A Journal of 1199SEIU September-October 2019
How Bread and Roses Helped Build 1199 AFRAM Celebrates Culture & Works for Progress
Census 101: What You Need To Know
Standing Up For Mother Earth
1199ers were among the millions around the world who took to the streets for the Sept. 20 Global Climate March See story on page 10
CONTENTS 10 20 On the cover: NYC 1199ers were among the 250,000 who marched and rallied in Lower Manhattan at the Sept. 20 Global Climate March.
@1199seiu www.1199seiu.org 2
12 5 The President’s Column The climate crisis is a matter of life and death.
10 The Climate March Supporting our youth in the fight for our planet.
6 Around the Regions Members testify at NYS Dept. of Health safe staffing hearings; GOTV concert in Virginia; your rights under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
12 The Youth Mentoring Program Summer opportunities for our Union teens.
8 We Care! We Vote! 1199ers meet with presidential candidates and fine-tune 2020 issues platform.
15 The Incredibles of Healthcare LPN Nora Duncan is the winner of Florida region recognition campaign. 16 Our Caucus Program 1199SEIU’s AFRAM is committed to engaging members of African descent.
17 The 2020 Census is coming We care! We count! 18 Splendor on The Parkway 1199ers dazzle at the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn. 20 Contract Victories Members flex at the bargaining table. 22 Our History 1199’s visionary Bread and Roses Program made culture a part of organizing.
1199 Magazine September-October 2019 Vol. 37, No. 5 ISSN 2474-7009 Published by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East 310 West 43rd St. New York, NY 10036 (212) 582-1890 www.1199seiu.org
Editorial: The Future Is Watching Us We are in a time like no other, and we must stand up and show up.
At our Presidential Issues Forum held in New York City in September, Patrick Gaspard, Executive Director of the Open Societies Foundation and former 1199 Political Director, charged us with taking bold action. 1199’s strength and mobilizing ability is unmatched, said Gaspard, but we are in a time in history that demands we find another gear in our power to organize and make change. “The history books cannot reflect that the worst president in our lifetimes was able to survive with these anti-worker policies and policies of hate,” Gaspard asserted. Just a few days later, 1199ers were among the millions of people around the world who poured into the streets, marching against the powers, corporations, and governments that are driving climate change. Hundreds of 1199ers and their families from across the Union carried the message of a public health crisis and the reminder that climate change devastation is already upon us. (We need only look at the damage wrought by hurricanes Maria and Dorian and Superstorm Sandy.) “My cousin and her family were forced to uproot their lives and move to Florida after the devastation caused by [Hurricane Maria],” said Jose Gonzalez, a patient billing liaison at Mount Sinai-Union Square in Manhattan. “We have seen the effects of climate change. It’s the most important issue of our lifetimes.” As you read this, life-giving forests in the Amazon and Indonesia are burning. Unprecedented wildfires have ravaged the Arctic, Russia, Canada, and Greenland. The U.S. government is rolling back long-standing environmental protections even as communities across the country are struggling
George Gresham secretary treasurer
Maria Castaneda executive vice presidents
Jacqueline Alleyne Norma Amsterdam 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 Turner-Biggs editor
Patricia Kenney director of photography
art direction & design Maiarelli Studio cover photography
Kim Wessels contributors
Mindy Berman Regina Heimbruch Naeem Holman JJ Johnson Jorge Morales Tobias Packer Erin Rojas Sarah Wilson
with the health impacts of poisoned water and soil. And billionaires are propagating an alternate reality of climate change in countries where they do business. All this is to say that we are at a tipping point. We must work in coalition with our sisters and brothers on the front lines of other progressive struggles. We must participate in the upcoming U.S. Census to combat the damaging misinformation that has denied our communities valuable resources. We must fight to restore respect for facts, science, and logic. And, perhaps most important, we must register and vote. In short, we must stand up and show up.
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.
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Letters STANDING UP FOR BALTIMORE onald Trump, our current president, recently said that “Baltimore is a disgusting rat and rodent infested mess” and that “no human being would want to live there.” Not only did the president call the city dirty, but he also said that Baltimoreans were not human. This comment was disrespectful to all who live in Baltimore. Baltimore, Maryland, is my hometown. And, yes, we do have some issues. Crime rates are high. We suffer from the abandonment of properties, and there are issues with rodents. But the Baltimore I know is also a talented city, a city that could change if we had more resources. Donald Trump’s statement was made out of spite not out of concern. Baltimore is not the only city in the United States that has these problems, so why pick or choose one and not all. I say to Donald Trump, if you are so concerned, why don’t you help not only Baltimore but all the other cities that deal with these run-down conditions? Don’t look at us as unequal, we’re all human.
Nijah Cooper Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, MD
IN PRAISE OF OUR CAMP PROGRAM am an 1199 delegate and the proud daughter of a former 1199 member. My late mother, Emilia Fajardo, was an environmental services worker at Staten Island University Hospital, my current employer. Through my mother and our Union, I have enjoyed a long and
wonderful relationship with the Anne Shore Camp Fund. When I was nine, my mother enrolled me in the Anne Shore Camp Program. And my life was forever changed. I attended Farm and Wilderness Camp in Plymouth, VT, and spent my summers learning skills such as hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, sailing, farming, animal care, and so much more. What impacted me most was F&W’s belief in simplicity, its commitment to social justice, its belief in diversity, equity and equality that immediately provided a comfortable second home away from home. F&W removed the fears of a little Puerto Rican girl from the projects of Staten Island who had never been outside of NYC, let alone in the wilds of Vermont! For me, it went even deeper than that—I forged some of the closest, strongest friendships that remain with me to this day. Yes, many of those I met in camp are still part of my everyday life, 33 years later! Anne Shore and Farm and Wilderness have enjoyed and celebrated a successful relationship for over 40 years, and I wholeheartedly believe that the work they do together is vital to our 1199 community. I believe in the program so much that my hope is to work with Anne Shore to send my daughter to Farm & Wilderness next summer. The Anne Shore program is a great gift and it is my sincerest hope that my fellow 1199 members discover as I have how it can open up the world for their own children, as it did for me and am confident will do for my children. Alisha Carberry Staten Island University Health Northwell, Staten Island, NY
I LOVE MY SKIN, BUT IT CAME WITH PAIN: A YOUNG POET ON BEING BLACK The following poem was submitted by Cadien Giff on behalf of her daughter, 13-year-old Saanie Moodie. Ms. Giff has been a cafeteria worker at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, NY for 21 years. In September, Saanie entered her freshman year of high school after attending the summer academic program at the prestigious Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. “I started writing poetry about a year ago,” says Saanie. “I found that it was the only way I could express myself.” Rolling Black, Rolling White Rolling black, rolling white A newspaper but instead of focusing on the white part of the paper They focus on the black The bold The reason behind the season Black and white are the two colors Oops, I meant “shades” but black stands for “colored” Am I right or am I wrong I am black, I am proud Black lives matter All lives matter Wait….. Are you undermining my statement by making your own Or are you standing up for what doesn’t have to be stood up for Or is it both I am black, I am proud So what are you proud of? The achievements that came along with being who you are which you didn’t have to work for or the fact that your family didn’t have to live in hell and heaven at the same time Yeah I love my skin, but it came with pain Your parents don’t have to sit down and tell you about the history of a race that was looked down upon just because of their skin color And even if they did tell you that, you couldn’t relate Cause black people are BAD You wonder why we act the way we do Don’t go back to the Lusitania or world war 1 Go back to Martin Luther King or Harriet Tubman or people like Malcom X My emancipation is everyone else’s proclamation i am black and i am proud
The Climate Crisis Is A Matter of Life and Death We healthcare workers must organize, mobilize and choose life. The President’s Column by George Gresham
Last month, right after Labor Day, CNN conducted an unusual— actually, unique—seven-hour-long forum for the leading Democratic presidential candidates to present their ideas about the climate emergency. It was extraordinary that a major cable network would think the issue is so important that viewers would tune in so many hours. I was struck by the timing, coming as it did right after the country celebrated working people and their struggles. It implicitly rejected the old, nonsensical argument that environment protection means the loss of jobs. Workers, people of color, Native peoples, and the poor have borne and will continue to bear the brunt of this crisis if we don’t find the means to avert it. It has become increasingly clear that as the globe continues to warm, we are in an existential crisis. Nothing less than the future of the planet Earth and life can continue as we know it if humanity does not act urgently to put on the brakes to the plunder by the oil, chemical, timber and mining corporations. All the signs are there to foresee the fate of the earth: increasing numbers and severity of hurricanes and floods, devastating fires from the California redwoods to the Amazon, record heat waves on every continent, sea levels rising from the melting of the Arctic, increased air pollution and hospitalizations, premature deaths, crop failures, extinct species, spread of new diseases and intensified migration. In the first six months of this year alone, more than seven million human beings have been made homeless refugees as a result of extreme weather. As healthcare workers, we well understand the seriousness of cardiac arrest or stagefour cancer. The entire planet is approaching just that stage of frailty.
As a grandparent, I can’t bear the idea of my little ones not being able to grow up in a habitable environment. But plagues of deadly insects, heat waves beyond what we’ve ever experienced, south Florida and Manhattan under water—all are part of the forecast for their lifetimes if we don’t reverse our present direction. And when I say forecast, I am referring to what actual meteorologists and other science professionals are saying, not the guy in the White House with his Sharpie. The old false choice for workers of “jobs vs. the environment” no longer makes sense—if it ever did. Mines are rapidly shutting down, oil pipelines are essentially temp work, gas extraction is highly mechanized. Sustainable energy—wind power, solar power, and such—are far more labor intensive. The Green New Deal, introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) give a picture of what is now not only possible but essential—an overhaul of the economy to give productive and secure jobs to working people, guaranteeing health care as a universal right, while replacing energy sources that threaten human life with those that guarantee humanity’s future. The most toxic polluters are located almost exclusively in poor and working-class communities, where virtually all coal-fired plants, public incinerators and waste dumps are to be found. I’ll bet nobody reading these words can identify such a poisonous facility located in Palm Beach, Scarsdale, Beacon Hill, McLean, or any other wealthy community. We 1199 sisters and brothers, like the rest of humanity, must be greatly concerned and engage around these existential threats to our children and our children’s children.
As healthcare workers and frontline caregivers, we daily see patients suffering from myriad pulmonary diseases, heart diseases, cancers, and other conditions that are the result of environmental degradation. And the situation has only become worse these last three years as the Trump administration seeks every opportunity to despoil our water, air, and green spaces in the service of greater profits for the fossil-fuel industries. Obviously, the first precondition to reverse the impending catastrophe is using all our energies in 2020 to drive out of public office the criminal class now running the government. It really is not an exaggeration to say that the upcoming election is a matter of life or death. We 1199SEIU healthcare workers will always choose life.
“We daily see patients suffering from myriad pulmonary diseases, heart diseases, cancers, and other conditions that are the result of environmental degradation.”
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Around the Regions
At a July hearing, 1199ers told NYS officials that sicker patients require better staffing.
Albany Lawmakers Hear From Members About Care Team Approach The first step in making change is making your voice heard. 1199ers who work in hospitals and nursing homes in New York City traveled to Albany on July 25 to explain to the NYS Department of Health how the vital care they provide to seniors is being put at risk by inadequate staffing levels. In two sessions RNs, PCTs, and CNAs testified before officials from the New York State Department of Health Staffing Study Engagement Session, stressing the importance nurse-to-patient ratios and proper staffing across all job titles in providing quality care. RN Joyce Austin has worked at Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Queens, NY for two decades. “Without proper staffing at all levels, care is bound to suffer,” she said. “I started out as a CNA, then I be-
came an LPN and then an RN,” says Austin. “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the nursing home. We are now getting the patients who used to be treated in a medical/surgical unit in a hospital. We have patients on ventilators, who are receiving dialysis at the bedside. We have patients who are much sicker and need more nursing care, but staffing levels have not changed.” Veronica Murray, a PCA at St. John’s Episcopal in Far Rockaway since 1992, testified how short staffing affects caregivers physically and emotionally. “I feel I do not often have enough time to give patients the personal attention they need and deserve,” said Murray. “Sometimes family members are not around, and they are lonely and anxious. Without enough staff we cannot provide vital emotional support to our patients.”
On August 20, 1199ers joined New York State Attorney General Letitia James at Manhattan’s Foley Square for the announcement of a lawsuit against changes in the “public charge” rule that could limit pathways to citizenship for legal immigrants. James denounced the Trump Administration’s cruel treatment of immigrants announcing the lawsuit, which is a joint effort by New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. Under the new rule, immigration officials can deny green cards, visas, and other forms of legal immigration status to immigrants who use public services, including publicly funded health insurance and food stamps. “Under this rule, more children will go hungry, more families will go without medical care, and more people will be living in the shadows and on the streets,” said James. 6
”We have patients who are much sicker and need more nursing care, but staffing levels have not changed.” –Joyce Austin, RN, Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation
NBF Program Can Help You Take Charge of Your Finances This fall, the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund (NBF) is offering all 1199SEIU members a free, online financial information series. Facilitated by Mobility Capital Finance, the NBF’s six-part series will provide information and advice on building savings, increasing a credit score, planning for retirement, taking important steps toward achieving financial goals, and more. The interactive, online curriculum includes video, chat, and e-newsletters and has been designed to address the needs and concerns of 1199SEIU members. The online series runs for three months. See below for the schedule. Registration is now open for the fall semester. Sessions are Saturday at 10 a.m. EST. For more information or to sign up, go to 1199SEIUBenefits. org/mocafi 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
It’s All in Your Mind October 19, 2019 Saving Strategies (Part 1) November 2, 2019 Saving Strategies (Part 2) November 16, 2019 The Importance Of Credit December 7, 2019 Working Toward Retirement (Part 1) December 21, 2019 Working Toward Retirement (Part 2) January 11, 2020
Florida Maryland Massachusetts New Jersey New York Washington, D.C. Kim Wessels Photos
Labor Day Celebrations New York City-area 1199ers turned this year’s Labor Day Parade purple. The Union contingent at the September 9 event included a sizable contingent, a float, and the Brooklyn United Marching Band. The Union also marked Labor Day with a Get Out the Vote concert in Urbana, VA. The event was the unofficial kickoff of efforts to turn the state blue for 2020 and beyond. The concert featured appearances by the Isley Brothers, Angela Winbush, GQ, Rev. William Barber II, and DJ Spazo of HOT 97. Mark Thompson, host of the progressive radio talk show “Make It Plain,” was the event’s MC.
Member Rights under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act
Title I of the LMRDA contains the Bill of Rights for members of labor organizations. The Bill of Rights guarantees union members equal rights to nominate candidates for union office, to vote in union elections or referendums, and to attend union meetings and participate in the deliberations and voting upon the business of such meetings. Under the Bill of Rights union members are also
Get Ready For Next Summer! Sign Up for The Camp Fair! The 1199SEIU/Employer Child Care Corporation will hold its annual Camp Fair on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1199’s Cherkasky/Davis Conference Center, located at 330 West 42nd St. in Manhattan. The Camp Fair allows eligible members and their families to connect with Anne Shore’s contracted camp providers and gives them a better understanding of the summer experience that each camp offers. The event provides members with the necessary tools to help guide the summer camp selections they make for their children. CCC staff will be present to assist members with completing the online application, which opens that day. Eligible members can RSVP for the Camp Fair online at www.surveymonkey. com/r/2020CampFair, via email at AnneShoreCampProgram@1199Funds.org or by calling 212-564-2220 ext. 3460.
guaranteed freedom of speech and assembly, and the right to meet and assemble freely with other members, to express views, arguments or opinions, and to express at union meetings their views on candidates for union elections or upon any business properly before the meeting—subject to each organization’s established and reasonable rules regarding the conduct of the meetings.
Additionally, the Bill of Rights guarantees members a voice in setting the union’s rates of dues, fees, and assessments. Members are also assured other basic rights including protection of the right to sue, safeguards against improper disciplinary action from the union, the right to view copies of collective bargaining agreements, and the right to be informed of the LMRDA.
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1199ers meet with presidential candidates and fine-tune 2020 issues platform. In September, 1199ers kicked off unionwide discussions of the 2020 presidential election with a member forum at the Union’s Manhattan headquarters and visits and video messages from presidential candidates and their surrogates. 1199 members from across the regions gathered in New York City’s 1199 Cherkasky/Davis Conference Center on September 16 to learn about and discuss 1199’s Presidential Candidates Issues Platform, which lists the priorities driving the Union’s political work through 2020 and beyond. The event was an opportunity to mobilize politically active members and fine-tune the Issues Platform, which was devised from ongoing surveys of and conversations with 1199ers. 8
Andrew Lichtenstein Photos
WE CARE! WE VOTE! The Platform highlights the central concerns of working families —Health Care for All, Union Rights and Family-Sustaining Jobs, Strong Families and Communities, Social and Racial Justice, Sustainable Long Term Care, Immigration Reform, and Climate Change—and makes plain to 1199-endorsement-seeking candidates where their commitment must be. Members discussed how these issues affect their families and communities, and where elected officials have succeeded and fallen short around them. Former 1199 Political Director Patrick Gaspard was the event’s keynote speaker. Gaspard, now head of the Open Society Foundations, emphasized the deep commitment needed to recalibrate this moment in history.
“This is not an I moment. This is a we moment,” said Gaspard. “And in order to form a more perfect union we are going to have to knock on every damn door… step up, rise up, and fulfill this moment.” The day’s featured guest was Sen. Kamala Harris, California’s former attorney general and the state’s first senator of Jamaican or Indian ancestry. Harris, who has supported single-payer health care, sanctuary cities, and DREAMer families, participated in an hour-long question and answer session and shared views on topics ranging from prison reform to housing to child care. Daniel Sturrock, a specialty resource clinical assistant from Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, NY, quizzed Sen.
Sen. Kamala Harris was the special guest at a discussion forum where members weighed in on the Union’s 2020 issues platform.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren met with the Union’s Executive Committee and a group of workers fighting for organizing rights. Patrick Gaspard, 1199’s former political director, fired up members at Presidential Issues Forum in NYC on Sept. 16.
Carolina Kroon Photo
“In order to form a more perfect union we are going to have to knock on every damn door… step up, rise up, and fulfill this moment.” – Patrick Gaspard Open Society Foundations President and Former 1199 Political Director
Harris about her plans for paid family leave and affordable child care. Sturrock and his wife have a two-and-a-halfyear-old son and a second child on the way. Losing his job while his wife was expecting their first child activated him around the issue, he said. “We can talk all we want about paid family leave,” said Harris. “But if it’s not paid, it’s not real. We have to support you and your spouse, because quite frankly this is about our children.” Members also questioned Harris about union rights, prison reform, and health care. Later in the day attendees heard a message from New Jersey’s Sen. Cory Booker, who has pledged to address environmental concerns and education, and highlighted the fact that he is the only candidate who lives in a primarily Black and Brown community. 1199ers also welcomed Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who met with a group of unorganized workers and the Union’s Executive Committee. Warren spoke at length with the hospital and homecare workers, asking them about their experiences on the job and the reasons they are fighting for union membership. A stalwart union activist, Warren emphasized the need for organizing rights and a working National Labor Relations Board and worker-friendly Secretary of Labor. Andy Cassagnol, an ER Registrar at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, who is currently working as a member-organizer, said the attacks on labor changed his view of the country. “What I thought America was supposed to be was just blown up by these campaigns,” said Cassagnol, referencing the intimidation and threats faced by the workers he met. “If you become president, what actions will you take to make sure workers can join a union?” Warren expressed steadfast support for organizing rights and reforms to re-balance power in every sector of society. “Where is the real power? It’s with the people who do the work,” said Warren. “And it’s about how we bring that power together and use it.” Warren’s visit was followed by a Q & A with former Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff. Biden was unable to personally visit the Union because of scheduling conflicts. Members and staff posed questions about health care and voter suppression. At press time, the Union was preparing to host other candidates so members would have the opportunity to engage with them and learn more about their platforms. 1199 Magazine 9
THERE IS NO PLANET
1199ers around the Union participated in September’s historic Climate March.
1199’s youngest environmentalists led our contingent at the historic climate march in New York City on September 20, where they rallied alongside a quarter of a million other activists who took to the city streets as part of an international mobilization calling on governments to protect the earth and address climate change. Children aged 18 months to four years who attend the 1199SEIU Child Care Fund’s Future of America Learning Center (FALC) in the Bronx appeared front and center, in keeping with the youth-led theme of the global climate protests. Fatimah Smalls, an 1199SEIU delegate who works as a nutritionist at New York Presbyterian hospital, brought her 4-year-old son, Soriyah, to the march. “It is their future we’re talking about, and we adults need to set an example,” asserted Smalls. Earlier in the same week, more than 100 children from FALC marched around their day care center with their parents and grandparents carrying homemade signs to raise awareness of the climate emergency. The children’s curriculum at FALC has been focused on global warming 10
in the run-up to Earth Day next month. A group of members’ children from FALC also delivered their drawings to UN Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, Luis Alfonso de Alba Gongora. The protests in NYC and around the globe were designed to put pressure on world leaders meeting at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23 to set clear targets to control emissions and put the brakes on widespread environmental degradation.
“We have to educate our children about the importance of taking care of our world,” said Fatima Bautista, who works as a Research Technician at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. “I want my four-year-old daughter to see that Mom is doing something that we strongly believe in.” 1199ers in Buffalo, Syracuse, Boston, Washington DC, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach also took part in the Sept. 20 global mobilizations, seeking to highlight the disastrous local implications of the global climate emergency. In 2012, hundreds of members living and working in New York City were directly affected by Superstorm Sandy, which caused widespread evacuations of healthcare institutions, homelessness, and property loss. Scientists agree that our global dependence on fossil fuels for our energy needs is a key factor which increases global warming and, in turn, the frequency and severity of hurricanes like Sandy. Members at the
The protests in NYC and around the globe were designed to put pressure on world leaders meeting at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23.
t New York-area 1199ers at the Sept. 20 Climate March and an event in Far Rockaway, NY commemorating Hurricane Sandy. t Young leaders at the Climate March in Miami Beach, FL. Top Row: Kim Wessels Photos Middle Row: Carolina Kroon Photos
Rockaway Care Center nursing home in Far Rockaway, NY, which was devastated by Sandy, gathered outside their facility ahead of the Climate March to highlight the problem. In a poignant turn of events, the global protests took place just weeks after Hurricane Dorian ripped through the Bahamas and caused massive devastation there. Many 1199ers were participating in aid efforts for the Bahamas. (You can contribute via PayPal at 1199SEIU. org/Bahamas.) During the NYC climate protest, 1199 members also recalled Hurricane Maria, the storm that devastated Puerto Rico exactly two years ahead of the march, causing more than 3,000 deaths on the island “Hurricane Maria caused a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico,” said Jose Gonzalez, an 1199SEIU delegate who works as a Patient Billing Liaison at Mount Sinai Union Square. “My cousin and her family were forced to uproot their lives and move to Florida after the devastation caused by the storm. We have seen the effects of climate change. It’s the most important issue of our lifetimes.”
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Our Youth Mentoring Program at Maimonides Medical Center The Unionâ€™s summer program for teens helps build professionalism, independence and a vision for the future. Established in 1991, the Youth Mentoring Program (YMP) is a project of the 1199SEIU League Labor Management Initiatives, Inc., and is administered by the 1199SEIU/Employer Child Care Fund. The program provides a six-week summer employment opportunity for the 15-to-17-year-old children of eligible 1199ers and introduces kids to career opportunities and vocational experiences in the healthcare industry. The program also supports the development of fundamental skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem solving. Teens are paid to work in 1199SEIU institutions where their parents are employed and are mentored by site supervisors and seasoned youth development specialists. For this feature, 1199 Magazine spent a day this summer with YMP participants at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. 12
1. Kaitlyn Matthews, 16, worked with operating room registrars this summer, helping Maimonides’ patients prepare for surgery. “I have always been interested in medicine and science,” said Matthews, who is entering her junior year of high school and planning to become an anesthesiologist.
5. Jason Truong helped repair medical equipment in the hospital’s biomedical engineering department. “Jason is great. He comes and asks for work,” said his mentor Pamela Gottlieb. “The program is good for all the kids. It teaches them organization and structure.”
2. Jade Wallcott, dishes out nutritious meals in the hospital’s cafeteria.
6. Janeel Rose, 16, spent her summer working in Maimonides’ Cardiology Department. “She wants to be a cardiologist, so this is a great experience for her. It’s going to help her go into the world and become more independent,” said Rose’s mother, Janet Walters, a patient care technician at Maimonides for 22 years.
3. Seventeenyear-old Lachin Beginyazova (in blue) answers a call as she prepares for an oncoming shift of nurses and other staff on a medical-surgical unit. “I do a variety of things,” said Beginyazova. “Sometimes I deliver blood to the lab. I also go around and make sure identifying information on patients’ charts and rooms is correct.” 4. Crystal Parmer helps put orders together in Maimonides’ pharmacy. This was the 16-year-old’s first time participating in the YMP. In addition to hands-on experience in the pharmacy, Crystal also helped with administrative and organizational tasks.
“The program is good for all the kids. It teaches them organization and structure.” – Pamela Gottlieb, Mentor
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7. Michelle CheungZheng, 17, spent her summer working in Maimonides’ Public Communications Dept., where she provided information to patients and their families. 8. Jaida Richa, 17, works with new dentist Zachary Cardito at Maimonides dental clinic to demonstrate proper brushing techniques. “This is a great opportunity,” said Richa, who is planning to become a dentist. “Not a lot of people get to do this kind of work in hospitals.”
“My daughter wants to be a cardiologist, so this is a great experience for her. It’s going to help her go into the world and become more independent.” –Janet Walters patient care technician at Maimonides
9. Christopher Brown also spent his summer on a Maimonides medicalsurgical unit. “At first I was nervous about meeting expectations,” says Brown, who is planning to become a surgeon. “This made me think about shows like ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ There’s so much on those shows that’s [not like real life] and so much I didn’t know about the situations they portray.” 10. Eliza Gonzales, 17, is heading into her senior year at the High School of Telecommunications. She spent her summer working in Maimonides’ blood bank.
Recognizing Florida’s Incredible Healthcare Workers Nora Duncan, LPN & Monitor Tech, Wins 2019 Incredibles of Healthcare Program Nora Duncan, a licensed practical nurse for more than 40 years and now a monitor tech at HCA-affiliated Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, FL truly is an “Incredible of Healthcare.” A co-worker who nominated Nora in 1199SEIU Florida’s Incredibles of Healthcare recognition campaign said, “Nora has great respect and compassion for patients and her colleagues. She is a devoted delegate and puts her soul into every problem that arrives, even without pay. She is a superhero to all of us.” The Incredibles program—created by 1199SEIU Florida in conjunction with Hospital and Nursing Home Healthcare Worker Appreciation Month—invited members to recognize and nominate fellow workers who are “doing an incredible job at your hospital or nursing home; someone who goes above and beyond, has your back and always puts patients first; super heroes ready to save the day for Florida families.” Duncan and all nominees earned entry into a drawing for a gift bag. During a live broadcast on the 1199SEIU Facebook page, Duncan’s name was pulled as the grand prize winner, but her co-workers and patients say they are the real lucky ones to have her skills, dedication, and decades of experience on their side. Duncan first became an LPN in Augusta, GA in 1978. She moved to Florida and has worked at Westside since 1990. She chose a career as a nurse because she saw it as a solid opportunity as a single mother. She has made the most of it for her patients, co-workers, herself, and family.
Now married for 33 years, Duncan has a daughter who is an accountant currently earning a master’s degree in business in Georgia, and her son has a career as an HVAC technician in Connecticut. Duncan has been part of 1199SEIU Florida since 2011 and has become an active delegate standing up for her co-workers’ rights. “Working together as a union, we can speak up and not feel intimidated by management,” said Duncan. “We’re committed to delivering the best care for patients and conditions for staff, and our voice is much stronger as one.” She also has become very active in 1199SEIU’s political efforts to elect candidates who will best serve working people in Florida and across the nation. A priority for her is to defeat the Trump administration that “has no concern at all for anybody but themselves. Every day is a new story of how they take unfair advantage of regular people to help themselves and their rich friends.” She’s “disappointed but not surprised” that HCA-affiliated hospitals did not follow through on the announcement to share with workers some of the $500 million windfall the company received from the Trump corporate tax breaks. She said extra benefits and pay would help workers and their patients very much, and the giant company is profitable enough to afford putting more money toward worker programs. Nora Duncan has spent 40 years putting others first. As a nurse, she has cared for tens of thousands of patients, and saved lives “too many times to
was nominated as an Incredible of Healthcare for her dedication to patients and workers.
She has spent 40 years putting others first. As a nurse, she has cared for tens of thousands of patients, and saved lives “too many times to remember.”
remember,” especially in emergency rooms and critical care units. She says her inspiration and role model was her grandfather Doss Douglas, Jr. Born in 1897 and the grandson of slaves, Mr. Douglas traveled to France to fight for the allies and against tyranny in World War I. He returned to the still-segregated United States before 1920, fluent in French and determined to make a better life for his family. He did. Mr. Douglas bought and built his own home and family complex of almost 100 “country acres” in Georgia, and achieved a long, successful career in the timber industry. He passed away in his 80s. When asked if she could spend a day with any current celebrity or figure throughout history, Nora chose her grandfather. “He was a self-made success, and a man before his time,” she said. “He was the kind of person we all can admire and hope to live up to his example.” As her 1199SEIU brothers and sisters attest, Nora Duncan has met the high standard her grandfather set, truly shining with her colleagues as a 2019 Incredible of Healthcare.
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Union’s AFRAM Caucus Celebrates Culture & Works For Progress Our African American Caucus is committed to enhancing leadership opportunities and encouraging union participation. 1199ers throughout the Union are working hard to re-invigorate member engagement with AFRAM, the National African American caucus within SEIU, especially as the country gears up for the 2020 election. Kaydra Bonamy, a certified nursing assistant at the Terra Vista Rehabilitation and Nursing Home in Orlando, FL, was sworn in this summer as AFRAM’s Secretary of the Southern Region, alongside Coy Jones, an 1199SEIU Florida political coordinator, who is the AFRAM’s new President of the Southern Region. Bonamy and Jones emphasized the critical importance of AFRAM’s political work in the interests of all working people and the vital role the caucus program must play in mobilizing Black and Brown voters alongside other under-represented groups. “AFRAM’s original focus was to address issues that impact African Americans,” said Bonamy. “But it 16
“AFRAM’s original focus was to address issues that impact African Americans, but it has expanded to include immigrant rights, workers’ rights and other critical issues that impact us all.” – Kaydra Bonamy, CNA
NYC AFRAM members at July celebration in Harlem for Alelia Murphy. At 114 years old, Ms. Murphy is officially the oldest living resident of the United States. Her daughter, Rose Green is an 1199 retiree from Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn.
has expanded to include immigrant rights, workers’ rights, and other critical issues that impact us all. These are the issues that unite us.” A recent signature achievement of the AFRAM caucus was in Florida, with pushback against attacks on the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Program, a long-standing humanitarian provision in U.S. immigration law that allows people to live and work in the U.S. during the aftermath of a natural disaster or outbreak of conflict in their home country. AFRAM members organized a vibrant stall at May’s annual Haitian Compas Festival in Miami. AFRAM members helped educate attendees about the threat to Haitian immigrants, and the assault on TPS. With a significant number of TPS holders among Haitian Floridians, and many who work in health care, 1199ers were vocal and mobilized around the issue. As the Trump administration has threatened the program, 1199’s AFRAM caucus, alongside other campaigners, is calling for permanent protections to be put in place for TPS holders. But it is not just politics that animates the Union’s AFRAM membership. AFRAM is dedicated to the celebration of African American culture and contributions across society. When her mother became the
oldest living person in the U.S., Rose Green, a retired 1199er from Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, turned to AFRAM to help her celebrate. The caucus brought together local dignitaries and family members in Harlem to honor Alelia Murphy as she turned 114 years old. Green said of her mother, who moved to New York City from North Carolina at the height of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s, that she was known for her energetic jitterbug routines back then. “Her motto has always been, ‘You can sleep when you’re dead,’” said Green. Nefer Nekhet, one of Murphy’s many granddaughters, attended the ceremony at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building in Harlem. Nekhet said that even at 114 her grandmother was not finished sharing all she knew with the younger generations. “We tell her, ‘Grandma you’ve been here a very long time,’” says Nekhet. “And she says, ‘I’m here because you all don’t know how to live. I’m here to teach you all how to live and things to do.’” For more information about AFRAM and the Union’s caucus program, speak to your organizer or delegate or go to www.1199seiu.org/ caucuses.
P O L I T I C A L AC T I O N
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW $675B
It’s About $675 Billion. It’s more than chump change. Over$675 billion in federal funds, grants, and support to states, counties and communities is distributed. Where it goes is based on census data.
It’s About Fair Representation.
It’s About Counting US ALL.
Census data is used to draw electoral maps, affecting our representation in government.
The Constitution demands that every person LIVING in the U.S. is counted every 10 years.
We Care! We Count! It’s About Health Care.
It’s About Workers.
It’s About YOU!
The largest recipients of funding based on census data are Medicare, Medicaid and the WIC Program.
Employers uses census data to identify communities where they might build a factory or office building, or open new stores.
Lead by example by making sure you and your loved ones are counted. For more information talk to your delegate or organizer or go to www.census.gov.
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Kim Wessels Photos
A Season for
Splendor 1199ers bring spirit, sparkle, and union pride to New York City’s West Indian Day Parade. Once again, 1199SEIU members showed up and showed out for the annual West Indian Day Parade, held in Brooklyn on September 2. The celebration of West Indian pride and culture draws close two million people annually and turns Eastern Parkway from a stately thoroughfare to a broad boulevard of glitter, feathers and revelry. This year, 1199SEIU’s 300-member contingent was themed “The Four Seasons” and once again, preparations began months ago at the Union’s Brooklyn Mas Camp. Still, costume designers —undaunted by clouds and rain— were busily sewing right up until kickoff time, when the party began for real!
The Union’s Children’s Band captured first place in their competition on Sept. 1. 1199’s Adult Band won second place in their competition, despite competing against numerous professional bands that go from island to island competing in carnival festivities. The Union’s Social Cultural Committee fundraises all year long in preparation for September’s West Indian Day Parade.
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WORKERS FLEX AT THE BARGAINING TABLE
Members fend off givebacks and make benefit gains in new contracts.
After months of bargaining, Personal Care Attendants in Massachusetts settled a new contract this June. The agreement was ratified in a series of statewide votes conducted in July and celebrated by Gov. Charlie Baker at an Aug. 6 event at the Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston. The three-year agreement covers 50,000 workers and increases the starting wage for PCAs to $16.10 an hour by July 2021. Workers safeguarded training benefits, and maintained opportunities for CNA classes and certification, plus pre-paid tuition vouchers for college enrollment. Workers also secured expanded time off and the opportunity to create an employee assistance program. “I’m so excited for the new paid time off benefit,” said Maggie Connors, a PCA from Danvers, MA. “We need 20
“Since we won our contract we are definitely treated with more respect.” – Alice Affolter, bus driver at Georgetown University
to take time off to be with our own families and rest and relax just like everyone else. And now we can.” Gov. Baker praised PCAs for their invaluable work and their efforts in building a partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. “We continue to believe in the work that you do, and we especially believe in the work that you do on behalf of your patients,” said Baker. “We really appreciate you and the partnership and your work on behalf of so many people day in and day out.” The 1,000 researchers, clerical, library, technical, and other staff in the Columbia University Medical Center’s Support Staff Area Unit in Manhattan ended four months of negotiations on a high note in early August. Columbia workers settled a three-year agreement that includes annual 3%
wage increases and no deductibles for their Choice In-Network healthcare plan. Columbia repeatedly insisted that they couldn’t afford the Unionnegotiated Choice In-Network plan without imposing deductibles. Again, members built their strength and showed up in numbers to the bargaining sessions, demonstrating the importance of their healthcare plan. Many members said they simply could not afford to pay the $400 per person deductible that management put on the table. Management tried countering with a $200 deductible, but no go. Workers kept the pressure on, and management relented on the deductible. After negotiating throughout the summer and facing down proposed givebacks, 450 clerical and cafeteria members at Columbia University’s Morningside Campus in late August won a three-year agreement that includes 3% annual pay increases, retroactive raises, and maintenance of coverage under the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading and Child Care Funds, and an increase to $220 per week for cafeteria and dining staff furloughed over the summer months, regardless of years of service. Columbia management initially refused to back-date wage increases, but to demonstrate their power, members packed negotiations, forcing the wealthy institution to relent. Audrey Ross has worked as a bibliographic assistant at Columbia University’s Butler Library for 40 years. A delegate since 1997 and on the verge of retirement, Ross said this is the last contract she will negotiate and was pleased to see that the members are still prepared to come in numbers when it counts. “We’ve had rallies in the past, but to see all those members inside the building making all that noise at negotiations and taking the management lawyer to task was really refreshing. In the end, that is what made the difference,” said Ross.
university was like ‘we may have to rethink this,’” said negotiating committee member Alice Affolter, a bus driver at the institution for 10 years. “It really makes you feel amazing. Since we won our contract, we are definitely treated with more respect.” After winning their first 1199SEIU contract with a unanimous vote in early September, Gary Mastropolo said he and the other respiratory therapists (RTs) at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, NY felt “relief and joy.”
Workers at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. also held management’s feet to the fire, and in early August settled a three-year contract that includes yearly 3.5 % wage increases, good successorship language and, for the first time, parking fees that don’t cut into wage gains. The 375-member bargaining unit at Georgetown includes housekeepers, electricians, maintenance workers, floor techs, and bus drivers. In the past, workers at Georgetown have struggled
with university-imposed parking costs zeroing out contractual wage increases. And the rising costs of living in D.C. and its environs have exacerbated the problem. Workers were determined to settle a contract that provided fair wages and benefits. To do it they held sticker days, walkins, and rallies that drew support from the university’s students and community as well as 1199ers from institutions around Georgetown. “When Georgetown saw our support from the students, the
Personal Care Attendants in Massachusetts and workers at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. won strong contracts this summer.
“We remove the trach from a preemie who is trying to breathe on its own—and we calmly explain to the anxious parents what’s happening. We save the lives of scores of middleschoolers and teenagers who suffer from acute asthma. Each one of my co-workers has said they love their job and are dedicated to their young patients—but over the years, management made it more difficult for us to do our jobs, and morale was sinking. That’s when we started to organize. We became 1199 members in five months,” said Mastropolo. Management delayed contract negotiations for five years with administrative turnover and increasingly unreasonable proposals, including the addition of a shift and the elimination of set schedules. “Ironically, the more management didn’t listen to us and the more uninformed their proposals became, the stronger we became, both in numbers and spirit,” Mastropolo says. The new contract, ratified on Sept. 19, protects set scheduling for incumbent RTs. They will also receive annual raises and bonuses ranging from 2.5% to 3% and lump sum bonuses of up to 2.5%. The RTs also won commencement of experience steps six months earlier, yielding annual pay bumps of up to $500. Their coverage under the National Benefit and Training and Upgrading Funds begins Jan. 1, 2020.
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BREAD AND ROSES Helped
connection between bread and roses. The holiday also traces its origins to the struggle of striking workers. In 1894, tens of thousands of Pullman car workers walked off the job after the company fired workers who complained when the Pullman company lowered their wages. During the militant strike, led by socialist firebrand Eugene Debs, some 30 workers were murdered by Pullman goons. During the crisis, President Grover Cleveland sided with Pullman against the strikers. But fearful of losing labor support, Cleveland signed a bill into law declaring Labor Day a national holiday. Even before the national holiday, unions had set aside the first Monday in September to celebrate labor’s contributions and to press for further gains. New York City held its first Labor Day parade and picnic on Sept. 5, 1882.
Innovative cultural program enriched members’ lives. In 1979, 20 years after the Union’s historic hospital organizing campaign, the Union’s Bread and Roses program, piloted by its public relations genius Moe Foner, took center stage in New York’s mainstream media. 1199 was already highly regarded for having lifted thousands of hospital workers out of poverty and providing them with world-class benefits. Foner and the leadership of 1199 firmly believed that economic gains to meet the material needs of members should be supplemented by cultural programs to enrich members’ lives. The birth of the Bread and Roses cultural program further cemented the Union’s reputation as an arts pioneer as well as a social justice champion. “Art should be a right for everyone, not a privilege for a few,” 22
declared 1199 Pres. Leon Davis. Thus, the name Bread (wages) and Roses (culture), the rallying cry of 1912 striking textile workers—mostly immigrant women and girls—in Lawrence, MA. In its first six years, Bread and Roses raised about $2 million to fund its programs. But those funds could not have been obtained and the program come into existence without the participation and support of a committed, mobilized membership. Before launching the program, Foner spoke at delegates’ meetings to ask for volunteers. Some four hundred members stepped forward. A highlight of its first year’s activities was its 1979 Labor Day Street Fair, held on 42nd Street near the Union’s New York City headquarters. The Labor Day holiday was chosen to underscore the
“A RIGHT FOR EVERYONE, NOT A PRIVILEGE FOR A FEW.” – Leon Davis
By 1979, the New York City celebration had fallen out of favor. Bread and Roses sought to fill that void. The fair was broadly advertised in the media and with posters, buttons, fliers, and street banners. The publicity bore fruit, as some 75,000 New Yorkers flocked to the event. Fairgoers were treated to free labor films, a variety of live music, comedians, jugglers, magicians, dancers, and the well-known Bread and Puppet Theater. Dozens of 1199 members took turns working the booths. Members offered free blood pressure tests and nutrition counseling. Members of other unions also exhibited their skills such as sewing and cutting by clothing and textile unions, cake decorating by union bakers, subway and bus tours by transport workers, and various building skills by members of the Building and Construction Trades Council. A group of women of color who were campaigning for entry into building trades unions constructed the frame of a house on the street while
“A GOOD UNION DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DULL.”
– Moe Foner, founder, Bread and Roses
This illustration by renowned graphic artist, the late Paul Davis, celebrating labor and the work of Bread and Roses. Davis was just one of many significant artists who worked with the visionary cultural program.
speaking to fairgoers about their campaign. During 1979 alone, Bread and Roses produced a Harry Belafonte concert at Lincoln Center, the artist’s first appearance in New York City in 18 years; a UNICEF “Year of the Child” exhibit; a photo exhibit of textile workers and another about working Americans; a Latin Cultural Festival; Theater in the Hospitals; Theater 1199 starring Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; “I Just Wanted Someone to Know,” a one-act musical about working women; a Bread and Roses poster; and a series of interviews on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Patient Care: The Health Care Employee’s Responsibility” was a
Bread and Roses conference that drew a wide and appreciative audience of members, management, and patient advocates. A highlight of the event was the testimony of a paraplegic Thomas Clancy. He said: “The person who touches you at the right time, holds your hand, or says something insignificant but magical... These images are implanted in your mind forever.” Such conferences, lectures, and cultural events strengthened members’ involvement as well as their identification and commitment to the Union. The arts and education programs also distinguished 1199 as a cultural leader in the city. Artists were eager to associate themselves
with an organization that modeled social and economic justice. The 1199 Gallery, the only art gallery in a union headquarters, soon gained go-to status. Photo and art exhibits of working Americans frequently lined the walls. So popular was the gallery that it remained open on weekends, often staffed by 1199 retirees. A Bread and Roses poster by leading graphic artist Paul Davis was circulated widely in union halls and public venues and printed in national publications. The success of Theater 1199 and Theater in the Hospitals inspired what would become one of Bread and Roses’ greatest achievements, “Take Care,” a traveling musical production whose sketches and songs were derived from material collected in workshops with hospital workers. Workers and critics praised the work for its honest portrayal of hospital staff, particularly service workers who seldom were depicted in popular culture. The production toured 45 hospitals in New York alone. It also made an 11-state tour in which it was seen by more than 35,000 hospital workers. Bread and Roses also had smashing success with its “Images of Labor” poster series, in which famous labor quotes were paired with works by prominent artists. In four years, “Images of Labor” was seen by more than half a million people, making it the most successful exhibit of art with a labor theme in our nation’s history. The art was later assembled into a book published by Pilgrim Press. The book’s preface was written by Joan Mondale, wife of former Vicepresident Walter Mondale. The poster series continued with “Women of Hope.” Some 85,000 sets were sold. Today, some of the posters still hang on the walls of unions and other organizations. The Bread and Roses program continues today. Its success through the years bear out Foner’s assertion, “A good union doesn’t have to be dull.”
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A Season for Splendor At this yearâ€™s West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn, 1199ers once again added enchantment and sparkle to union pride. See story on page 18.
Kim Wessels Photo
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1199 Magazine September / October 2019 Standing Up For Mother Earth