can we have any chance of remaining relevant and protecting our own members’ economic interests. We need to open our arms to the widest swath of American workers, embrace a much broader spectrum of issues, and completely rethink the purpose, strategies, and vision of the union movement.” 1199SEIU President George Gresham

The Unity & Power Campaign Page 11

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March-April 2017


CONTENTS 19

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3 Editorial We must prepare for a four-year assault on our rights.

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@1199seiu www.1199seiu.org 2

March-April 2017

4 The President’s Column We workers have few friends in Washington, D.C. 6 Around the Union RadNet members fight for a contract; Cape Cod Hospital members celebrate diversity through food; NYU Phlebotomist slain on his way to night classes.

9 Right To Work Is Wrong Half the states in the country have these anti-worker laws on their books.

16 1199ers Played a Key Role in the ACA Victory Millions carried the message of “Show Us Your Plan!”

10 New Organizing Highlights Healthcare workers in every sector are saying yes to 1199SEIU.

18 Our Retirees Retired social worker Monnie Callan is 90 years old. She’s still going strong and making her voice heard for working people.

11 Unity & Power We must keep our union strong to do the work ahead of us. See Notice of Proposed Constitutional Amendment.

19 The Work We Do Our Professional and Technical Workers and RNs.

22 The Last Word Baltimore’s Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen is a dynamic advocate for public health.


1199 Magazine March/April Vol. 35, No. 2 ISSN 2474-7009 Published by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East 310 West 43rd St. New York, NY 10036 T: (212) 582-1890 www.1199seiu.org

Editorial: We Must Prepare For A Drawn-Out Assault on Our Rights We won the first battle for the ACA, but there are many more to come.

On the afternoon of March 24, thousands of 1199SEIU members took a moment to celebrate a hard won victory when Rep. Paul Ryan pulled the Republican healthcare plan and let stand President Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act. It culminated one of the first major battles of the Trump Presidency for working people. Over the course of three months, tens of thousands of workers, concerned citizens and coalition members stood together. They fought to protect healthcare coverage for 24 million people, Medicaid funding, women’s health care, drug treatment and the scores of other protections farright wing lawmakers wanted to eliminate in the name of economic stewardship and state’s rights. But the vast armies that rose up at town halls, demonstrations, on social media and in countless other ways refused to let elected officials act against the best interests of the people. 1199SEIU members were among them in every region of the Union. “I believe that health care is a right,” said Almitra Yancey, a frontline defender of the ACA who works at the Tarrytown, NY site of Montefiore Medical Center. Yancey, an active 1199SEIU delegate, attended town halls and demonstrations in support of protecting the ACA. She noted the Medicaid cuts in the Republican plan would have devastated our vulnerable institutions and patients. “They would have a ripple effect on the healthcare system as a whole,” she concluded. “The truth is, we’re just out of the first skirmish in this new fouryear war on our rights; the other Illustration by Luba Lukova

president

George Gresham secretary treasurer

Maria Castaneda executive vice presidents

Jacqueline Alleyne Norma Amsterdam Yvonne Armstrong Lisa Brown Ruth Heller Maria Kercado Steve Kramer Tyrek Lee Joyce Neil Monica Russo Rona Shapiro Milly Silva Gregory Speller Veronica Turner-Biggs Laurie Vallone Estela Vazquez editor

Patricia Kenney director of photography

Jim Tynan photographer

Belinda Gallegos art direction & design Maiarelli Studio cover photograph

Jim Tynan contributors

Brinley Lloyd-Bollard JJ Johnson Emma MacDonald Erin Mei Ivettza Sanchez Sarah Wilson

side is mustering and hunkering down in Washington, D.C. and every state with plans to keep working people down,” says Justina Cioffi, an RN at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, FL. She points to the explosive growth of right-to-work (for less) laws and the increasing suppression of unions. “If we let it happen it’s going to be downhill for everything—the quality of life,

health care, care for our patients,” she says. “Everything will go down the tubes. We will just be numbers.” To continue the good fight, every member has to be all in, she says. “Many workers may not see the benefits yet, but I ask them, ‘Don’t you want to have a say in better staffing, in better patient care?’ You pay your dues. It’s one hour of your pay. That way you get to have an opinion, you are proactive and you are involved.”

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, 310 W.43 St, New York, NY 10036. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 1199 Magazine, 310 W.43 St., New York, NY 10036.

1199 Magazine 3


Letters

BILLIONAIRES DON’T REPRESENT WORKING PEOPLE ’m a retired 1199 RN from Parkway Hospital in Queens, NY. I retired in 1986. At 91 years old, I still have my heart and soul in what is right. President Trump has filled his cabinet with billionaires who are against the roles they are assigned to; the Secretary of Education never went to public school. How can she know the problems teachers face in our public schools? She only went to private schools. She doesn’t know how teachers fight to get needed equipment for their classrooms; sometimes they even have to buy things themselves. Vouchers will only make this worse. One thing President Trump never mentions is that our good jobs are good because they are union jobs. Everything we’ve won, we have won through collective bargaining and struggle. I know. Keep fighting, 1199!

I

The President’s Column by George Gresham

We Workers Have Few Friends In Washington, D.C. So we’ll rely on each other’s strength to continue our important work.

Lois C. Teek Retiree, Christiansburg, VA KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK was very happy to see the old magazine come back and replace the big, long magazine we were receiving. Now, I can read every page of this new magazine. Whoever came up with the idea to go back to the original size, God bless. Keep up the good work.

I

Susheela Desai Retiree, Bronx, NY Let’s hear from you. Send your letters to: 1199SEIU’s 1199 Magazine, 330 W. 42nd St, 7th Fl., New York, NY 10036, Attn: Patricia Kenney, Editor; or email them to Patriciak@1199.org. Please put Letters in the subject line of your email.

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NY Daily News Discount for Members Members can now get seven days of home delivery of the New York Daily News for $1.99 a week for 52 weeks. That’s 78% off the newsstand price! Take advantage of this special offer for 1199SEIU members; get New York’s hometown newspaper and support our union brothers and sisters who work at the New York Daily News. To

It should not come as a surprise to 1199ers that working people these days have few friends in high places in Washington, D.C. Despite President Trump’s claim to represent the working class, his chosen cabinet and close circle of advisors includes only billionaires, multi-millionaires, and a handful of retired generals. These are the folks who proposed to destroy healthcare coverage for 24 million workers in order to give the wealthiest Americans nearly one trillion in tax cuts over the next decade. They are also the ones who developed President Trump’s budget, which would eliminate or severely diminish funding for legal services for the poor, family planning services, the Meals on Wheels program, housing subsidies, public transportation, medical research, environmental protection, occupational safety and health, and more. The goal? To give an additional $54 billion a year to the Pentagon, which already spends more than China, Russia, Great Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, India, and Japan combined. For all the promises about bringing back jobs, this is a government that opposes raising the federal minimum wage above $7.25 an hour. (Many even advocate for eliminating the minimum wage altogether.) High on the legislative wish list are laws to curtail union organizing and collective bargaining. To be clear, this is not a worker-friendly government. Most

employers—including some of our own—are thrilled. And just as President Trump’s demeaning speeches and tweets opened the way for a wave of hate-filled racist attacks against immigrants, Muslims, women, and people of color, his anti-worker agenda is certain to encourage employers to try to take back our hard-earned gains. So this is a good time for each of us to take stock of ourselves as union members, to ask ourselves how important it is to us to belong to 1199SEIU. First things first: we have jobs. Millions of our fellow workers can’t say that. Even the bulk of the new jobs that have been created since the crash of 2008—the jobs news commentators mention when they describe the “recovery”—are part-time jobs, temp jobs or lowwage, service jobs. Now consider the things we have that most workers do not. (Admittedly, not all 1199 contracts are equal: Some are better than others, depending on union density, strength of our various bargaining units, funding streams from our states and cities, and other factors.) Most of us have some form of job security, or at least on-the-job security, where we can’t be fired without cause. Most workers do not have such protection. Most of us receive periodic wage increases. Most other workers do not. Many of us have some form of pension or retirement security.


Perhaps most important of all, as members of 1199SEIU, we are not alone. We have one another and the collective strength of many thousands of brothers and sisters. Most workers are completely on their own at the mercy of their employers.

Most workers do not. And many of us are eligible for benefits through our Training and Education Fund, to upgrade our skills for an ever changing healthcare system. Almost no other workers have this. We also have some of the best health coverage of any American workers. Hundreds of thousands of 1199ers and their families are covered under the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund—everything from dental and vision care to prescription drugs and surgeries with no out of pocket expenses. It’s a health plan that would cost you maybe $30,000 on the open market, except the open market doesn’t offer anything nearly as comprehensive. Perhaps most important of all, as members of 1199SEIU, we are not alone. We have one another and the collective strength of many thousands of brothers and sisters. Most workers are completely on their own at the mercy of their employers. And we bring that strength not only to our jobs, but to improve the lives of our families, our communities and on behalf of working people as a whole. We use it when we fight for the $15 minimum wage, for protection of immigrant communities and their rights, in support of women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights and an end to police abuse, in support for our public schools and in defense of our environment, clean air and clean water. So, I return to the questions I asked earlier. With an antiworker administration in control of Washington, and the encouragement they give to employers to take back our hard-earned gains, how important is it to you to be an 1199SEIU member? In the difficult months ahead, are you ready to fight to protect our jobs and our families? I have great confidence in your positive response.

#BecauseOfMedicaid My granddaughter Peyton, who is only three years old, has the health care she needs. – Linda Tappendorf, 1199SEIU Member Nursing Home Dietary Aide, Eatontown, NJ @ 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Today was a victory for not only the physical & economic health of Americans, but also the moral health of our nation. #ResistanceWorks

#BecauseOfMedicaid 13,924 nursing home & homecare workers in NJ are able to get the health care they need to stay healthy on the job and protect their patients. @ 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

1199seiu We won! Healthcare workers at Sodexo at Westchester Medical Center in Westchester County have voted to join 1199SEIU by an overwhelming 211 votes to 2. Congratulations on this commanding victory and welcome to the 1199SEIU family!

Technical Workers Win a Voice for Quality Care and Good Jobs! @1199SEIU Massachusetts

1199 Magazine 5


Around the Regions

MASSACHUSETTS

We Will Persist! Massachusetts Members Rally Against Injustice Members of 1199SEIU Massachusetts gathered with hundreds of workers, immigrants and community advocates for a rally Feb. 21 under the banner of “We Will Persist.” The event highlighted Commonwealth residents’ dedication to standing together for quality jobs, affordable healthcare coverage, immigrant rights and a voice in important decisions that affect the state. U.S. Senator Ed Markey and Representative Joe Kennedy III joined the event at Boston’s Irish Famine Memorial.

“As the birthplace of our nation’s democracy, Massachusetts knows how to fight and win,” said Sen. Markey. “We are home to the Abolition movement, the suffragette movement, the universal healthcare movement and the same-sex marriage movement. As a Commonwealth and as a people, we will persist. And when there is inequality and injustice, we will resist. I am proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with workers, students, immigrants and their families in this fight to protect our time-

1199ers Support Liberia’s Healthcare Workers Braving icy winds from the East River, 1199SEIU members held an informational picket before delivering a message of solidarity for Liberia’s healthcare workers to the country’s mission near the United Nations on Feb. 17. Caregivers in the West African nation have been on the front lines of the Ebola crisis and have been fighting an anti-union effort led by the nation’s government, which is refusing to recognize the workers’ union NAHWAL and their right to organize. 1199ers, led by Secretary Treasurer Maria Castaneda, delivered a letter urging the government to respect the workers’ organizing rights. 6

March-April 2017

honored democratic rights and values.” Workers, advocates and Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation publicly reaffirmed their support for immigrants, the LGBTQ community, Muslims and all those targeted by the Trump administration’s policies. Speakers shared their hopes for the nation as a land of opportunity for all individuals. “No single person has experienced every struggle or learned every lesson, but united, the American people have the insight and dogged determination to confront this nation’s greatest challenges,” said Rep. Kennedy. “Our diversity is our ultimate strength. We cannot close our doors to immigrants and refugees, erode the rights of our fellow workers or deny health care to our neighbors. At today’s rally, people of all faiths, identities and backgrounds raised their voices to send a clear message that we will persist and we will prevail.” 1199SEIU member Julie Gonzalez spoke passionately of the need to protect those covered under the Affordable Care Act. Congress’s thencurrent plan jeopardizes the healthcare coverage millions of Americans. “My family depends on MassHealth, and I’m thankful that we’re able to gain access to quality and affordable insurance because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Gonzalez, a PCA. “As a personal care attendant, I provide vital care to vulnerable residents in Massachusetts, and I’m worried about what will happen—not only to my family, but also to my consumer—if the ACA is repealed. That’s why we will persist and demand that Congress create a viable plan that preserves care.”

 Massachusetts members rallied in downtown Boston Feb. 21 declaring their dedication to justice for all.

“My family depends on MassHealth, and I’m thankful that we’re able to gain access to quality and affordable insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.” Julie Gonzalez 1199SEIU Member

 1199ers delivered a letter to Liberia’s NYC Mission Feb. 17 demanding union recognition for the country’s healthcare workers.


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

NEW YORK

Workers See Right Through RadNet Imaging 1199SEIU members held an informational picket at a RadNet Imaging Center near New York City’s Columbus Circle Feb. 13 to protest the company’s refusal to settle a fair contract. Some 55 workers at three RadNet sites have been struggling for more than two years with the radiology giant to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. Workers at two sites in Manhattan and one in Rockland County voted in 2015 to join 1199SEIU; the 55 workers, who include imaging techs and clerical workers, have been fighting for a collective bargaining agreement ever since. RadNet management has met with negotiating committee members a frustrating 27 times—only to leave the table refusing to settle a contract every time. Over the same period, the company is laying off workers and outsourcing jobs to India. Workers are fed up with the RadNet’s refusal to bargain in good faith. “We aren’t asking for that much,” says patient liaison Shanique Beckford. “We want better wages and benefits. Living and working in New York City has been expensive. Train fares go up. Rents go up. Some of us come from New Jersey to work here. It takes a lot to do good work day-to-day and all we are asking is to get paid for the work we do.”

1199ers held an informational picket Feb. 13 at RadNet Imaging’s location near NYC’s Columbus Circle to protest the company’s stalling tactics in contract negotiations.

We Mourn Slain NYU Member Bakary Darboe, a phlebotomist at NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC, was killed Feb. 3 when a mentally ill neighbor attacked him as he left his Bronx apartment building. Darboe was on his way to night classes at Mercy College, where he was studying to become a laboratory technologist. He made the stop at home between work and school that day because he forgot his wallet. Shown above are his widow, Isatou, and five of the couple’s six children. Darboe was buried in his native Gambia.

Diversity is on Cape Cod’s Menu

“It takes a lot to do good work day-today, and all we are asking is to get paid for the work we do.” Shanique Beckford Rad Net’s Patient Liaison

Things got cooking in Hyannis, MA on March 2 when members from Cape Cod Hospital joined with the Zion Union Heritage Museum to host a Cultural Diversity Food Festival. On the menu at the event, which was held at the Museum, were delicious dishes from around the world, including oxtail stew, gumbo, macaroni and cheese, tiramisu and more. In addition to culinary delights, guests were treated to music from a steel drum band. Cape Cod Hospital delegates Bernard Bowens and Teresia Fitzgerald were instrumental in organizing the event. 1199 Magazine 7


Around the Regions

The War in Syria Is Killing Healthcare Workers by the Hundreds More than 800 healthcare workers have been killed in the six-yearold war in Syria. NPR recently reported a study which shows Syria to be the most dangerous place on earth for the world’s healthcare workers. The work was published in the March edition of The Lancet, a British medical journal. “The conflict in Syria presents new and unprecedented challenges that undermine the principles and practice of medical neutrality in armed conflict. With direct and repeated targeting of health workers, health facilities, and ambulances, Syria has

become the most dangerous place on earth for healthcare providers,” according to the research, conducted by Dr. Samer Jabbour of the American University in Beirut. The war in Syria has resulted in 814 verifiable deaths of healthcare workers; the dead include doctors, nurses, medics, and dental and pharmacy students. What’s more, an official count is virtually impossible, says Dr. Jabbour. “The study goes to print and ‘boom’ you hear about another health worker killed,” says Jabbour. “We should not accept this situation.” Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Dave Sanders

Women’s Caucus Celebration Members of the Union’s Women’s Caucus gathered at New York City’s Hotel Trades Council on March 24 to honor the accomplishments of members who have advanced the interests of women in the labor movement and in their communities. The evening included a presentation of awards, music and dance performances and a poetry reading.

Syria is officially the most dangerous place on earth for the world’s healthcare workers.

NEW JERSEY

New Vista Workers Want a New Contract Frigid temperatures didn’t stop some 80 workers at New Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Newark, NJ, from holding an energetic picket at their facility on Feb. 16. Members called for the picket after seven months of fruitless contract negotiations, during which the company failed to adequately address urgent concerns—including the lack of decent health benefits for workers and their families. “Better health care is one of our top priorities. For the past six months I’ve needed surgery but haven’t been able to get it because of issues with the insurance. It’s made it very difficult for me to work,” said CNA Carol Telemaque. CNA Kareem Burton echoed Telemaque’s concern about health care because he worries about his infant daughter. “I would like to provide insurance 8

March-April 2017

[for her], but can’t afford the $100 every paycheck. Instead I have to rely on Medicaid so she can go to the doctor,” he says. Maggie Baptiste, who has worked the facility for the past 23 years, stressed how important it is for management to recognize the hard work and effort workers put into caring for residents. As the New Vista campaign heats up, members are preparing for more actions to educate the surrounding community about the need to improve jobs so that caregivers can have the stability in their own lives to provide the best care possible to residents. “We love our residents—they become like our own mothers and fathers,” Baptiste insists. “We always go the extra mile for them—bringing from home extra clothes, perfume, lotions, and other things that will make them feel special and loved.”

Members are preparing for more actions to educate the surrounding community about the need to improve jobs so that caregivers can have the stability in their own lives to provide the best care possible to residents.

 Members from NJ’s New Vista Rehab at Feb. 16 info picket for a fair contract.


OUR UNION

These laws are all wrong and they’re spreading like a virus.

Justina Cioffi is an active RN delegate at St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, FL. She’s a member of the Union’s contract negotiating committee and participates in political events. Ask her what it’s like doing this work in Florida, a right-to-work (for less) state, and she keeps it simple: If she doesn’t, workers will lose even more of their hard-won gains. “If we let it happen it’s going to be downhill for everything—the quality of life, health care, care for our patients,” she says. “Everything will go down the tubes. We will just be numbers.” No Law Left Unturned During President Obama’s administration American workers saw a marked restoration of the rights and protections that had been eroded by conservative administrations and expanding corporate power. For example, Pres. Obama appointed a worker-friendly National Labor Relations Board, passed the historic Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act and introduced and enforced broad ranging health and safety guidelines. In an effort to protect corporate earning power, the extreme right and allies like the Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushed back. They bankrolled legislative campaigns to ensure limits on worker power. A centerpiece of this crusade was the national proliferation of right-to-work laws, one statehouse at a time. Contrary to their name, rightto-work laws are designed to yoke workers in just about every way; the

laws hamstring unions, suppress wages, keep workers from sharing in profits, stifle workers’ voices on the job and more. About the only right they do provide is to work. For who and how much pay is pretty much entirely in the boss’s hands. “What you see right off the bat with right-to-work laws are lower salaries. That goes for every industry—not just healthcare,” says Mark Criswell, a CNA at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, FL. War on Workers Waged From Every Front There are currently 28 states with right-to-work (for less) laws on their books. Notable battles in Michigan and Wisconsin brought armies of protesters to state capitals as GOPcontrolled legislatures rammed laws through over deafening public outcry. Today, with hard right Republicans in control in much of the federal government and governorships across the country, proponents of right to work are positioned to make catastrophic inroads.

In February, H.R. 785, The National Right to Work Act, was introduced in Congress. Delegate Criswell says the best way to stop right to work from spreading is through worker education. “We have to start the process now. It would be helpful to send workers across the country to tell each other our stories,” he says. “Literally before the Union down here, there were no increases. In South Florida corporations take advantage of workers because they’re scared. But now because we have the Union, we aren’t scared.” Criswell notes that workers are facing several game-changing Supreme Court cases. The decisions have the potential to cripple the labor movement. “To me it’s about corporations wanting to keep the power to themselves, and we can’t have that. Either people are in charge of the government, or the government is in charge of the people. These laws are just about taking power away from the people.”

Educated workers are the best defense against the proliferation of right to work laws, says Mark Criswell, a delegate at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, FL.

Today, with hard right Republicans in control in much of the federal government and governorships across the country, proponents of right to work are positioned to make catastrophic inroads.

1199 Magazine 9


OUR UNION

New Organizing Highlights Strong Unions Equal a Strong Middle Class

Workers at Massachusetts’ Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital after their March organizing victory.

Between November 2016 and March 2017, some 2,100 workers joined 1199. Workers are showing their strength and organizing workplaces. 10

From Brexit in the U.K. to President Trump’s victory here at home, recent events convey that the world is tilting right. The McKinsey Global Institute recently reported a trend toward the decline of incomes for middle class workers. Some 70 percent of households in the 25 wealthiest nations saw their earnings drop in the past decade. The authors estimate that “while fewer than ten million people were affected [by flat or falling incomes] in the 1993-2005 period, that figure exploded to between 540 million and 580 million people in 2005-2014.” The report also noted that unionized workers fare better in these convulsive economic times compared

March-April 2017

to their non-union counterparts. A strong labor movement is among the most important factors for protecting workers in times of economic crisis. Sixty-eight percent of workers in Sweden belong to a union which bargains for wages increases. However, labor in the United States is enduring a long decline. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 10.7 percent of America’s workers were union members in 2016. There has been an associated decline in middle-class incomes and increase in wealth inequality. Workers will face more hurdles with expected unfriendly appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, the rollback of protective rules and regulations, and the expansion of right-to-work laws. 1199SEIU continues to buck the trend; between November 2016 and March 2017, over 2,100 workers voted to join 1199. Workers are showing their strength and organizing their workplaces. They are engaging in direct action campaigns, agitating for pay and benefits, showing militancy and increasing Union membership to build a stronger middle class and reduce wealth inequality. In January, 500 workers from Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, NY voted 262-174 to join 1199. “I got involved in the union committee after listening to a lot of stories from colleagues around the hospital about being badly treated. People were seeing their benefits being changed for the worse in the middle of the year and we had nowhere to turn,” said Regina Heaney, a patient access admitting clerk. Although Mercy workers faced an anti-union campaign, they persevered. The institution is now facing federal charges. “Finally, we can stand together and support one another,” says Heaney. “We now have a say in our conditions, which we never had. We have hope for the future, and that is something they cannot take away from us.”

At Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, MA, 85 technical healthcare workers joined 1199SEIU in March. They joined an existing bargaining unit of 170 Nashoba 1199SEIU members. Workers were facing a significant increase in their monthly premiums for the same medical insurance but had not received a wage increase in many years. Their pay lagged behind rates for the same positions elsewhere. “We’re excited to join 1199SEIU because we gain a voice to better advocate for ourselves and our families while providing the quality care we know our patients need and deserve,” said Gar Bernas, a Nashoba respiratory therapist. Workers at HSG Chevy Chase Nursing Home in Maryland, also voted to join 1199 in March because they were victims of wage theft. Paychecks were often short, the time clocks recorded the wrong time and workers would not receive their legally mandated holiday overtime pay. HSG workers finally had enough. “I want to have the ability to stand together with my co-workers and fight for justice!” affirmed housekeeper Evelin Morillo. “We need better wages. We need to be paid for the hours that we work and extra when we work on a holiday.” At press time, workers at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Boston overwhelmingly voted 237-70 for 1199 representation. The victory caps an organizing effort that began in late January and includes about 500 administrative, housekeeping and food service workers, and medical interpreters. “I have been an employee at Faulkner for more than 50 years,” said Mary Panciocco, a unit secretary. “I came from a union background and know firsthand the difference unions have made for my family. Over the years I have seen a lot of changes at Faulkner. With 1199SEIU, I believe we will be able to have a voice in those changes.”


UNITY & POWER A Letter from 1199SEIU President George Gresham

Carta de George Gresham Presidente de 1199SEIU

Summary of Proposed Amendments to the 1199SEIU Constitution

Resumen de enmiendas propuestas a la Constituciรณn de 1199SEIU

Proposed Amendments to the 1199SEIU Constitution

Enmiendas propuestas a la Constituciรณn de 1199SEIU

1199 Magazine 11


UNITY & POWER

A More Perfect Union for our patients, families, communities & our future. Dear Fellow 1199 Members, The healthcare industry, and our country, are at a crossroads. As we saw with the recent horrific Congressional health care bill, many politicians would like to take us down a road that leads to deep cuts in healthcare funding, jobs and access to care, while giving tax breaks to the very rich and slashing the rights of working people. We believe in a different path forward. Since our founding by pharmacy workers 85 years ago, we have been a leading force in the struggle for quality, affordable healthcare for all, and good jobs for those who provide that care. As our 1199 constitution declares, “We nurture, save and extend lives…patient satisfaction is our highest calling.” We have dedicated our lives to compassion, fighting for healthy and just communities, and standing up for equal rights and opportunity for everyone. We were a leading force in the victory of defeating the Congressional bill, and protecting healthcare and jobs, at least for now. To continue our historic leadership on the road to justice, we need to greatly increase member involvement, and ensure effective funding for our union. The healthcare industry is rapidly changing, and we must have a voice in these changes to: • Win strong contracts that protect and improve our wages, benefits and working conditions. • Fight for healthcare funding and expanded access to quality, affordable care. • Unite all non-union healthcare workers so we can stand together for higher standards. • Stand up for our rights and respect at work, and defend the rights of all working people, our communities and our union. All of these fights take resources; we have to pay for workplace representation, rallies, staff and legal support, buses to capitals and statehouses, communications to inform members and the public, and other costs. But the dues cap for our union has not increased for many years, capping our strength and effectiveness. That is why we are urging all members to get more involved in our union, and vote “YES” for the proposed amendments to the 1199SEIU constitution. A summary of the amendments, and the amendments themselves, are included in this section. Together, we can build the Unity & Power we need to protect our gains, build a more perfect union, and fight for our future.

In coming weeks, 1199 members will be voting on these proposed amendments to our union constitution, which have been recommended by our Executive Council. The amendments will ensure that 1199 members have the Unity & Power we need to fight for our patients, jobs, families and communities. We urge all members to review the summary below and the full text of the proposed amendments that follows.

DUES AND GOOD STANDING: • The dues rate for all members except homecare members will remain at two percent (2%) of monthly pay, not counting overtime. The monthly cap, currently $75 a month, will increase to $100 a month on October 1, 2017. Effective October 1, 2019, for members with monthly pay in excess of $7,500 ($90,000 yearly), not counting overtime, monthly dues will be $125. • Personal care attendants (and other similar titles) will be included in the provision for homecare worker dues, which will remain unchanged at two percent (2%) of hourly pay for all hours worked per month, up to a monthly maximum cap of 160 hours. • When new members join the union through accretions, mergers and new organizing where payment of two percent (2%) dues would reduce the members’ pay, the 1199 Executive Council may authorize a lesser amount of dues, on a temporary basis, that will constitute good standing for the authorized period. INITIATION FEES: • In accretions, mergers and new organizing, employees employed before the signing of a first contract or start of 1199 representation will not pay an initiation fee. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS: • The Executive Council will have the right to establish an associate membership classification with corresponding policies, procedures and

regulations. Such members may not be part of an 1199 bargaining unit, will not be eligible to vote or hold office and must meet eligibility criteria set by the Executive Council. OFFICERS ELECTIONS AND NOMINATIONS FOR UNION-WIDE OFFICE: • To facilitate the democratic process, the signature requirements for nominating petitions for unionwide office will be reduced to one percent (1%) of the members in good standing union-wide. Signature requirements for candidates for Area Officer, Rank-and-File Executive Council member and Organizers will remain at two percent (2%) of the appropriate Area’s members in good standing. WHO CAN VOTE AND HOW: • Only active dues-paying members in good standing may vote on the proposed amendments. • Retirees are receiving notice for informational purposes only, and will not participate in the vote. • Homecare workers (including those in NY’s home care division and OPWDD chapters and MA’s PCA chapters) will receive a mail ballot, administered by the independent American Arbitration Association. • Voting for all other members will take place at chapter and membership meetings. • Notices will be posted with the date, time and place of the vote in the coming weeks. • If you have questions, contact your organizer, delegate or local union office.

Please note: the proposed amendments, as they appear in English, are the official, legal version.

In Unity, 1199SEIU President George Gresham 12

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE 1199SEIU CONSTITUTION

March-April 2017


PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE 1199SEIU CONSTITUTION1 Article V-The Members Section 5 - Eligibility for Membership (a) No Change. (b) An applicant for membership in the Union shall file an application with the Union. To become a member of the Union entitled to rights, privileges and benefits thereof, an applicant shall: 1. a. No Change. b. In new organization, accretions and mergers, the employees employed before the signing of an initial collective bargaining agreement or the commencement of 1199SEIU representation of/in the bargaining unit, shall not be required to pay an initiation fee. c. No Change. 2. No Change. 3. No Change. 4. No Change. Section 8 - Dues and Good Standing Every member shall share in the cost of maintaining and operating the Union as provided by this Constitution. (a) No Change. (b) No Change. (c) Members of the Union shall pay monthly dues based on the following schedule of monthly earnings: (1) Dues for all members, except homecare workers, shall be two percent (2%) of monthly pay, not counting overtime, to a maximum monthly cap of $75.00, except that: • Effective October 1, 2017, dues shall be two percent (2%) of monthly pay, not counting overtime, to a maximum monthly cap of $100.00; and • Effective October 1, 2019, for members with monthly pay in excess of $7,500.00 ($90,000 yearly), not

counting overtime, monthly dues shall be $125.00. • two percent (2%) of monthly pay, not counting overtime; with • a monthly maximum cap of $75: • Mmonthly minimum payment for employed workers of $20; (2) Dues for homecare workers (home attendants, housekeepers, homemakers, home health aides personal care attendants and other similar titles) shall be: • two percent (2%) of hourly pay for all hours worked per month, up to a monthly maximum cap of 160 hours (even if more hours are worked). (3) In accretions, mergers and first contract situations where payment of two percent (2%) dues would reduce the members’ pay, the Executive Council may waive or authorize a lesser amount of dues, on a temporary basis, that will constitute good standing for the affected group of members for the authorized temporary period. (d) No Change. (e) The term “MonthlyWeekly Earnings” as used here shall mean the contractual rate of pay and shall include Disability Benefits paid by the National Benefit Fund and, Workers’ Compensation Benefits, commissions and gratuities. (f) No Change. (g) No Change. (h) No Change. Section 13 – Associate Membership The Executive Council may enact policies, procedures and regulations to implement the establishment of associate membership as an additional classification of membership. Associate Members may not be part of a

bargaining unit for which the Union is the recognized bargaining agent, and must otherwise meet eligibility criteria set by the Executive Council. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, Associate Members shall not be eligible to hold office, vote in officer elections or participate in other membership votes. Article VIII - Elections Section 3 – Nominations for Officers and Delegates (a) No Change. (b) No Change. (c) No Change. (d) A nominating petition for a candidate as an Area Officer, Rank-andFile Executive Council member and Organizers shall require the signatures and last four (4) digits of the social security numbers of no less than two percent (2%) of the appropriate members in good standing. For union-wide office the number of signatures required shall be no less than one percent (1%) of the members in good standing union-wide. The required numbers of signatures will be based upon the membership as of the month of October immediately preceding the election. (e) No Change. (f) No Change. (g) No Change. (h) No Change.

1 Proposed amendments are listed in Article and Section order. Articles and Sections with no amendments are not listed. Subsections that contain no proposed amendments are reflected as “No Change.” Proposed deleted text is reflected in strike-out. Proposed added text is underlined. 1199SEIU’s full Constitution can be found on the website at www.1199seiu.org.

1199 Magazine 13


UNIDAD & PODER

Una Unión más perfecta para nuestros pacientes, familias, comunidades y nuestro futuro. Estimados miembros de 1199: La industria del cuidado de la salud y nuestro país se encuentran en una encrucijada. Como vimos en el reciente y horrible proyecto de ley del cuidado de la salud del Congreso, a muchos políticos les gustaría llevarnos por una dirección que conduce a reducciones significativas de los fondos para cuidado de la salud, empleos y acceso a la atención médica, a la vez que se otorgan exenciones fiscales a los muy ricos y se limitan los derechos de la gente trabajadora. Nosotros creemos en un camino diferente para el futuro. Desde que nuestra Unión fue fundada por trabajadores de farmacias hace 85 años, hemos sido una fuerza líder en la lucha por el cuidado de salud accesible y de calidad para todos y buenos empleos para quienes proveen ese cuidado. Como nuestra constitución de 1199 declara, “Promovemos, salvamos y prolongamos vidas... la satisfacción del paciente es nuestro llamado más elevado”. Hemos dedicado nuestra vida a la compasión, a la lucha por comunidades saludables y justas y hemos elevado nuestra voz para la igualdad de derechos y oportunidades para todos. Fuimos una fuerza líder en la victoria para derrotar el proyecto de ley del Congreso y proteger el cuidado de la salud y los empleos, por lo menos por ahora. Para continuar nuestro liderazgo histórico en el camino a la justicia, necesitamos aumentar significativamente la participación de los miembros y asegurar fondos efectivos para nuestra Unión. La industria del cuidado de la salud está cambiando aceleradamente y debemos elevar nuestra voz en estos cambios para: • Obtener contratos sólidos que protejan y mejoren nuestros salarios, beneficios y condiciones de trabajo. • Luchar por fondos del cuidado de la salud y expandir el acceso a cuidado médico accesible y de calidad. • Unir a todos los trabajadores no sindicalizados del cuidado de la salud de manera que podamos unirnos a favor de estándares más elevados. • Defender nuestros derechos y respeto en el trabajo, y defender los derechos de toda la gente trabajadora, nuestras comunidades y nuestra Unión. Todas estas luchas requieren recursos monetarios; tenemos que pagar la representación en el lugar de trabajo, personal, representación legal, rallies, autobuses a las capi­ tales y sedes de gobiernos estatales, comunicaciones para informar a los miembros y al público, y otros costos. Pero las cuotas de membresia de nuestra Unión no han aumentado en muchos años, restringiendo nuestra fuerza y eficacia. Por eso insistimos a todos los miembros que participen más en nuestra Unión, se comprometan en aumentar el límite de nuestras cuotas y votar “SÍ” por las enmiendas a la Constitución de 1199SEIU que estamos proponiendo en esta sección. Un resumen de las enmiendas y las enmiendas detalladas se incluyen en esta sección. Juntos podemos construir la Unidad y el Poder que necesitamos para proteger nuestras ganancias, desarrollar una Unión más perfecta y luchar por nuestro futuro. En unidad, 1199SEIU Presidente George Gresham 14

March-April 2017

RESUMEN DE ENMIENDAS PROPUESTAS A LA CONSTITUCIÓN DE 1199SEIU En las próximas semanas, los miembros de 1199 votarán por estas enmiendas propuestas a la constitución de nuestra Unión, las cuales han sido recomendadas por nuestro Consejo Ejecutivo. Las enmiendas garantizarán que los miembros de 1199 tengan la Unidad y el Poder que necesitan para luchar por nuestros pacientes, empleos, familias y comunidades. Invitamos a todos los miembros a que revisen el resumen siguiente y el texto completo de las enmiendas propuestas a continuación.

CUOTAS Y BUENA POSICIÓN: • La tasa de cuotas para todos los miembros excepto los miembros del cuidado ambulatorio, continuará siendo el dos porciento (2%) del sueldo mensual, sin contar el tiempo extra. El límite mensual actual de $75 aumentará a $100 al mes el 1 de octubre del 2017. Con fecha efectiva del 1 de octubre del 2019, para los miembros que reciben pagos men­ suales de más de $7,500 ($90,000 anualmente), sin contar el tiempo extra, las cuotas mensuales serán de $125. • Los asistentes de cuidado per­ sonal (y otros cargos similares) se incluirán en la disposición de las cuotas de trabajadores del cuidado ambulatorio, las cuales seguirán sin cambios al dos por ciento (2%) del sueldo por hora por todas las horas trabajadas al mes, hasta un límite mensual máximo de 160 horas. • Cuando nuevos miembros se unan a la Unión por adquisiciones, uniones y nuevas organizaciones donde el pago de cuotas del dos por ciento (2%) reduciría el pago de los miembros, el Consejo Ejecutivo de 1199 puede autorizar un monto inferior de cuotas, de manera tem­ poral, que constituirá buen cum­pli­ miento del pago de cuotas por el período autorizado. CUOTAS DE INICIO: • En las adquisiciones, uniones y nuevas organizaciones, los trabajadores contratados antes de firmar un contrato inicial o inicio de la representación de 1199, no pagarán cuota de inicio. MIEMBROS ASOCIADOS: • El Consejo Ejecutivo tendrá el derecho de establecer una clasi­fi­ ca­ción de membresía de asociados con las políticas, procedimientos

y reglamentos correspondientes. Dichos miembros no pueden ser parte de una unidad colectiva de 1199, no podrán votar ni ocupar un cargo, y deben cumplir los criterios de elegibilidad establecidos por el Consejo Ejecutivo. ELECCIONES DE EJECUTIVOS Y NOMINACIONES PARA TODA LA UNIÓN: • Para facilitar el proceso demo­ crático, los requisitos de firmas para peticiones de nominación para cargos de toda la Unión se reducirán al uno por ciento (1%) de los miembros con las cuotas al día en toda la Unión. Los requisitos de firmas para candidatos para Oficial del área, miembros de la base al Consejo Ejecutivo y Organizadores seguirán siendo el dos por ciento (2%) de los miembros del área con las cuotas al día. QUIÉN PUEDE VOTAR Y CÓMO: • Solo los miembros con las cuotas al día pueden votar por las enmiendas propuestas. • Los jubilados reciben este aviso solo para propósitos informativos y no participarán en la votación. • Los trabajadores del cuidado en el hogar (incluyendo aquellos en la división de cuidado en el hogar de NY y los capítulos OPWDD y PCA de MA) recibirán una boleta de votación por correo, administrada por la Asociación Americana de Arbitraje. • La votación de los demás miembros se llevará a cabo en las reuniones de capítulos y membresía. • Se publicarán avisos con la fecha, hora y lugar de la votación en las próximas semanas. • Si tiene alguna pregunta, comuní­ quese con su organizador, delegado o a la oficina local del sindicato.

or favor tenga en cuenta: las enmiendas propuestas, como aparecen en inglés, son P la versión oficial y legal. 1199 Magazine 14


ENMIENDAS PROPUESTAS A LA CONSTITUCIÓN DE 1199SEIU1 Artículo V – Los miembros Sección 5 – Elegibilidad de membresía (a) Sin cambios. (b) Un solicitante de membresía de la Unión deberá presentar una solicitud ante la Unión. Para hacerse miembro de la Unión con elegibilidad a los derechos, privilegios y beneficios correspondientes, el solicitante deberá: 1. a. Sin cambios. b. En una nueva organización, adquisición y uniones los trabajadores empleados antes de firmar un convenio colectivo inicial o el inicio de la representación de 1199SEIU de/en la unidad colectiva no tendrán que pagar una cuota de iniciación. c. Sin cambios. 2. Sin cambios. 3. Sin cambios. 4. Sin cambios. Sección 8 - Cuotas y buena posición Cada miembro deberá compartir el costo de mantenimiento y operación de la Unión conforme lo dispone la Constitución, (a) Sin cambios. (b) Sin cambios. (c) Los miembros de la Unión deberán pagar cuotas mensuales con base en el siguiente programa de ingresos mensuales: (1) Las cuotas para todos los miembros, excepto trabajadores del cuidado ambulatorio, serán el dos por ciento (2%) del pago mensual, sin contar el tiempo extra, hasta un límite mensual máximo de $75.00, salvo que: • Con fecha efectiva del 1 de octubre del 2017, las cuotas serán del dos por ciento (2%) del sueldo mensual, sin contar el tiempo extra, hasta un límite mensual máximo de $100.00; y • Con fecha efectiva del 1 de octubre del 2019, para los miembros que reciben sueldos mensuales de más de $7,500.00 ($90,000 anualmente), sin contar el tiempo extra, las cuotas

mensuales serán de $125.00. • dos por ciento (2%) del pago mensual, sin contar el tiempo extra; con • un límite mensual máximo de $75: • Ppago mensual mínimo para los empleados contratados - $20; (2) Las cuotas para los empleados del cuidado ambulatorio (asistentes en el hogar, empleados domésticos, auxiliares de salud en el hogar, asistentes de cuidado personal y otros cargos similares) serán: • dos por ciento (2%) del sueldo por hora de todas las horas trabajadas al mes, hasta un límite mensual máximo de 160 horas (incluso si se trabajan más horas). (3) En las adquisiciones, uniones y situaciones de primer contrato donde el pago de cuotas del dos por ciento (2%) reduciría el sueldo de los miembros, el Consejo Ejecutivo puede anular o autorizar un monto inferior de cuotas, de manera temporal, que constituya buen cumplimiento en el pago de cuotas para el grupo de miembros afectado, por el período temporal autorizado. (d) Sin cambios. (e) El término “Ingresos semanales mensuales,” de la manera que se utiliza aquí, significará el tipo de salario establecido en el contrato e incluirá Beneficios por Incapacidad pagados por el Fondo Nacional de Beneficios y, los Beneficios de Indemnización a los Trabajadores, comisiones y gratificaciones. (f) Sin cambios. (g) Sin cambios. (h) Sin cambios. Sección 13 - Membresía de asociados El Consejo Ejecutivo puede poner en práctica políticas, procedimientos y reglamentos para implementar el establecimiento de la membresía de asociados como una clasificación adicional de membresía. Los miembros asociados no pueden participar en la unidad colectiva para la cual la Unión es el agente colectivo negociador reconocido

y deben cumplir con los requisitos de elegibilidad establecidos por el Consejo Ejecutivo. No obstante cualquier cosa contraria en esta Constitución, los miembros asociados no podrán ser elegibles para ocupar un cargo, votar en las elecciones de ejecutivos ni participar en otros votos de membresía. Artículo VIII - Elecciones Sección 3 – Nominaciones para Oficiales y Delegados (a) Sin cambios. (b) Sin cambios. (c) Sin cambios. (d) Una solicitud de nominación de un candidato para Oficial, miembro de base al Consejo Ejecutivo y Organizadores requerirá las firmas y los últimos cuatro (4) dígitos de los números de seguro social de un mínimo del dos por ciento (2%) de los miembros en buena posición. Para cargos en toda la Unión, el número de firmas requerido deberá ser de un mínimo del uno por ciento (1%) de los miembros con buena posición de toda la Unión. El número de firmas requerídas será basado en el número de miembros en buena posición al mes de octubre inmediatamente anterior a las elecciones. (e) Sin cambios. (f) Sin cambios. (g) Sin cambios. (h) Sin cambios.

1 Las enmiendas propuestas se establecen en orden de Artículos y Secciones. No se incluyen los Artículos y Secciones sin enmiendas. Las subsecciones que no contienen enmiendas propuestas se reflejan como “Sin cambios”. El texto que se propone que sea eliminado se refleja tachado. El texto que se propone que sea añadido esta subrayado. Puede encontrar la Constitución completa de 1199SEIU en la página web: www.1199seiu.org.

1199 Magazine 15


POLITICS

1199ers Played Major Role in Healthcare Victory Legislators could not ignore the mass protests.

16

March-April 2017

Not since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, had the stakes been so high. From coast to coast, people raised their voices, crowded into town hall meetings and unleashed a social media storm that opposed the cruel, inhuman Congressional bill that was supposed to replace the ACA. When Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced on March 24 that he would not call a vote on the repeal bill, 1199ers, their allies and healthcare advocates around the nation led the chorus of cheers. 1199ers were celebrating the initial defeat of an atrocious bill, as well as the recognition that their hard work had been successful. Since Democrats were uniformly opposed to the bill, 1199ers and allies lobbied Republican members to get them to oppose the measure.

“I believe that health care is a right,” says Almitra Yancey, a customer service liaison at the Tarrytown, NY, campus of Montefiore Hospital and a frontline defender of the ACA. Yancey notes that the Medicaid cuts that were included in the bill would have not only deprived our most vulnerable of necessary care, but that “it also would have a ripple effect on all of us and our healthcare system as a whole.” Yancey and her 1199SEIU sisters and brothers were part of an army of concerned advocates who cited the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finding that passage of the bill would mean Medicaid cuts of $880 billion over a 10-year period and an increase in the uninsured of 14 million in 2018 and 26 million by 2026. Many referred to the bill as “wealthcare” because it called for the


Thousands converged on a Jan. 26 meting of Republican Party members in Philadelphia and protested attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

transfer of billions in tax cuts over the next 10 years to the richest two percent of Americans It was the rollback of ACA Medicaid expansion that had extended coverage to 11 million previously uninsured in 31 states and the District of Columbia that would have struck the most damaging blow to 1199ers and those they care for. In New York State alone, Medicaid provides coverage for 6.4 million people—among them, 2.3 million in New York City alone. “Medicaid is integral to the people I serve,” says Katherine Lewis, an OBGYN physician assistant at Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) on Staten Island, NY. Lewis lobbied, attended meetings and addressed a Staten Island Town Hall meeting. “Health disparities will worsen without Obamacare and Medicaid,” she warned at the meeting. She also was concerned about what the repeal of the ACA world mean for the community in which she works and also was born and raised. “When you drill down, those most affected by cuts would be children, seniors and disabled people,” she says. “The cuts would affect their health and the health of our entire community.” Republican Dan Donovan, Staten Island’s lone member of Congress, heard the pleas of Lewis and others in the district. Although he originally supported the bill, Rep. Donovan announced just moments before the last scheduled vote in Congress that he would vote against it. New Jersey advocates were able to convince three Republican Congress members to oppose the bill. The bill would have cut $3 billion in state Medicaid funding and thrown 550,000 persons off the Medicaid rolls. “If Medicaid is cut, it will hurt our ability to care for our residents,” cautioned Ella Moton, a CNA at

“The ACA is not just about health care, it’s about the health of our entire community.”

HarborView NH in Jersey City. Moton was among the speakers at a March 22 rally against the Republican healthcare bill outside the Trenton, NJ statehouse. Moton warned that Medicaid cuts would have worsened the staffresident ratio at nursing homes, making it more difficult to provide adequate care. She cited a former resident, a retired Tuskegee airman, one of the historic WWII African American pilots. “It was an honor to care for him after everything he did for our country” she said. “Someone like him should never have to sit

alone in the corner all by himself because there isn’t enough staff to give him compassionate care.” Pleas like those of Moton con­ vinced the last New Jersey Republican holdout, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, to announce his opposition. At press time, jubilant 1199ers were celebrating the healthcare victory, albeit with eyes on recentlyintroduced draconian federal budget. “This means we can really build a people’s movement,” affirmed 1199SEIU Pres. George Gresham. “But then we need to get back to work and raise the volume even higher for our next battle.”

1199 Magazine 17


OUR UNION

Our Retirees: Monnie Callan The 90-year-old retired social worker says there has never been a more important time than now to be an active member of the Union. Monnie Callan has been a union activist for more than half her life. And with a recent celebration marking her 90th birthday, that is certainly saying something. Callan was a social worker at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY for two decades, where she was an outspoken delegate leader, a fierce defender of workers’ rights and a powerful advocate for 1199 unity during two major citywide strikes. “People who are wealthy can’t imagine what working people may suffer…and they often don’t care. Unions are the only way that workers can get what they need from the bosses. “For me, the union is like an extended family, all working together to make the world a better place for everyone,” says Callan. Her family of origin faced struggles of their own. Her father, Lewis Bellow, immigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century, fleeing the violent anti-Semitic attacks, or pogroms, in what is now the Ukraine. The Bellows settled in Philadelphia. They were the first Jewish family in their neighborhood. The Bellows were not especially religious, but they were very socially conscious. 18

March-April 2017

Monnie’s older sister Olive was photographed as a child wearing a “Votes for Women” sash during a women’s suffrage march in Atlantic City.

Top: Retired social worker Monnie Callan, 90, during a recent visit to 1199’s NYC headquarters. Above: Callan’s late sister Olive at a women’s suffrage march in the 1920’s.

The “ struggles we face now are very serious. I don’t remember a time quite like now when the country was so divided.”

Just after World War II, Monnie attended Pennsylvania’s Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in Spanish. She was inspired, in part, by the Spanish Republicans’ struggle during the country’s 1936-1939 Civil War and their efforts to hold off Francisco Franco’s fascist regime. Her internationalism was inspired further when she attended the first World Festival of Youth and Students in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1947, where she met her husband. They raised a son and a daughter who are equally committed to social justice. Callan eventually settled in New York City, earning her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. Her first job was at the Lower East Side’s Hamilton-Madison House working with disadvantaged youth. “It was like a scene from West Side Story,” she recalls. During the 1980’s, working as a social work coordinator at Montefiore, she was dedicated to patients affected by the HIV virus in the early stages

of the epidemic. During Callan’s tenure Montefiore launched an early response to the disease, earning the designation of one of the first comprehensive AIDS centers in New York State. Callan expresses great pride in that work; she was among the 1199ers who attended the First International AIDS Conference in Paris in 1986. Callan’s steadfast Union activism is the thread running through her life and career. Her advancing years may slow her, but they have little chance of stopping her, she says. She urges retirees to support the Union and its actions as a way of expressing their power; with threats to programs like Medicaid and Medicare always looming, retiree voices are more critical now than at any time in Union history. At press time she was planning to participate in the New York City March for Health on April 1. “It has never been more important to be an active member,” she said. “The struggles we face now are very serious. I don’t remember a time quite like now when the country was so divided.”


THE WORK WE DO

“The Union is there to support us. It helps regulate where and how we work,” says Angel Anderson, an RN at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, MD. “If we have issues the Union works with management. Without them we wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.”


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THE WORK WE DO Our ProTechs and

Registered Nurses 1199SEIU represents tens of thousands of Professional and Technical workers and Registered Nurses. 2

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March-April 2017


1. Maurice Gray is a lead radiology technologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Gray, a delegate, impresses the need for solidarity on all 1199ers at NYU—not just those he represents as a delegate. “It’s important on my end to get people to understand that we are trying to show leadership,” says Gray. “The entire body has

to come together. We are at a really crucial point in the Union, with the government and with the President of the United States. It’s almost like we have to make a new beginning.” 2. Lab Assistant Angela Ramos is a delegate at NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC. Lab workers at the institution recently won hard-fought

battle for wage increases. 3. LPN Georgie Faison started out as a patient information coordinator at Prince George’s Hospital in Maryland seventeen years ago. She’s worked as an LPN in New Jersey before moving to Maryland, and co-workers encouraged her to renew her license.

“I enjoy nursing care and it was the encouragement of my co-workers that made me decide to to this,” she says. “I enjoy teaching others how to care for themselves and the medical aspects of things. I went to nursing school because I wanted more information about the body. And now I’m in the process of becoming a delegate because I want nurses

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to have more information. I want to make sure we are heard.” 4. Twenty-three years ago, RN Angie Simpson started in food service at Prince George’s. Today, she’s close to completing a Masters Degree in Legal Nurse Consulting and soon, she says, she’ll become a Union delegate. “The Union offers

fairness. And that’s what nurses are: advocates. We are a voice. We speak for our patients and for our communities in the political arena. Our profession allows us to serve our communities in many different capacities.”

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The Last Word: Dr. Leana Wen Dr. Leana Wen has served as Baltimore, Maryland’s City Health Commissioner since January, 2015. Before taking the job she was an emergency room physician, public health professor and activist for domestic and international policy to provide better access to health care and life saving pharmaceuticals. Dr. Wen is dedicated to reducing healthcare disparities, creating better access to healthcare services and encouraging a model of health care centered on prevention to build healthy communities. She is the author of “When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Care” and founder of Who’s My Doctor, a project to encourage transparency in medicine. 1199 Magazine spoke with Dr. Wen in February, just ahead of the successful fightback against the Trump administration’s initial attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The term public health is often treated like a hot potato and used broadly, to many different ends. What does it mean to you in your role as Commissioner of Health and as a physician? We say that health and public health is about everything. You can’t discuss someone’s health without talking about the air they breathe, the food that they have access to and the environment. It’s not just of physical health but also to the factors that contribute to mental health and well-being. The danger is that nobody takes responsibility for it, and from our standpoint in the health department we believe that everybody should take responsibility for health because it’s something that we all contribute to. To me as a physician, health is about the health care that you receive and much more; if somebody has heart disease we know we cannot just tell them to take medications without also addressing healthy foods that they have access to, or lack thereof. If a child is obese we cannot just talk about that without addressing their lack of safety and how they would feel walking outside or exercising outside. We also know that health ties into other aspects like education, like employment, like public safety. These are all issues we need to take a role in. There needs to be the health lens that we apply to the social problems of our time. Do you think there has been an erosion of general concern for public 22

March-April 2017

in the first place. I’m an emergency physician. Of course I want to take excellent care of my patients when they come in and are extremely ill—if they are the victims of car accidents, if they have had a heart attack, or if they have been shot—but I would rather have our resources be devoted not to that type of acute care, but to preventing someone from getting into the car accident or from that bullet from entering the person’s body. That is what we should be doing: focusing our efforts on prevention. We should be achieving these outcomes as early as possible for our children.

health in society? Why? There is a saying that public health saves your life today, you just don’t know it. Public health is what prevents people from getting ill in restaurants because we do restaurant inspections. Public health is what keeps our water supply safe. Public health is what we do to prevent or ensure health conditions so people do not get shot and killed. Unfortunately, because public health is about prevention, there is no face of someone who benefited from it. It’s the face of something that did not happen. That’s why we as health professionals have to keep making the case ourselves. We have to be the best vanguard, the best guardians for public health. Because if we don’t stand up and talk about it, nobody will. We are in a time of major change in our healthcare system. Can you discuss the connection between the growth of corporate healthcare, healthcare megasystems and the challenges faced by healthcare workers and those working in public health? Healthcare has become a commodity rather than a right. It has become a privilege to those who can pay for it rather than something we do because it’s the right thing to do because it makes all of us healthier at the end of the day. That is a problem. Feefor-service medicine is a problem because it commodifies healthcare. It focuses our attention on what to do when someone is very ill, rather than how can we prevent that illness

Why is it important for caregivers to have a voice in the changes in our healthcare system? We as the providers—doctors, nurses, social workers and other professionals—we are on the front lines. We see what happens to our patients. They are not just policies to us. That’s why it’s so important for healthcare professionals to be leaders in our field. We should be consulted for every decision that is made. We are on the front lines treating people every single day. Whatever decisions are made will impact our practices and directly impact the lives and livelihoods of our patients.

“We see what happens to our patients. They are not just policies to us. That’s why it’s so important for healthcare professionals to be leaders in our field. We should be consulted for every decision that is made.”

How will the changes to the ACA and Medicaid affect your city of Baltimore? I’m extremely concerned about the impact of this ACA “replacement” plan. It is detrimental to the shortand long-term health of our residents. We know that this so-called plan will decrease coverage to potentially tens of thousands of Baltimore residents. It will take away their coverage, so individuals who are stable and being treated for medical and other conditions will now have their health care taken away from them. We know that this plan will impact Medicaid which covers the most vulnerable in our communities–including women, children and the elderly. We know there will be huge impacts on women’s health care; it further takes away reproductive choice and


reproductive options for women. This plan makes no sense. It decreases coverage while increasing costs. It is something that will have significant long-term effects on the health and well-being of our residents as well as of our country. On a positive note, you have also had a lot of successes in the work you’ve been doing in Baltimore. Tell us about some of those. Our work around opioids, for one. We have changed the dialogue around addiction, so that there is an understanding that addiction is a disease, that it kills and that there is a way to save lives. We have gotten legislation changes and done outreach so that we now have a standing order—which is a blanket prescription for naloxone (a drug designed to rapidly reverse the effects of opioid overdose)—as long as they get a basic training. We have trained over 20,000 residents and everyday people have saved the lives of over 800 Baltimore residents. That’s

something we are very proud of even as we recognize there is a lot more work to be done. Second, we have formed partnerships across the city around the common goal of reducing infant mortality. Within seven years we have reduced our infant mortality to a record low: that’s about 50 babies that would have died in 2009 that are now alive in 2017. We’ve expanded this plan to be about youth health and wellness more broadly. We’ve launched a citywide strategy called Healthy Baltimore 2020; we have a goal of cutting health disparities in half because we recognize we cannot have good health while we have structural inequities and legacies of racism and discrimination. What role can 1199 and other community partners play in expanding access to preventive care? Virtually every study has shown that prevention saves lives and saves money; when it comes to prenatal care for example women who don’t get prenatal care are five times more

likely to have infants who die than women who do have prenatal care. We know that prenatal care programs are a life-saving, cost-saving measure and they are something we can all take part in. Part of the problem is that this is not where our financial incentives are aligned. There is no money to encourage people to invest in prevention, which is why advocacy groups and community groups have to take the lead. I commend the work that 1199 does to rally healthcare professionals and patients together in our common goal of improving health. How do we encourage healthcare workers who live and work in our communities to have these conversations? These conversations are a big challenge; all of us have to tie these conversations to the things people care about. Whether it’s public health, education reform, public safety, jobs –we have to be the ones making the case that improving health ties in to all of these other factors.

 Baltimore Health

Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen in her office.

“Virtually every study has shown that prevention saves lives and saves money; when it comes to prenatal care, for example, women who don’t get prenatal care are five times more likely to have infants who die than women who do have prenatal care.”

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People power stops attempt to repeal the ACA

Almitra Yancey, a delegate from Montefiore Medical Center, at a February Town Hall in Staten Island, NY. She spoke about the consequences for her community of losing the Affordable Care Act. It was one of thousands of events across the country where people turned out in droves to push back against extremists who sought to gut the law. See story on page 16.

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