A JOURNAL OF 1199SEIU January/February 2012
SEIU Convention Delegate Election Information. See page 2.
BUILDING ON OUR DIVERSITY
Contents 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 11 12 14 15
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES We’re ready for 2012. PRESIDENT’S COLUMN Building on our 2011 victories. VOTING IS A HUMAN RIGHT Tens of thousands march against attacks on voting rights. CONTRACT VICTORIES Against trend of reductions and cuts, 1199ers continue to make gains. ORGANIZING VICTORIES More than 10,000 workers joined 1199SEIU in 2011. THE WORK WE DO Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital and Women’s & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo workers use art to heal. OUR DELEGATE LEADERS Crouse Hospital delegate Veronica Clanton isn’t afraid to speak up. PURPLE GOLD Program for young members prepares tomorrow’s leaders. AN INTERVIEW WITH HARRY BELAFONTE The renowned artist-activist now heads Bread And Roses. ENLIGHTENED ENTERTAINMENT Ways to spend your spare time that aren’t the usual fare. AROUND THE UNION A retrospective of 1199SEIU’s publication and Occupy Brookdale.
p.12 Our Life And Times, January/February 2012, Vol 30, No 1 Published by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East 310 West 43rd St. New York, NY 10036 Telephone (212) 582-1890 www.1199seiu.org
E DITOR : J.J. Johnson STAFF WRITE R : Patricia Kenney DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY:
Jim Tynan PHOTOG RAPH E R : Belinda Gallegos ART DI RECTION & DES IG N :
Maiarelli Studio PRES I DE NT :
COVE R I LLUSTRATION :
S EC RETARY TREASURE R :
Maria Castaneda EXEC UTIVE VIC E PRES I DE NTS :
Norma Amsterdam Yvonne Armstrong Lisa Brown Angela Doyle Aida Garcia George Kennedy Steve Kramer Patrick Lindsay Joyce Neil John Reid Bruce Richard Mike Rifkin Monica Russo Neva Shillingford Milly Silva Veronica Turner Laurie Vallone Estela Vazquez
Our Life And Times is published 6 times a year by 1199SEIU, 310 West 43rd St., New York, NY 10036. Subscriptions $15 per year. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. ISSN 1080-3089. USPS 000-392. Postmaster: Send address changes to Our Life And Times, 310 West 43rd St., New York, NY 10036.
www.1199seiu.org NO MAIL BALLOT ELECTION — ALL NOMINEES ARE UNCONTESTED As stated in the Election Notice, unopposed eligible nominees for Delegates to the SEIU’s 2012 Convention shall be deemed elected by acclamation, meaning no balloting will take place for these positions. The Election Board has determined that all nominees are unopposed. Therefore, all eligible nominees are deemed elected by acclamation and no ballots will be mailed. A list of delegates shall be published in an upcoming issue of Our Life and Times.
A retrospective of 1199SEIU’s publication. Page 15
NO HAY ELECCIÓN POR CORREO — NO HAY CANDIDATOS DISPUTADOS Como declarado en la Noticia de Elección, los candidatos para delegados al Convención Internacional de 2012 del SEIU elegibles que han sido nominados sin opositor serán considerados como elegidos por aclamación, es decir sin voto para estos puestos. La Junta de Elecciones ha determinada que todos los nominados son nominados sin opositor. Por lo tanto, todos los nominados eligible son considerados como elejido por aclamación y no voto por correo estarán enviados. Una Lista de los Delegados será publicada en un próximo número de Our Life and Times.
Hundreds of 1199ers were among the 35,000 who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City on Nov. 17, the Occupy movement’s National Day of Action.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
We’re sowing the seeds of victory.
Just one year ago, the Tea Partiers and extreme Republicans were busy breaking out the champagne. After extreme Republicans swept to victory in the November 2010 elections, Tea Partiers dominated the mainstream media with boasts about how they would turn back the clock on labor and the progressive movement. But what a difference a year makes. The land has shifted, in no small part, thanks to the Occupy movement. Whereas one year ago the dominant theme in Washington was reducing the budget deficit (at the expense of working and poor people), today the discourse is about the inequality faced by the 99 percent
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because of the dominance and greed of the one percent. And through it all, 1199SEIU has stayed the course. Our 2011 organizing and political activity strengthened our Union and brought us historic victories. This issue of Our Life And Times describes some of the triumphs. From its inception, 1199 has never divorced building the Union from improving our members’ lives and with that, their families and communities. Another article of faith for us is that a stronger 1199SEIU means a stronger force in our nation for social and economic justice. Visionary leaders and a united, committed membership
have been essential to our successes. So, too, has been our commitment to embrace our diversity not as a tool for division, but as a source of strength. Equality is our watchword. Today, our members represent virtually every healthcare job classification. They live and work throughout the Eastern seaboard. They range in age from teens to seniors. They hail from scores of nations and speak dozens of languages. They belong to many religious faiths and are of different sexual orientations. Several years ago, 1199ers in our northern-most state, Massachusetts, won the biggest organizing victory in the history of the state when they brought more than 20,000 patient care assistants into the 1199SEIU family. This year, 1199ers in our southern-most state, Florida, won the biggest organizing victory and contract ratification vote in that state since the Great Depression. (See page 6.) Union building in Florida is especially important given the state’s importance in the presidential election and voter suppression efforts by conservative Republicans in the state. This magazine issue also highlights two important developments that will become vital tools in our efforts to continue to
turn the 2010 headwinds into the tailwinds that will help push us to victory. First, Purple Gold represents 1199SEIU’s most serious commitment to developing young members for greater involvement and leadership in our Union. (See page 11.) The 1199SEIU Executive Council, the Union’s highest body, for example, has set aside positions on the executive council and within all official Union delegations for young members. Second is the reactivation of the 1199SEIU Bread And Roses project, the foremost labor movement cultural program in the nation. It is headed by the one of the greatest progressive artistactivists in our nation’s history, Harry Belafonte. (See page 12.) Belafonte decided to accept the leadership of Bread And Roses because he firmly believes that art in all its forms can be used as a major vehicle for progressive change. And he also believes that 1199ers in their great diversity should not only consume but should also produce the art that will inspire and forge that change. He believes 1199ers should tell their stories and sing their songs, and that those are the stories and songs of struggle, determination and victory.
THE PRESIDENT’S COLUMN George Gresham
Let’s Build on 2011 Victories The 99 Percent can’t afford to rest. In December, Time Magazine named “The Protester” as its 2011 Person of the Year. This was in recognition of the worldwide explosion of movements of ordinary people from Tunisia and Egypt, to Spain and Greece, to Madison, Wisconsin, and New York City. We’ll come back to this point in a moment. But it is worth noting that we 1199ers have been “protesters” for decades. And not just protesters— but also advocates for and defenders of our patients, our families, our communities, our country. That is what we do: We struggle and fight for a better life for our members and for working people as a whole. In 2011, in Florida, for example, we won first contracts for over 10,000 workers in 19 newly-organized HCA hospitals. And we helped secure the first safe-staffing legislation in that “right-to-work” state. We secured hundreds of contracts for over 65,000 members in an increasingly hostile economic and political environment. Our sisters and brothers in upstate New York helped lead the way. Our Heart of Baltimore campaign is paving the way for a better life for many thousands of unorganized healthcare workers. Similarly, 1199SEIU nursing home workers in New Jersey have stepped it up, making clear that they won’t rest until they have fair contracts with a strong voice on the job. In Massachusetts, 1199SEIU has become the biggest union in the state — and the most politically effective. In New York, against all odds and poor management, we helped to keep the doors open at essential institutions like Brookdale Medical Center in Brooklyn, Peninsula Hospital in Queens and Waterfront nursing home in Buffalo. And it’s not only our own members that we fight for. We played no small part in helping our partners in SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania secure a contract with a resistant employer at Pocono Medical Center. We marched to the UN to protest voter suppression laws. We helped win Marriage Equality in the state of New York. So, congratulate yourselves. You are a “Person of the Year”, as designated by Time Magazine. Perhaps only once in a generation does a progressive movement capture the public imagination and energize large numbers of people to go into the streets and take charge of their own future. This is such a moment and Occupy is the movement. Our Union recognized this almost immediately and has been an active supporter and participant ever since. In just a few months, it has changed the national political conversation. For the first time in decades, because of the Occupy movement, attention is now being paid to our real problems — unemployment, income inequality, bail-outs (without penalties) for the banks and big corporations but not for working people, the threat to democracy represented by big money’s control over the political process, etc. This change has already resulted in important political victories for workers: In Ohio and New Hampshire, attempts by Republican governors to ban collective bargaining for public workers have been defeated. The big banks were forced to drop their plan to charge consumers $5 for each debit card transaction. In Congress, the secret so-called “Super Committee” set up to make drastic cuts in Social Security, Medicare and other social programs resulted in failure. Serious attention is finally being paid to the issues of home-owners debt and student debt by the federal government. In New York, it now seems likely that taxes will be raised on the wealthy and lowered for the middle class. The Occupy movement has been credited in large part with creating the atmosphere to make these victories possible. And we in 1199SEIU are proud to have played our part in these developments. 2011 of course “sets the table” for this year, which promises to intensify the struggles of working people to defend their families and their communities and to demand economic and social justice. Get prepared, sisters and brothers. We are going to need each other.
Letters UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE d like to discuss health care for the 99%. That means universal health care. Universal health care means everyone is covered; no co-pays; no deductibles; and no insurance companies as middlemen. Although Pres. Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act leaves the insurance companies in control, the right wing continues to attack it. Maybe that’s because the Act helped to open the door for states to enact a more comprehensive system. Indeed, hope for far-reaching reform lies at the state level. Vermont recently signed a universal healthcare bill into law, while the California legislature passed a similar bill twice. The governor of Montana wants to create a Canadian-style system in his state, and about twenty other states have active universal healthcare bills. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried has introduced a Universal Health Care Bill for New York State (A7860/S5425). It already has 64 co-sponsors in the Assembly. Some 1199ers have asked, “Why should I care? I have the Benefit Fund.” They should think again. Many healthcare institutions have stopped or have threatened to stop funding health care. Institutions in the League of Voluntary Hospitals currently pay over 25% of payroll for health benefits. Under the Gottfried proposed plan, they would pay about 10%. And why does the cost of health care keep going up and up? It’s the insurance companies. They make millions of dollars in profits. Last year an executive at Aetna made $24 million. That’s about $2,000 an hour. Support Sen. Gottfried’s Universal Health Care Bill for New York State. Get involved. The only way to win is by serious organizing. They did it in California and Vermont. We can do it here too. For more information log on to: www.hcn-nyc.org or www.healthcarenow.org.
NINA HOWES Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan
OCCUPATION IS UNSTOPPABLE nother world is possible. We are unstoppable. I am an 1199 rank-and-filer who was involved in much of the day-today activity with Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park. My wife, an RN, helped organize the occupiers’ medical supplies and
treated people there. My son-in-law, an Iraq war vet, combat medic and an Iraq Veteran Against The War member, also spent time at OWS as did my daughter and granddaughter. I spent a couple of nights and many evenings there. We were all heartened to see 1199SEIU members and staff there from time to time. We were very moved when 1199SEIU mobilized for the Nov. 17 rally at Foley Square and helped lead the march over the Brooklyn Bridge. I was proud to see 1199ers, led by Pres. George Gresham, get arrested for their acts of civil disobedience At another crucial juncture, 1199SEIU Vice Pres. Steve Kramer was there with others when Zuccotti Park was reoccupied Nov. 15. Thanks 1199SEIU. Let’s keep this up. MIKE HAIRE Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island
HOPE FOR PURPLE GOLD m happy to see that the Purple Gold program for young members of our Union is making headway. The future of young members like me depends on the Union giving attention to our problems and concerns. So many of us would be lost without organizations like 1199SEIU helping to point us in the right direction. Like my older co-workers, I want a secure position with a chance to learn and improve myself in my career. I want a home and a family. I also want to help other young people on the job and in our communities. I’m convinced that the involvement of our Union can help keep young folks off the streets and out of the jails. We young members are also depending on the help of older members who have faced all the challenges that are now in front of us. The mentoring by older members can help keep us on track. And I don’t mind tough love if it helps me reach my goals. I think young members have a big role to play in the present so that we all have a better future.
CHUKWUNYERE EZE Lynn Community Health Center Lynn, Mass.
Let’s Hear From You Our Life And Times welcomes your letters. Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail them to JJ Johnson, 1199SEIU OLAT, 330 West 42nd St., 7th floor, New York, NY 10036. Please include your telephone number and place of work. Letters may be edited for brevity and clarity.
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Voting Is a Human Right 1199ers march to save voting rights. he 2012 election fight is well underway. It is being fought in statehouses and communities across the nation. It reached a climax on Dec. 10 with some 25,000 people participating in the “Stand for Freedom” march and rally in Manhattan against right-wing attacks on the right to vote. The action, initiated by 1199SEIU and the NAACP, brought together a broad spectrum of the progressive community to condemn bills that have been introduced in some 38 states that limit access to the ballot. The anti-democratic measures include stiffer voter ID requirements, reducing the number of days for early voting, obstacles to registering and disenfranchising persons with felony convictions even after they have served their time. The measures would disproportionately affect the poor, people of color, seniors and students — those who traditionally cast their votes for Democratic Party candidates. In a report released just days before the march, the NAACP charged that the new laws amount to a coordinated and comprehensive assault on minorities’ voting rights at a time when their numbers in the population and at the ballot box have increased. The report confirmed the findings of an earlier well-documented 2011 report, “Voting Law Changes in 2012,” by NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice. Speakers at the Dec. 10 rally noted that although the anti-voting measures have been beaten back in at least two dozen states, it doesn’t mean that the suppression attempts won’t continue. “That means we must continue to march and raise our voices,” declared 1199SEIU Pres. George Gresham at the rally. “Too many good people have died to give us the right to vote.” The Dec. 10 march began at the offices of right-wing billionaires Charles and David Koch, who are among the main funders of the Tea Party and extremist groups behind voter suppression efforts. 1199SEIU retirees, as usual, were well represented. “We know that although there are no laws pending here, if we don’t stop this disenfranchisement movement, it could happen here,” warned Heline Royo, a St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital retiree. “I think there are some folks that would stoop to anything to defeat Pres. Obama,” said David Lewis, a patient transporter from United Medical Center in Southeast Washington, D.C. Lewis came to the action on one of the seven 1199SEIU buses from the Baltimore area.
articipants at the rally came from as far as sections of the Deep South. Some of the march’s veterans spoke of the bitter battle to win passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Several speakers noted that the battleground state of Florida could once again determine our next president. A law passed in Florida reduces its early voting period from 14 to 8 days, including the last Sunday, before Election Day. In 2008,
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54 percent of African American voters in the state cast their ballots early, and African Americans represented 32 percent of the entire statewide turnout on the last Sunday before the election. any churchgoers, after fulfilling their spiritual duties on Sundays discharge their civic duties by voting in a practice they call “Get Your Souls to the Polls.” “The governor is trying to destroy early voting in our state,” says Monique Fucien, a CNA and 1199SEIU delegate at Treasure Isle NH in Miami. “I don’t believe the Republicans want anyone in office who cares about healthcare funding and healthcare workers. “I’m also opposed to how they are trying to stop ex-felons from voting here. Once people have served their time and paid their debt they should have all the rights returned to them.” 1199ers in other communities also took part in Dec. 10 protests. In Buffalo, NY, hundreds of faith, labor, and community members rallied in Niagara Square before marching to locations that they say symbolize the ongoing assault on workers in the state and nationwide. The Obama administration took note of the voting rights protests. Just days after the Dec. 10 march, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his department would fully enforce voting rights protections in this year’s elections.
“WE ARE WITNESSING THE MOST SYSTEMATIC ATTACK ON THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN 100 YEARS.” – Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP
More than 25,000 marched and rallied in New York City on Dec. 10 to protect voting rights.
1199ers affected, but not defeated, by national trend.
CONTRACT VICTORIES IN HARD TIMES The victory is especially significant because it comes in a Southern “right-to-work” (or anti-union) state.
During one of the toughest bargaining environments in the Union’s long history, 1199SEIU last year was able to settle contracts for some 77 percent of members with expiring or first-time contracts. That means more than 65,000 members won new contracts. The overwhelming majority of the contracts called for wage increases and the retention of health and other benefits. That represents a stark contrast to the plight of millions of workers who in recent years have had to settle contracts with wage and benefit reductions. The climax of 2011, deemed by the Union as “the year of the contract,” was the Dec. 6 victory at 19 Hospital Corporation of America-affiliated hospitals in Florida. Those agreements will impact 10,000 workers. The contract victory came less than a year after 1199SEIU organized the HCA workers, completing the largest healthcare organizing drive in the nation’s South. HCA is the largest operator of healthcare institutions in the world. “We made history in Florida last night and it’s something that I can give to my grandchildren,” said Pat Diaz the day after the contract vote count. Diaz is an RN at University Hospital in Broward County. The HCA members won topof-the-line patient care delivery standards including: • A process to address staffing
levels and patient overload so patients can receive more time with their caregivers; • A seat at the table with management so front-line health care workers can offer solutions to patient care and work place issues; • A new process that will give patients peace of mind knowing their nurses have received adequate orientation when they are assigned to work on nursing units other than their regularly assigned nursing unit, and • Improvements to scheduling to safeguard against any decrease of quality in patient care due to caregiver shift changes. The victory is especially significant because it comes in a Southern “right-to-work” (or anti-union) state. “This is a new beginning not only for the healthcare workers who struggled so hard for these important changes, but for all working people,” said Paul Griffin, maintenance technician at the Medical Center of Trinity in New Port Richey. In the Maryland-D.C. region, 1199ers were able to settle more than 90 percent of their outstanding contracts. In addition to wage increases, many of the contracts included substantial increases in funding for the region’s Training Fund. Members in Massachusetts settled 55 contracts. In those contracts, they held the line against takeaways and maintained or advanced the Training and Upgrading Fund, pensions and health insurance. They also expanded labor-management work to improve the quality of care and services for residents, consumers and patients. PCAs in Massachusetts, who previously had no access to formal training, won $1 million in training benefits to be administered through the Workers from Aventura Hospital in North Miami Beach cast their ballots last November to ratify their first contract.
1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund. 1199ers were able to win contract victories even in New Jersey with a smaller concentration of members and an extremely hostile governor. For example, at year’s end members at Emerson Health Care Center in Emerson won a contract that brought them increases in wages, and the health and pension funds, and stronger antidiscrimination language. Upstate New York 1199ers also scored important contract wins. Some 3,800 members employed at six institutions in Western New York’s Kaleida network won a two-year contract that includes wage increases, maintenance of health benefits and an increase in employer contributions to the Training Fund. Similar contracts were won by members at Crouse Hospital and other institutions in the Syracuse area. “Considering that there is so much union bashing and union busting, we did reasonably well,” says Lawrence Brooks, a cook at Syracuse’s Jewish Home at Menorah Park. “We maintained our health plan and our pension and got a 5.5 percent wage increase over the three years of the contract. Times are tough, but we were united and we stood firm and refused to bend.”
1199ers were able to win contract victories even in New Jersey with a smaller concentration of members and an extremely hostile governor.
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Left: Workers at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, FL celebrate their Nov. 29 vote in favor of joining 1199SEIU. Above: Workers from Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, MA after voting yes on Dec. 6 for membership in 1199SEIU.
“All We Want Is A Little Fairness” More than 10,000 workers joined 1199SEIU in 2011. s the broader labor movement contracts, 1199SEIU this year continued to grow with organizing victories in every region. More than 10,000 healthcare workers — from technical workers in Upstate New York to Registered Nurses in Florida — voted in 40 elections for membership in 1199SEIU. Major victories were won in Florida, New York City and Massachusetts. And in New Jersey, workers who have been fighting with management since voting for 1199SEIU in 2010, won a critical National Labor Relations Board decision. In Florida, in the largest organizing drive in the history of the South, workers at 19 institutions affiliated with the Hospital Corporation of American (HCA) and five institutions affiliated with the Tenent Healthcare System overwhelmingly voted for membership in 1199SEIU. Scores of 1199SEIU staff and members volunteered to help the organizing effort. This year culminated in a historic first contract negotiated in early December covering 16 newly-organized HCA institutions and was bargained by a 100-member negotiating committee. “It makes sense to unionize because it brings more balance and fairness to everyone,” said Patrick Harriott, a transporter at Tenent’s Florida Medical Center, where workers voted in May for representation by 1199SEIU by a five-to-one margin. Steve Sikora, a respiratory therapist at the HCA-affiliated Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, said unionizing will help workers get back to the basics. “Those of us in health care got started because we wanted to help people,” says Sikora. “But when we’re pushed farther and farther from that goal, we look to unions to help us provide dignified care for our patients and treatment for our co-workers.” Workers at Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, MA, went 2-and-0 at the end of last year when on Nov. 29 service and support
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workers — including housekeepers, secretaries and dietary workers — voted overwhelmingly for representation by 1199SEIU. That victory was quickly followed up on Dec. 6 when the hospital’s 60-member technical worker unit — which includes respiratory therapists, pharmacy technicians and radiological technologists — voted resoundingly in favor of representation by 1199SEIU. “At Merrimack Valley Hospital we are a family and uniting in 1199SEIU just strengthens our family bond,” says admitting clerk Patricia Dubois. “Job security will ensure that we retain quality employees and improve the care we provide. I’m glad that we can work together now and make Merrimack Valley the best it can be.” errimack Valley is part of Steward Healthcare — formerly Caritas Christi Health Care — which in 2009 became Massachusetts’ first major health system to negotiate with 1199SEIU a groundbreaking agreement for free and fair union elections. “We know that when healthcare workers have a voice in the quality of care they provide to their patients, the quality improves,” says Merrimack X-ray/CT technologist Lisa Houle. “I’m excited to be part of 1199 because I know that now our voices will be heard.” At St. Mary’s Hospital in Bayside, NY in September, 90% of the institution’s 98 registered nurses voted for representation by 1199SEIU. Their vote followed up an August vote by the hospital’s 222 LPNs, CNAs and dietary and housekeeping workers who voted by a wide margin to join 1199. Job security was among the top issues cited by nurses for voting yes to 1199SEIU. Right up to the vote, St. Mary’s management ran a determined anti-union campaign to keep the nurses out of 1199, but RNs like Maureen Drew, who has been at the institution for 22 years, were unswayed by the tactics. “A union is not a bad thing in a hospital,”
she said. “I am looking for job security and a chance to advocate for my patients. My voice was not heard, and now with the Union I’ll have the backing of all my brothers and sisters.” n New Jersey, workers from Somerset Nursing Home in Bound Brook continued to fight for their September 2010 organizing victory. Somerset, which is part of the Care One chain of homes, refused to accept the election and instead fired nine workers, disciplined several others by cutting their hours or not scheduling them at all and even filed charges against the workers and the Union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In November the NLRB instead ordered Somerset to reinstate the fired workers and issued a complaint against them for wrongful terminations, unlawful disciplines and interrogations of workers in a union campaign. In October, Care One workers and supporters from the Occupy movement demonstrated against the company in actions at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park and with a street theater performance mocking the company’s owners, Daniel and Moshael Straus. The Strauses are also locked in a bitter contract dispute with workers represented by 1199 New England at several Connecticut nursing homes. That battle helped launch a multi-state campaign against Care One’s tactics; Connecticut workers have joined their New Jersey brothers and sisters at their actions in shows of solidarity and have vowed to keep up the fight and not let the bosses win. “Last February I was fired after 11 years on the job,” says Somerset LPN Lillian Jacques. “We have been through a lot this year. And what they are doing is just greed and injustice. All we want is a little fairness.” For more information about the Care One campaign, you can log on to www.Careonewatch.org.
WORK WE DO
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THE WORK WE DO:
Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital and Women’s & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo
Art Therapist Lisa Horlein and Music Therapist Libby McDougall of Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital and Child Life Specialist Deborah King of Women’s & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo care for patients with the comforting and restorative power of creativity. 1. At Women’s & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Child Life Specialist Deborah King helps her patient Emmanuel, 8, make a gingerbread man. “We help kids cope with hospital stays,” she says. “And with arts and crafts they get a real boost in their self esteem. They make things for the doctors and nurses and gifts at holiday time. It also makes the kids happy to do things for other people.” 2. “I’ve always loved kids and I’ve always loved art,” says Deborah King, with patient Nicholas, 12. “And in this job everything just came together.” 3. Lisa Horlein has been an art therapist at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital for 10 years. “My work is about educating people about mental illness and teaching creative techniques to cope with life stresses and life problems in a constructive way,” says Horlein, shown working on a drawing with Bonnie Ford. “Art can be a container for ugly emotions, but it can also be a container for wonderful emotions, too.” 4. Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital Music Therapist Libby McDougall conducts a music group. “Music can help people become realityoriented,” says McDougall, who has been at Niagara Falls since 2005. “It’s a here-and-now experience, which is particularly helpful for people who are schizophrenic. It can be very healing because so much of music is about relationships.” 5. Lisa Horlein, at far left, working on a collage with John Martin Nemet, encourages people she works with to try new mediums to express themselves. Nancy Jean Pecuil presents her new clay sculpture.
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The Museum of Life PEOPLE
Visiting Nurse Service escort Wayne Gathers draws comics with a conscience. “Art is all around us,” says Wayne Gathers, an escort with the Visiting Nurse Service in New York City. “Sometimes I’ll see something that someone does or hear something they say, and I make a story out of it. My imagination never stops.” Gathers is a visual artist and writer whose comic book, “The Museum of Life,” was released earlier this year by Xlibris Publishers. The book contains a series of pencil drawings themed around the life experiences and struggles of everyday people. In his work, Gathers examines the effects of gun violence on youth, nostalgia for simpler times and the challenges facing working parents. “This book is about all the things that I’ve experienced in the life of the common man,” he says. “For instance, the drawing “Sibling Rivalry” is something we all understand. It’s something a lot of us grew up with.”
VNS escort Wayne Gathers tells the stories of everyday people in his original comic book “The Museum of Life.”
OUR DELEGATE LEADERS
Gathers says his work is evolving. He’s working on a comic strip based on his experiences growing up in New York City. He’s also taking classes to improve his skills as well as refine his artistic vision. “I originally wanted to do political drawings, but I’m not so into what’s going on in the Senate and Congress and when I looked at my drawings, I saw that there was social commentary in them. I realized that the social commentary is actually very political,” he says. Gathers doesn’t just want his work to simply be lectures about social ills. “It’s so great when somebody says ‘Wow, I really understand what the artist is trying to say there.’ It creates a platform for discussion. Hopefully people can express themselves freely,” he says. For more information or to get your copy of “The Museum of Life,” log on to www.Xlibris.com. You can also order it on BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com.
Crouse Delegate Doesn’t Mind Using Her Voice Veronica Clanton has worked in the insurance verification office of Syracuse’s Crouse Hospital for 17 years. She went to work at the hospital after deciding it was time to leave her job as a bank teller. “I was robbed at gunpoint while the managers of the bank were all in a meeting,” she says. “Veronica has been a solid leader and committed organizer since 2001 when Crouse’s business office clerical workers first joined our Union,” says area VP Ruth Heller. And it was in 2001 when Clanton
became a delegate because she wanted to be what she calls “an agent of change.” “I have a voice and I don’t mind using it,” she says. She used her voice as a negotiating-team member during Crouse’s long contract negotiations with management from August through October last year. She sees the contract as more than words on paper. “The contract is a set of rules that work for everyone. It’s also a form of protection for us,” she notes. “Without our contract, the work day would be like work in a sweatshop
with no light at the end of the tunnel. We’d be at the bosses’ mercy for eight hours.” One of her responsibilities as a delegate, she says, is to mobilize her members to stand by the contract and ensure that management respects its provisions. She has the help of her sister, Royce Pinkard, who also is a Crouse Union delegate. Clanton has won the admiration and respect of her co-workers. Says Heller, “I’ve always loved working with her, and so do the members at Crouse Hospital.”
“Without our contract, the work day would be like work in a sweatshop with no light at the end of the tunnel. We’d be at the bosses’ mercy for eight hours.” — Veronica Clanton
Michael Okoniewski Photo
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LINA DORADO PHOTO
Antonio Melendez (at left), a porter at Bainbridge NH in the Bronx, and Rebecca Tetzaguic (below), an office assistant at Boston Medical Center, are among the young activists participating in the Union’s Purple Gold program.
Purple Gold Readies Tomorrow’s Leaders Program promotes activism and leadership among members18 to 35.
Matt Stone Photo
embers of 1199SEIU’s young generation are coming together under the banner of a new program named Purple Gold and working to promote activism, leadership and participation among members aged 18 to 35. Purple Gold was kicked off in September in New York City and is up and running in Rochester and Baltimore. At press time there were January kickoff meetings planned for Boston and Springfield, MA. The program is a redevelopment of 1199SEIU’s Young Worker Education Program, which was active from 2006 until 2009. Purple Gold is made up of rank-andfilers and staffers interested in building youth participation in 1199SEIU and the labor and social justice movements. In November, the Union officially endorsed the program and the Executive Council approved two representative seats for Purple Gold members under 30. “A union brings people together and young people need to continue the tradition of bringing people together,” says Kachelle Palmer, 26, a recreational leader at East Haven Nursing Home in the Bronx, NY. “One of our challenges is communication. We may say things differently from the older generation and because of that the older generation may feel that we don’t have the capacity to lead, but we need them. Whenever you’re trying to accomplish anything, you need backup. And we can learn from each other.” Even though unionized workers between 18 and 29 buck the trend of declining wages and worsening benefits faced by their non-union counterparts, today’s young generation is saddled with mounting debt, rising housing costs and increasingly expensive health care. Studies indicate that they may be the first generation not to surpass their parents’ standard of living. And it’s no secret that while all this is happening, the labor movement has been slow to engage young people. Members of Purple
January/February • Our Life And Times
Gold want to change that, so they’re not only encouraging participation by young members, they’re working to develop partnerships and bridge communication gaps through a mentorship program open to members over the age of 35. “We feel like we’re right in the middle, so we can talk to our older members or we can get our younger members active because we know the culture and what they like to do,” says Purple Gold member Antonio Melendez, a porter at Bainbridge NH in the Bronx. Melendez spoke to Our Life And Times on his 31st birthday. “We can show them from our experience what the Union is and why we need to fight to keep what we have.” In order to reach out to the Union’s young members, Purple Gold has made active efforts to meet with them at their institutions by holding information sessions during every shift and hosting events like game and open mic nights that are open to all members. Purple Gold also has its own delegation at Union events. ebecca Tetzaguic, 29, is a clinical office assistant at Boston Medical Center. Tetzaguic was an active participant in the Young Workers Program and is working on building Purple Gold in the Massachusetts Region. “The Union has been really supportive. We’ve been having monthly meetings and holding workshops. It’s so empowering being with other people who are young,” says Tetzaguic. “Through the Young Workers Program we were able to do a lot of things. We mobilized members to get involved with politics and in their communities. We held cookouts for members to get together. We helped people see things as a whole,” she says. “Now this program will help us make our mark.” You can follow Purple Gold on Facebook at http://facebook.com/1199purplegold or email email@example.com for more information.
“The Union has been really supportive. We’ve been having monthly meetings and holding workshops. It’s so empowering being with other people who are young,” — Rebecca Tetzaguic
Harry Belafonte at his Manhattan apartment.
HARRY BELAFONTE JOINS 1199SEIU FAMILY Renowned artist-activist heads Bread And Roses.
arry Belafonte has joined the 1199SEIU family. The legendary artist-activist last summer assumed leadership of 1199SEIU’s cultural arm, Bread And Roses (B&R). Our Life And Times spoke with Belafonte in December at the Manhattan apartment he shares with his wife, Pamela Frank Belafonte. At 84, Mr. B, as he is respectfully referred to by 1199ers and his small B&R team, does not skip a beat. Though his gait has slowed, he maintains his charm and matinee-idol looks and keen intellect. “When George (1199SEIU Pres. Gresham) told me that I could have a home at 1199, I thought that Bread And Roses would be a good place for me to nourish my spirit, heart and mind, and to begin to help put culture at the forefront of the union movement,” Belafonte said. “I also said to myself, ‘I could do some mischief there.’” B&R had been without a director since the 2009 departure of Esther Cohen, the successor to B&R founder Moe Foner. After assuming B&R leadership, Belafonte and his team held meetings and discussions with 1199SEIU staff and members to help clarify what 1199ers want to see in a cultural program, and how best to integrate popular culture into the overall strategy of the Union. “My first objective was to reintroduce myself to the Union to let 1199ers, especially the rank-and-file, know who I am,” he explained. “First and foremost, I want to engage myself fully in perfecting what Bread And Roses did well in the past.” Belafonte was among the artists and staff that helped get B&R off the ground in 1979 with a soldout Lincoln Center concert. (See photo and headline on facing page from April 1979 1199 News.)
That concert is one item in his stellar artistic resume. His 1956 album, “Calypso,” remained on the best-selling charts for 99 weeks, becoming the world’s first million-selling LP. He subsequently won the highest awards in theater, the Tony, and television, the Emmy. As both an actor and producer, he knocked down walls of segregation in Hollywood and TV. Later, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. But no matter how high he rose, he never forgot the grinding poverty into which he was born and his mother’s admonition “to stand up to oppression wherever you see it.” His body of work reflected the dignity of one who refused to bow, shuffle or permit himself or his work to be neutered. Belafonte has brought that dignity to a lifetime of activism, participating in, and often leading, countless post-World War II progressive movements. That work has teamed him with luminaries such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Robeson, A. Philip Randolph, John and Robert Kennedy, Jackie Robinson and Nelson Mandela. He was a close confidante of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an indispensable supporter of the Student NonViolent Coordinating Committee and a key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. In 1987, he was appointed a UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund) goodwill ambassador. “Sing Your Song,” the 2011 HBO-produced Belafonte film biography, captures Belafonte’s life and accomplishments. “I thought, why not show my film so that the members would then say, if this is what he has done historically, we have a sense of what he’ll be doing here,” he said. “And
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they would be correct, although, because we’re in a different time, what we produce today would look somewhat different.” “This cultural journey we’re beginning is not about Harry Belafonte,” he cautioned. “It’s not about celebrity. It’s about the members. “But we also have a much greater mission — to reach into the cultural life of America and attract it to the labor movement. The arts and labor was, once upon a time, a marriage made in heaven that emerged during the Great Depression with artists like Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Paul Robeson and later myself. We had unions like District 65 and 1199 to which we all were inextricably bound.” Belafonte said he was molded by developments during that period. He writes in his biography, “My Song”: “I never forgot the camaraderie of poverty and never stopped feeling I was a member of that tribe.” His mentor was the artist, activist, internationalist Paul Robeson. “It was Paul Robeson who said to me, ‘Get them to sing your song and they’ll want to know who you are.’” Belafonte cites the government persecution of Robeson and other progressive artists, including himself, as one reason for the decline of labor and the progressive movement. “We witnessed the relentless pursuit of the destruction of the workers’ movement. And once certain unions accepted McCarthyism and all it represented, they sowed the seeds of their own destruction.” “With Bread And Roses,” Belafonte said, “we want to create a cultural dynamic that speaks to the hopes, the passions, the concerns of workers. We want to celebrate the cultures of all the members and dramatize what each specific experience means to the rest of us. Everything that affects working people should be part of our cultural message, whether the vehicle is the fine arts, writing, poetry, music, what have you.” Belafonte doesn’t have to go as far back as the 1940s and ’50s to cite examples of art in the service of the people. It was he who performed and brought together artists for concerts during the civil rights and antiapartheid movements. An example of his
“We want the real story of union workers to be heard by the rest of the country.”
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genius is his ability to work with those who don’t share his views. Said Mr. B: “When I showed Martin (Luther King, Jr.) the list of the artists who would take part in the 1963 March on Washington, he was pleased, but then asked, ‘Where is the opposition? Have you reached out to anyone across the divide?’” “I then got Republican actor Charlton Heston to not only take part, but to co-chair the artists’ delegation to the march.” One year later, Belafonte was able to obtain an anonymous $100,000 contribution to the civil rights movement from NY Republican Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. One of Belafonte’s greatest, yet not well-known, organizing success was his pulling together of perhaps the greatest assembly of singers for the hugely-successful “We Are the World” recording for famine relief in sub-Sahara Africa. “The star power walking into the studio for the recording was simply blinding,” he said. “There is no reason why Bread And Roses can’t produce concerts in all its regions,” Belafonte added. “Just as 1199 and Bread And Roses were producers of the ‘Sing Your Song’
“Paul Robeson said to me, ‘Get them to sing your song and they’ll want to know who you are.’” premiere at the Apollo theater in Harlem, why not other films and other art forms?” Belafonte is quick to emphasize the key role of young members and artists to B&R He’s in touch regularly with hip-hop artists such as Common and keeps his finger on the pulse of progressive art. He is committed to creating an army of 1199SEIU artists who regularly share their art with Union members and the broader public. Harry Belafonte has the experience, expertise and reach needed to lead B&R on a new path, but he noted, “Bread And Roses will only succeed if it is embraced by all of the 1199SEIU family.”
Turn on, tune in or drop in to some of these in your spare time.
ENLIGHTENED ENTERTAINMENT All work and no play make Jane a dull girl, right? Here are some ways to spend your leisure time that are not just the usual fare; they may also leave you feeling inspired, empowered and enlightened. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Penguin, 2008) — Diaz delves into the history of the Dominican Republic under the Trujillo regime through the sometimes-heartbreaking story of teenager Oscar de Leon and his family, Dominican immigrants living in New Jersey. A Young People’s History of The United States by Howard Zinn (Seven Stories Press, 2009) — Originally a two volume set of American history from a radical perspective, this Seven Stories Press version is a one volume edition. Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out edited by Charles Boudin, Chelsea Farrow and Bernadine Dohrn (Nation Books, 2005) — A diverse group of 50 young activists share their thoughts on the issues they face working in the progressive movement. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (2010, The New Press) — Civil rights lawyer Alexander explains how mass incarceration has become the new, legal form of discrimination being used to target black men and decimate the country’s communities of color. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Random House, 2005) — The heroine of this internationally best selling mystery series, set in Botswana in southern Africa, is the wise and determined Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the only woman-owned detective agency in Africa. It’s also a cable television series starring singer Jill Scott. The Artist of Disappearance by Anita Desai (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) — This latest offering from the preeminent novelist from India offers three moving novellas that are stories of longing, unfulfilled dreams and disappointment. Malcom X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable (Viking, 2011) — The New York Times called this biography “complete, unvarnished and inspiring.” The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven by Sherman Alexie (Grove Press, 1993) — These short stories center around the lives of Native Americans living on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The story “This Is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” was made into the 1998 film Smoke Signals. Milton Rogovin: The Forgotten Ones — These are photographs Rogovin made of groups of working and poor people in Buffalo, NY once a decade for 30 years. His subjects were also interviewed. Rogovin took up photography when he lost his business after being called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Hey Waitress! The USA From the Other Side of the Tray by Alison
Owings (University of California Press, 2002) — An examination of how class shapes the lives of working women. Blanche Among the Talented Tenth by Barbara Neeley (St. Martin’s Press, 1994) — One in a series of mysteries featuring domestic worker-turnedsleuth Blanche White, a strong African-American woman with a full figure and a sharp wit. Neeley writes entertaining mysteries that deal with race, class and the challenge of confronting the past. Words of Protest, Words of Freedom: Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement edited by Jeffrey Lamar Coleman (Duke University Press, 2011) — This anthology contains selections from Maya Angelou, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, June Jordan and other literary giants. Pop When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of a Doubt edited by Eric Weisbard. (Duke University Press, 2011) — Various writers discuss the power of popular music for revolution, as a rallying cry and as a safe haven in times of upheaval and turmoil. Slim To None, A Lenny Moss Mystery by Timothy Sheard (Tim Sheard, 2010) — Hospital custodian Lenny Moss is a union shop steward and a detective. The Warmth Of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House, 2010) — This Pulitzer Prize winning book chronicles the exodus of some six million Black Americans from the Southern U.S. to Northern and Western cities between the years of 1915 and 1970. Wilkerson, who interviewed nearly 1,000 people for her book, illustrates how this massive movement of people forever altered the American identity. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 This film from Swedish film maker Goran Hugo Olsson is a mix of historical footage and interviews with people about how they have been influenced by the Movement. Amigo — John Sayles’ movie is set in the Philippines in the 1900s when the U.S. took the country from Spain and made it an American territory. Insurgents are fighting to regain control of their nation. Even the Rain — A Spanish crew decides to shoot a film about the conquest of the Americas in Bolivia because they can pay the actors $2 a day. The production is threatened when one of the indigenous people hired for the film leads a protest against the government about access to drinking water. Triangle: Remembering The Fire — HBO films released this documentary in March 2011 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The fire killed 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, and gave birth to national workplace safety regulations. Made in Dagenham — Women workers go on strike for equal pay at a Ford Motor Company factory in Dagenham, England. Entre Nous — A Columbian immigrant’s daughter tells
the story of how her mother supported her and her brother by collecting cans from a garbage dump; Frozen River — Two desperately poor women in Upstate New York, one white, one Native American, fall together into smuggling illegal immigrants across the U.S. - Canadian border. Weekend — In this film from England, two gay men develop a relationship and struggle with love and self-acceptance. Bread & Roses — This film from director Ken Loach tells the story of an organizer and two sisters during the Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles. Prime Suspect — Oscarwinning actress Helen Mirren portrays Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison in this miniseries from England. Tennison battles sexism in her male-dominated profession and is a recovering alcoholic. Milk — Sean Penn won an Oscar for his portrayal of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk, who in 1976 became California’s first openly gay elected official. Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F) by The Roots and indie folk-rock band Monsters of Folk teamed up for this hip hop/folk amalgamation. Aint Nothin’ Like You by Mos Def and Jim Jones — Mos Def and Jones collaborated with alternative rock superstars The Black Keys for this single from the Blakroc EP. Sacred Fire by Jimmy Cliff is the first release from the reggae giant in seven years. Black and White America by Lenny Kravitz — Kravitz, who is bi-racial, offers a new record — part funk and hip hop, part power-chord rock and roll — that reflects his experience as a man with a foot in two cultures. Born This Way by Lady Gaga — This is an anthem of self love, regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, gender or physical ability. Matisyahu — Reggae and alternative musician who until recently was a Hasidic Jew. Performed with Muslim rappers. Recently declared himself as no longer a practicing Hasid and on to the next phase of his development. Personalities by Fabian Almazan — The debut cd from young Cuban-American jazz pianist is on several top ten lists this year. Esperanza Spalding - Chamber Music Society — This gifted bassist taught herself the violin at 5 and took up the bass at 15 before becoming the youngest faculty member in the history of the prestigious Berklee School of Music at age 20. Calle 13 — This politically and socially conscious NewYorican hip hop group won best song and album of the year at the 2011 Latin American Grammys. Undun by The Roots — This is their eleventh studio album, a concept album about the short, tragic life of a character named Sufjan Stevens. The Border by Lila Downs — This album from the half Anglo/half Mixtec Indian singer explores the journey of Mexican immigrants crossing the border. Downs sings about the dangers of crossing the border, racism, and the exploitation of the maquiladora workers.
LISTENSE TO THE
January/February • Our Life And Times
Exhibition ➽Brookdale ➽ Occupy ➽ Website
Around the Union
Cover of 1199’s publication from 1954 – “1199 Drug News”
Publication Retrospective Union Power Print Power (UP3) is a retrospective of more than 80 years of 1199SEIU union-wide publication, currently on display at the 1199SEIU Bread And Roses gallery in Manhattan (310 West 43rd Street). For more than 80 years, 1199SEIU has published a magazine or newspaper, beginning in 1929 with a handtyped pamphlet. Today, its glossy magazine reaches 350,000 members in five states and the District of Columbia. Each publication has sought to inform and mobilize the
membership as well as provide in-depth analysis of the larger social, economic, and political issues of the day. The retrospective includes photos and articles that chronicle the development and growth of 1199SEIU as one of the most active and progressive forces in the nation’s labor movement and broader progressive community. Shown are well-known figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee as well as the brave, dedicated working women and men who built and continue to sustain the Union. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will continue through February at the gallery.
We Joined Occupation
As the year came to an end, 1199ers at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn continued their campaign to remove the hospital’s administrator, Medisys, and to restore their 1199SEIU health benefits. Members vowed to keep up the fight as long as it takes. A high point of the struggle came on Nov. 22, when members held an Occupy Brookdale rally outside the hospital. At the rally, a small but spirited group of members marched and chanted, carrying signs emblazoned with “Save The Middle Class” and “Healthcare Workers Are The 99%” and “Jobs Not Cuts.” Brookdale members lost their coverage under the 1199SEIU National Benefit Fund last spring when Medisys fell behind on payments. Instead of negotiating, Medisys simply refused to honor its collective bargaining agreement with the Union and substituted a more expensive and inferior Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan, which many workers said they couldn’t afford because of high copayments and deductibles. Medisys later fell behind on payments to Blue Cross. Members say the company is running the once-thriving institution into the ground. The New York State Medicaid Redesign Team, appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has recommended that Brooklyn’s Kingsbrook Hospital assume management of Brookdale.
During 2012, 1199SEIU was among the first unions to endorse and provide support for Occupy Wall Street and occupations in other 1199SEIU regions. The Union provided material and financial assistance and participated in major support demonstrations. 1199SEIU Pres. George Gresham was among the 1199ers who were arrested at the Nov. 17 civil disobedience action on the Brooklyn Bridge. Also arrested was SEIU Pres. Mary Kay Henry. 1199SEIU also was involved in Occupy actions in Florida, Maryland and the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Massachusetts and various New York regions. These include Albany and the Hudson Valley, Rochester, Syracuse and Western New York. Pres. Gresham summarized the Union’s support for the occupation movement in a Dec. 16 column in the Huffington Post. He wrote: “Occupy Wall Street has reframed the national debate as quickly and dramatically as any social movement in American history. Before this Fall, America had no common language to explain the crash of 2008 and its causes. Now we can see and describe the chasm separating the 99 percent and the 1 percent. The Occupy movement might be mocked as naïve for lacking a specific set of demands, but they’ve brilliantly identified the one fundamental problem of our time.”
On Our Website Late last year 1199SEIU unveiled a dramatically redesigned website that is far more interactive and user friendly. The redesigned site – the result of user feedback and extensive testing – makes it easier for members to communicate with staff and officers in their region and contains links to 1199SEIU’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. http://www.1199seiu.org/ NJ Caregivers March on NH Chain. 1199SEIU caregivers gathered on Dec. 9 at the headquarters of Seniors ManagementNorth, Inc. in Cherry Hill to ask for a fair contract for workers at four nursing homes. The institutions are located in Barnegat, Galloway, Manchester Township and Wanaque. 1199SEIU is Making a Difference in Western NY Politics. With strong support from 1199SEIU, underdog Democrat Mark Poloncarz defeated incumbent Republican Chris Collins in November to become only the second Democrat to win the Erie County Executive’s race in the 51-year history of the office.
January/February • Our Life And Times
Maryland Member Political Organizer Visits White House. 1199SEIU delegate Taren Peterson is a Maryland General Hospital ER patient technician. She’s also a Member Political Organizer and leader in the Union’s regional Young Workers’ Program. On Nov. 8, Peterson visited the White House and met President Obama and other leaders. She was there to learn more about the American Jobs Act during a union-sponsored jobs summit. Training Programs Lead the Way. President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has selected New York as the incubator for a partnership between government, industry employers, labor and colleges to increase employment rates through developing appropriate training programs. 1199SEIU Hosts Anti-War Event. U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) and its New York City chapter held their annual fundraiser at the 1199SEIU headquarters on Nov. 10 and welcomed as the keynote speaker
Wisconsin Federation of Teachers President Bryan Kennedy. Also on hand were a group of activists from the Occupy Wall Street movement.
THE BACK PAGE
THEHEALING POWEROF ART Lisa Horlein, an art therapist at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center in Upstate New York, shows Nancy Jean Pecuil, seated, how to work with modeling clay. “Art therapists are trained artists, but we don’t focus on creating better artists,” says Horlein. “We focus on helping people understand that there are other resources available for dealing with problems or difficult emotions.” See story on pages 8 and 9.
To re 1199S ad more ab and co E I U’s orga out develo ntract victo nizing ries a pme all reg nts through nd o i Union ons of our ut www. , log on to 1199s eiu.or g