A JOURNAL OF 1199SEIU November/December 2010
As the struggle continues:
1199ERS ON THE FRONT LINES LPN Mary Patton with one of her patients at Our Island Home on Nantucket island in Massachusetts. See page 12.
Contents 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 14 15 15
REJECTING THE PRETENDERS Real change comes from the bottom up. PRESIDENT’S COLUMN The Struggle Continues. WE MADE A DIFFERENCE 1199ers helped minimize Election Day losses. BREAKING CYCLE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE It is a Union issue. THE MANY FACES OF ONE NATION 10-2-10 was a beginning. NEW MEMBERS JOIN 1199SEIU FAMILY Organizing express rolls on. HELPING HAND IN UNCERTAIN TIMES Displaced members get assistance. THE WORK WE DO Members on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket islands. UNION ELECTION RESULTS Leadership team returned to office. AROUND OUR UNION A partnership that works. PEOPLE Boston CNA is journalist and musician.
p.8 Our Life And Times, November/December 2010, Vol. 28, No. 5. 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 PHOTOG RAPH E R :
Jim Tynan PHOTOG RAPHY ASS ISTANT :
Belinda Gallegos ART DI RECTION & DES IG N :
Maiarelli Studio PRES I DE NT :
COVE R PHOTO :
S EC RETARY TREASURE R :
Maria Castaneda EXEC UTIVE VIC E PRES I DE NTS :
Norma Amsterdam Yvonne Armstrong Angela Doyle Aida Garcia George Kennedy Steve Kramer Patrick Lindsay Joyce Neil John Reid Bruce Richard Mike Rifkin Neva Shillingford Milly Silva Veronica Turner Estela Vazquez
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1199SEIU was among this year’s sponsors of New York City’s Brides’ March, a walk against domestic violence.
The Change We Voted For Change comes from the bottom up.
wo years ago we flocked to the polls in huge numbers and voted to change the course of our nation. Even before his victory, Barack Obama reminded us that change does not come from the top, but rather is the result of hard work from the base in workplaces, communities, campuses, political precincts, places of worship and other people’s organizations. Today, many of us are dissatisfied with the pace and extent of the change we voted for. We also know that we don’t want to return to the failed policies that cost us millions of jobs and thousands of homes while fattening the coffers of big corporations and the super-rich. Unfortunately, the dissatisfaction and anger have been manipulated by false prophets doing the bidding of the elite that groups like the Tea Partiers claim to oppose. And like other earlier movements from the Right, such as the Moral Majority in the 1980s, the movement is heavily financed by the nation’s big corporations.
il billionaires David and Charles Koch, who this year moved up from ninth to fifth place on Forbes magazine’s list of the richest Americans, are founders of Freedom Works, a major bankroller of Tea Party candidates. Other billionaire funders include oilmen Robert Rowling and Trevor Rees-Jones. And the media is well represented with contributors such as Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch. These individuals and others like them are bankrolling hundreds of millions of dollars, often anonymously, on so-called independent expenditures. A key reason for the increased amount of anonymous cash is the Supreme Court’s January 2010 ruling that permits corporations to donate anonymously to nonprofit groups who can then turn around and spend the funds on political advertisements. By late October, these secret
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shadow-financing groups supporting Republican candidates were outspending those supporting Democrats by roughly nine to one. The obscene amounts that are being spent on ads either criticize or misrepresent Obama administration initiatives in areas such as health care, credit cards, student aid, equal pay for women, hate crimes, SCHIP, cash for clunkers, tax incentives for hiring the unemployed and the stimulus bill. ot a single Republican House member voted for the stimulus. The GOP and Blue Dog (conservative) Democrats prevented bills on climate and energy, immigration and labor-law reform from seeing the light of day. It was the inability of the Democrats to do enough to ease the
suffering of working people and the poor that paved the way for the Republican gains on Nov. 2. But voters will soon learn that the GOP —the party of “no”—has no answer to the problems that plague our nation. The changes they propose would only turn back the clock on working people. ortunately there is a constituency for progressive change, the change we voted for in 2008. Representatives of that constituency filled the mall in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 2. And it is that constituency that must continue to organize to expose the pretenders and prevent them from returning to the policies that drove our economy into a ditch. This issue of Our Life And Times focuses on our ability to win victories in the face of adversity.
Thousands came to Washington, D.C. on 10-2-10 to voice the concerns of the nation’s working people.
Today, many of us are dissatisfied with the pace and extent of the change we voted for. We also know that we don’t want to return to the failed policies that cost us millions of jobs and thousands of homes while fattening the coffers of big corporations and the super-rich.
THE PRESIDENT’S COLUMN George Gresham
The Struggle Continues 10-2-10 gave us a taste of what is possible. Sisters and brothers, what a year this has been. Well, nobody ever said life is easy for working folks. The brutal election season we’ve just gone through—dominated by hundreds of millions of dollars of hidden corporate money, financing some of the most backward, anti-worker, and openly racist candidates in decades—tells us that we’ve got our work cut out for us in 2011 and beyond. The challenges before us are enormous: 15 million unemployed and at least as many underemployed, with growing numbers of home foreclosures (and consequently, growing homelessness and hunger). Those economists and government officials who tell us that “the recession is over” and times are getting better clearly don’t live in our neighborhoods and don’t experience the anxiety and stress of our families. Meantime, the bankers, the oil and energy monopolies, the armaments industry and the insurance and pharmaceutical giants are making runaway profits that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. And with a go-ahead from the rightwing-dominated Supreme Court, the ultra-rich are now trying to buy complete control of the federal government. Their agenda has nothing to do with the concerns of working people. They want the government to eliminate all programs that serve ordinary Americans—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, public health, environmental protection, occupational safety and health, jobs creation, public schools, public transportation and highways. For them, the purposes of government are to wage permanent wars abroad (to open up and defend markets) and to subsidize Big Business. To these ends, they helped to form and underwrite the Tea Party to create a mass hysteria of fear—fear of a President who stands up for working people; fear of the 40 percent of Americans who are Black, Latina, Asian or foreign-born; fear of science, fear of unions (the only form of protection working people and their families have), fear of religions and sexual orientations that are not their own. Evidence and facts are, for them, problems to be denied or dismissed. No lie is too shameless to promote. Unfortunately, too often, some political figures who want our friendship and support on Election Day are quick to abandon us the day after—whether out of cowardly fear of the Right or of corporate wealth, or simply because they have no real convictions. This would be a bleak picture indeed, except for the fact that we—working families, our unions and our allies—also have power when we unite and demand what is rightfully ours. The 10-2-10 One Nation Working Together Rally in Washington gave us only a taste of what is possible. Tens of thousands of 1199SEIU sisters and brothers came together on that day—and thousands of others tried to get there only to be sabotaged by an irresponsible bus company. We joined with many thousands of auto workers, teachers, electricians, municipal workers, as well as thousands more from the NAACP, La Raza, NOW and the environmental, peace, immigration reform, lesbian and gay movements, and the clergy and followers of many faiths. The diversity was beautiful and our potential to actually make the change we believe in was felt by all. But stirring as it was, 10-2-10 was only one day. This was the beginning of a movement, not an end in itself. Some of our partners and allies did not produce up to their capacity that day. Perhaps they were not as confident as we were of the success we would achieve. But we turned many into believers. As we prepare for 2011, we know we are going to have fights on our hands and we are going to need all the friends we can gather. Every state capital is going to be a battleground over the future of health care and education, which is to say, over the future of our patients and our families. Get ready for the fight of our lives. Meantime, on the behalf of our entire 1199SEIU Executive Council, we wish you happy, healthy and peaceful Holidays.
Letters PRAISE FOR PROF-TECH COMMITTEE ecently I attended a function that celebrated all the achievements of our Union’s Professional and Technical committees. Out of all the Union’s departments, of which many have withered down or faded away, the P&T Dept. has not only grown but flourished. Most of this is due to the careful planning and guidance of the director, David Kranz. Of course, none of it would be possible without the total dedication of his top-notch staff. As a member of the Clinical Laboratory Committee, I can personally attest to the ways that the P&T Dept. of 1199SEIU has enhanced my profession. Both staffer Debra Hunte and director Kranz played an integral part in our obtaining licensure. They did so first by raising money for the lobbyist, then by helping with the bill’s language. And let’s not forget all the organizing and campaigning in Albany. I know that we were not the only job title that won licensure. Not too long ago the department established an educational advantage that allowed professionals to acquire the needed credits to maintain their license. The P&T Dept. has become one of the most inspirational, involved and valued departments in the Union. Other departments have come to rely on P&T help and expertise, especially when there are attempts to grow and expand our Union. The New Organizing department depends on our professionals to answer questions from potential members on how a union can help enhance and support their careers and needs. On Sept. 23, it was indeed a celebration of all the great things this department has achieved in the past and a toast to their future goals. It became clear why I’m proud to be an active participant in the department’s endeavors.
chance to continue to help make change. It’s important that we understand this! Voting is important now more than ever. We have to protect our civil liberties. The powers that be want us to continue killing ourselves, live in poverty, be uneducated and never achieve what we know is the American dream. I know it is discouraging to watch and listen to how those in Washington, DC make laws and the result is economic destruction. The Republicans had eight years to solve the problems in our country. Now they want us to believe that they have the answers. I never thought that I would have a real chance to matter in the grand scheme of things, because I live in a revolving nightmare of how they treat us in the inner city. But I see that we can make a difference. There are those who would have us believe we can’t make a difference. They think we don’t matter, but we say we do. The battle continues. Don’t let them win. Remember to vote. Make changes in your community. You do matter. We are One Nation. Dwayne Stafford, Community General Hospital Syracuse, NY ONE NATION he 10-2-10 One Nation Working Together rally was the first time I’ve participated in such a big action. I understand that there were problems with buses in many areas, but that was not so in my case. I was the captain of a bus that left from Brooklyn. I had plenty of cooperation from the members on the bus. One member volunteered to act as my co-captain. We also had plenty of food. And we were provided literature to orient members about the event. And I found the mood of unity and cooperation when we arrived in Washington. I was impressed by the size, diversity and commitment of the participants. The speeches moved me. For that one day, we were truly one nation under God. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
LYNNE MUCHINSKY Hospital for Joint Diseases Manhattan
CHRISTINA JOHNSON NYU Medical Center Manhattan
THE BATTLE CONTINUES ne of the most historical events in this era—the 10.2.10 rally—was a success. I witnessed people stand together in the belief that this country and our president will not be victims of lies told by people with racist views. We the people finally have a
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 J.J. 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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1199ers Help Stem GOP Electoral Tide “I know we’ll find the strength to keep fighting.” Although working people suffered major setbacks on Election Day, 1199SEIU made significant contributions to important victories in its regions. Across the nation, Republicans captured state executive and legislative chambers and won enough seats to regain control of the House of Representatives. In an extremely anti-incumbent atmosphere, 1199ers – who came out by the hundreds – were able to return all their Democratic senators to Congress and held on to gubernatorial seats in Massachusetts, New York and Maryland. In Florida, Democrat Alix Sink lost by s slim margin. A summary of the Election Day results follows.
worked on congressional and state campaigns simultaneously. Her hard work was not able to stem the Republican tide that helped defeat Sen. Darrel Aubertine in the 48th District. On the eve of the election she talked about why she was working on his campaign. “Darrel and I have something in common – we were both raised on our family’s farm,” Everard says. “Last month he helped save hundreds of healthcare workers jobs at Mercy at NYY in Watertown” At press time, it was unclear which party controlled the state Senate. Democrats managed to maintained control of the Assembly.
MASSACHUSETTS: Every Congressional candidate endorsed by the Union was victorious. And with strong support of 1199SEIU, Gov. Deval Patrick won reelection. Steve Grossman won a three-way race for treasurer and Suzanne Bump was elected auditor. All the Union-endorsed State Senate candidates were victorious, but those victories were tempered by the loss of seats in the State Representatives elections.
NEW JERSEY: Both of the NJ Congressional candidates endorsed by 1199SEIU – Rush Holt and Frank Pallone – were re-elected. “It was a great experience working on the election,” says Gillian Dookie, a CNA at Wanaque Nursing Home in Haskel who worked in Plainfield for Pallone."I got to speak to a lot of people with different opinions and debate the issues I'm glad my time was useful and that I was able to make a positive contribution". Volunteers in the region also helped elect Democrat Linda Greenstein to the State Senate and one of their own, Manhattan’s Beth Israel RN Helen Dela Cruz, who defeated a Republican incumbent to win a seat on Lacey County’s Township Committee.
NEW YORK: Democrat Andrew Cuomo crushed Tea Party Republican Carl Paladino. 1199ers worked especially hard as they did during the primary elections to help pull Eric Schneiderman across the finish line in his race for Attorney General. Members know Schneiderman well from his unshakeable support for 1199ers and working people as a Manhattan state senator. U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand easily won re-election, but at least five incumbent Democrats lost their House seats. They are Michael McMahon, Mike Acuri, Scott Murphy, Eric Massa and John Hall. 1199ers did help Democrats win two very hotly contested races. On Long Island, Tim Bishop overcame an extremely hostile environment to win and Bill Owens retained his seat in the North Country. Among the 1199SEIU volunteers who worked on the Owens campaign was Lori Everard, a 30-year veteran at Carthage Area Hospital. Everard, as did many 1199ers,
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MARYLAND: In addition to helping to re-elect Gov. Martin O’Malley, 1199ers helped to beat back a concerted GOP attempt to unseat state House Speaker Mike Busch. And in one of the state’s most hotly contested races, Ron Young with strong 1199SEIU support defeated incumbent State Sen. Alex Mooney. Another endorsed candidate, Kevin Kamenetz, after a difficult primary, defeated Republican Ken Holt for the open seat for Baltimore County Executive. As a member of the County Council, Kamenetz pushed through the Union-sponsored resolution for Free and Fair Union Elections Lenae Jones, a patient support associate at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was one of 25
1199SEIU members tirelessly canvassed, phone banked and door-knocked on Nov. 2 to help candidates like New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone beat back Republican onslaught in this year’s mid-term elections.
Member Political Organizers (MPOs) in Baltimore who took a leave of absence from their jobs to work full-time during campaign season. She rose before dawn for shift changes to remind members to vote on Election Day. Jones’s work was repeated not just in Baltimore but throughout 1199SEIU regions. FLORIDA: 1199ers didn’t fare as well in its newest region, Florida. Republicans swept Senate and House races in which the Union made endorsements. On the plus side, an initiative requiring the legislature to draw fair state and congressional districts was passed. Hopefully these new district lines will reflect the reality of how closely divided Florida is and undo the lopsided Republican majority. This year’s work is an important investment in the state’s political future. Florida is a vital battleground state. It’s hoped that the infrastructure built during these elections will help turn the tide in the 2012 election. “We knocked on a lot of doors, made a lot of phone calls and talked to a lot of people, but it was a rough election,” says CNA Veronica Lewis of Miami’s Mount Sinai Health & Rehab. “I know we’ll find the strength to keep fighting and educating our co-workers about the issues and candidates.”
BREAKING THE CYCLE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE “I learned I didn’t have to hide anymore.” April S.* works in housekeeping at a major medical center in the New York metropolitan area. She’s petite and soft spoken with big brown eyes and a bright smile that shines when she talks about her children. For 20 years April hid daily physical and emotional abuse by her husband behind her bright smile. “I used to come to work with marks all over my skin and say I fell down. I was ashamed,” she says. “I was brought up in a different environment. There was no such thing as domestic violence. He’d pinch and wring my skin and stomp on my feet and accuse me of seeing other people. It would be okay at work and then I’d go home and he would do crazy things. It was really hard. It was like I was living a double life.” April asked her husband to leave, but always took him back. The abuse continued.
Ana Ybe, whose daughter Jessica, and two of her children, were murdered on Jan. 23 by Jessica’s abusive boyfriend. Jessica was a home health aide with New York City’s Alliance agency.
“I thought that one day he would wake up and change,” she says. “I didn’t know what my life would be like without him. You know, love makes you do stupid things, but there’s no such thing as love when someone’s hurting you. But leaving was easier said than done.” Finally a family friend intervened and took April to a domestic violence victims’ services agency. “When I told them what was happening to me they told me he was abusing me. I thought nobody would understand. I had no idea how I could possibly break the silence,” she says. “But then I saw there that there are people who can help.” One of April’s main concerns has always been her job: work was more than just a source of income. “Work was always my solution. I was free from him for eight-and-a-half hours, but I was afraid to go home,” she says. “Getting out of the house was my peace of mind, but then I’d come to work and couldn’t concentrate. I was always worried.” April is slowly reclaiming her life. She’s moved, is in counseling and has addressed health problems—including two ministrokes—caused by nearly two decades of abuse. She has faced challenges with her employer. Court appearances, doctor’s appointments, and therapy sessions take time. Sometimes her schedule needs to be changed for safety reasons. She was embarrassed to explain the lateness or lost time and would sometimes get written up. She feared losing her job. With help from her organizer she was able to tell her story
and now the institution has a plan to help keep April safe at work. “Women are often afraid and ashamed to tell their employers that they’re being abused. They think the world will judge them,” says April. “That is not right. Employers need to take domestic violence seriously. Their workers are in danger and they need to educate people.” In many workplaces there does seem to be a disconnect between reality and the pervasiveness of domestic violence. Domestic violence has been estimated to cost U.S. employers upwards of $13 billion a year—including $4.1 billion in direct healthcare costs—and 74% of battered women are harassed by their partner at work. A recent survey of 200 CEOs showed they didn’t believe it was a problem in their companies. With women comprising nearly 50% of the labor force and Amnesty International USA estimating that a woman in the U.S. is battered every 15 seconds, the likely truth is that domestic violence is a problem many employers don’t want to face. Jessica Ybe, home attendant with New York City’s Alliance Home Care Agency, made the decision to leave her abuser, Jermaine Ruiz, but it was too late. Ybe, 22, and two of her four children, Sasha, 2, and Jelyhanna, 6, were murdered last Jan. 23 by Ruiz in their Brooklyn apartment. Jessica’s mother, Ana, says the police were called a number of times, but instead of arresting Ruiz, they warned the couple to sort out the disturbance themselves. “He had been abusing her, but she
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Left: Hundreds of families participated on Sept. 26 in New York City in this year’s Brides’ March against domestic violence. Right: Many Brides’ March participants were domestic violence survivors, like this woman from the Dominican Republic, where so many women were being burned with a particular brand of car battery acid that the government banned its sale.
Help Is Available 1199SEIU’s Member Assistance Program offers services for members and their families who are struggling with domestic violence or its effects. Call 646-473-6900. All services are free and confidential. Help is also available through the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 and the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Call 800-942-6906 for services in English or for services in Spanish call 800-942-6908. There is access to translation services.
didn’t tell me. She didn’t want to upset me, so she talked about it with her co-workers,” says Ana Ybe. “Then finally one day she called me and I went to the apartment to help her. We called the police and they said [ Jessica and Jermaine] had to take care of it themselves or they’d both be arrested.” Anna Ybe says she was relieved when Jessica said she was moving out. “On Jan. 16 she told me she decided to leave and that she would call me when she was ready. I never heard from her again because she was killed,” she says. To honor her slain daughter and grandchildren Ybe was among the hundreds who walked Sept. 26 in the Annual Gladys Ricart March Against Domestic Violence. The walk is a procession through Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx named after Gladys Ricart, who was murdered in 1999 on her wedding day by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Scores of 1199SEIU members participated as well as hundreds of community members and representatives from a wide variety of student, progressive and advocacy groups. Many marchers wear wedding dresses giving the walk its other name, the Brides’ March. 1199SEIU was this year among the walk’s sponsors and in the days before held a press conference at Union headquarters in Manhattan. Ybe spoke there and tearfully thanked those in attendance for remembering her family. She expressed the hope that the walk would help other families. And she encouraged women who were afraid to speak up. Ybe said memories of her lost daughter and
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grandchildren and ensuring the well-being of her two living grandchildren help keep her going every day. “Every day, morning, noon and night I miss them. My mother calls me all the time. She worries if she doesn’t hear from me,” says Ybe. “I hope to adopt my other two grandchildren, but that won’t be possible until we are sure Ruiz is getting a life sentence.” April S., who struggles daily with a host of trauma-related problems, says asking for help is the first vital step in getting away from an abuser. It takes away their power and helps victims become survivors. “Before I’d just shut myself away because I didn’t know that there were people I could talk to. Then I learned I didn’t have to hide anymore,” she says. * This member’s name and some details have been changed to protect her identity.
The Sept. 26 walk was founded in memory of Gladys Ricart, who was shot to death on her wedding day by an ex-boyfriend in 1999.
“Women are often afraid and ashamed to tell their employers that they’re being abused. They think the world will judge them.” —April S.
We Are One Nation Some 175,000 people from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. Oct. 2 for the One Nation Working Together rally to show their support and commitment to jobs, justice, education, peace and the environment. The event, sponsored by some 400 organizations, featured a broad lineup of speakers who declared that the majority of people in the nation are willing to come together for meaningful change and a more unified, sustainable and prosperous future. Tens of thousands of 1199ers attended the rally. Among the speakers was 1199SEIU Pres. George Gresham, who exclaimed, “We are the real America.”
1. Markus Batchelor,17, is a student at Washington, D.C.’s Thurgood Marshall Academy and Chair of the District’s Youth City Council. “I thought it was important to be at 10-2-10 because it’s definitely time for a group of Americans to get together and tell Congress and the President that we are ready for the change we sought when we supported him in 2008 and that we’re still standing in his corner,” says Batchelor.
2. Tori Cornell, a CNA at Cayuga Ridge Nursing and Rehab in Ithaca, NY, left, brought her daughter Kiersten Morse, 17. “I’m here so people know what’s going on,” said Cornell, a single mother of four children. “It’s hard working and supporting kids on your own.”
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3. 1199SEIU Pres. George Gresham urged everyone in attendance to vote and spoke passionately of how the other side has done everything in their power to take us backwards and halt any forward progress for working America.
4. Kay McLamb, a dietary worker at Buffalo, NY’s McAuley Residence, with daughters Destiny, 18, and Bianca, 19. “Things are changing,” says McLamb. “It will take time and President Obama can’t do it all in one day.”
5. “There is so much division in our country,” says Cora Alberta, a dietitian at Cape Cod Hospital in Massachusetts. “I’m just hoping that everyone can work together to solve our problems.”
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6. “I have a 30-year-old daughter who can’t find a job,” said Leora Stirrat, from Black Medical Center in Bradenton, Fl., who flew to the rally from Tampa. “We have to stop the outsourcing in this country and create jobs that give workers dignity and justice,” she said 7. Joaquin Garcia is an x-ray tech at Miami’s Kendall Regional Medical Center. “I came to 10-2-10 because Florida is an anti-union state, and we have to put an end to that. We have to get that out of our constitution,” says Garcia. 8. Scores of 1199SEIU retirees attended 10-2-10 to call for the protection of vital programs like Medicare and Social Security.
VICTORIES IN 2010 “We all need to support each other to get the things we believe in.”
“We fight and stand up for a living wage and for health care because we know another world is possible.” – Danny Glover
1199SEIU continued in 2010 to expand its ranks, with 2,508 workers voting yes for 1199SEIU membership in 18 organizing victories at institutions from Massachusetts to Maryland. The Union also reached out to workers in novel ways and built on existing efforts to help healthcare workers organize in an atmosphere free of intimidation. The year’s biggest organizing victory came on came on Nov. 4 when workers at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Mass. voted overwhelmingly to join 1199SEIU. The 367 to 121 vote wins Union membership for 690 service, maintenance, technical and clerical workers. The organizing drive was conducted under a groundbreaking free and fair union elections accord negotiated last year by 1199SEIU and the Caritas Christi Health Care System. 1199SEIU now represents 3,600 workers at five Caritas hospitals in Massachusetts. “I’m excited to be part of 1199 because I know our voices will be heard,” said Lizabeth Ging, a Holy Family patient registration clerk “This has been a long time coming.” Bay State-based rock band the Dropkick Murphys
collaborated with the Union on a new video “Tomorrow’s Industry.” The clip is part of Boston hospital workers’ campaign for free and fair union elections and features band members with some real hospital workers who have been struggling to organize Boston’s major medical centers. The video reminds viewers that thousands of unorganized healthcare workers can’t afford their own healthcare and has received some 13,000 hits on YouTube. In New York City and its metropolitan area, 526 workers at Comprehensive Home Care stayed united and voted overwhelmingly for 1199 representation in an Aug. 27 election. Major issues for the Comprehensive workers included paid sick leave and respect on the job. Comprehensive home health aide Deborah McCurdy was a member of the Brooklyn organizing committee member. “I did it because I have kids and I need vacation and time off just like everybody else works for our company,” said McCurdy. Further Upstate in New York, workers at The Pines Nursing Home in Poughkeepsie, NY voted to join 1199SEIU in an April 16 election. The vote was 148 to 42. The Pines victory marks a significant increase in the area’s Union density and brings to 1,200 the number of 1199SEIU-represented workers in the Dutchess County region. Workers at Washington, DC’s JB Johnson Nursing Center overcame fierce management opposition and voted unanimously to join 1199SEIU in vote on Feb. 1. The victory was particularly significant because it was the third in a string of District –
funded homes owned or managed by Salonges Vivens. In Baltimore, 1199SEIU’s Heart of Baltimore campaign continued the effort gain better jobs, better pay and secret ballot elections for the city’s healthcare workers. One in five Baltimore jobs is in the healthcare industry. Many workers struggle to survive on poverty wages and can’t afford basic health care. Baltimore’s City and County Councils passed a resolution in October endorsing free and fair union elections at every hospital and nursing home. Actor Danny Glover spoke at the June 24 rally in Baltimore in support of the campaign. “We fight and stand up for a living wage and for healthcare because we know another world is possible,” said Glover. Devon Branche, a laundry worker at Baltimore’s Sinai Hospital for 12 years echoed Glover’s remarks. “We all need to support each other to get the things we believe in,” said Branche. “That’s why a union is a good thing in all healthcare facilities.” In New Jersey, 70 workers at CareOne Corp.’s Somerset Nursing Home in Somerset NJ voted on Sept. 2 to join 1199SEIU in spite of a vicious anti-union campaign. Somerset workers organized around better pay, staffing and respect on the job. They faced relentless intimidation from management right up until the election and the struggle has galvanized many of them around the fight for free and fair elections for all healthcare workers. 1199SEIU’s Florida Region is right now organizing workers covered by election agreements at hospitals throughout the state. Votes will be scheduled in the coming months.
Workers from Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Mass. celebrated winning the Union’s biggest organizing victory of 2010. Holy Family workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of 1199SEIU representation in a Nov. 4 election.
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1199SEIU’s Job Security Fund helped pharmacist Ralph Munno (top) get a job at Southside Hospital on Long Island after St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center in New York City closed. Maria Ramos, left, and Adrienne Croskey, have been working with the JSF to find new jobs since Manhattan’s North General Hospital abruptly closed in July.
From the outset, the Fund’s mission was to help workers with placement assistance, career counseling, résumé writing, and job skills training. partnership with the United Way, which has a long standing relationship with Buffalo’s labor community. The United Way provided members with emergency food vouchers and assistance with rent and energy bills until they could file for unemployment. Workers were directed to local agencies which, in conjunction with the 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund, provided skills training and computer classes. Representatives from Buffaloarea nursing homes that were hiring were invited to 1199SEIU’s offices so members could apply for jobs.
A Helping Hand in
Uncertain Times After a job loss our Job Security Fund or our community partners are there for our displaced members. or many workers a layoff means a handshake, a severance check and an uncertain future, but 1199ers covered under the 1199SEIU Job Security Fund (JSF) aren’t left to face the future alone. There’s a hand to help them get back on their feet. The JSF was created in 1992 during collective bargaining between the Union and the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes—which represents hospitals and nursing homes throughout New York City and its suburbs. It was conceived to help workers who were being displaced as a result of changes in the healthcare industry in the 1990’s. From the outset, the Fund’s mission was to help workers with placement assistance, career counseling, résumé writing, and job skills training. Members may also be eligible for a stipend and extension of their benefits under the Fund.
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In today’s economy the JSF may be more important than ever. New York City alone has lost seven hospitals since 2005. Most recently North General Hospital and St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center were shuttered, eliminating more than 2,000 jobs. “We’re lucky to have job security as part of our contract,” says Maria Ramos, who was a health information management clerk at North General Hospital for eight years. “Overall it’s been an excellent thing to brush up on my skills and see where I am.” She lost her job when the hospital closed in July and has been taking part in JSF programs for the last three months. She’s interviewed for two jobs and is getting ready for more. “It’s rewarding to know I’m prepared because of the training the JSF gave us,” Ramos says. “It really helped. I knew the answers when they asked me questions on my interview. I didn’t feel like
a deer in headlights.” Ralph Munno now works as a pharmacist at Southside Hospital in Bayshore, N.Y. He worked at St. Vincent’s for 17 years before it closed. Munno says the JSF worked with him until he found what he needed for his family obligations. “They were so supportive. I didn’t have to stay so long because I took the Southside job,” he says. hile the JSF helps thousands of 1199ers, the vast majority of members aren’t covered under the Fund. Where it’s possible the Union helps get members back into jobs with the help of community partners. In Buffalo, NY over the last three years, four nursing home closures have eliminated 1,000 jobs. Those members weren’t eligible for JSF services. The Union tried to assist displaced workers through a number of efforts, including a
oz Hampton was an LPN at Grace Manor in Buffalo for eight years when that institution closed in March 2009. She’s now working at Harbor Health in Buffalo. Hampton, who was also a delegate and chairperson at Grace Manor, helped in the efforts after her institution closed. “We were just trying to make sure that people were signing up for the benefits that they needed and that they got signed up for unemployment,” she says. Hampton was also grateful to receive assistance. “When you’re devoted to a job and then you’re let go, especially the way we were with no vacation and no severance, it’s deplorable and devastating,” says Hampton. “And that someone would reach out, it can almost bring you to tears. Everyone was so lovely in such a time of need.” For more information about the JSF, log onto www.1199seiubenefits.org.
The Work We Do: Our Members on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket
artha’s Vineyard and Nantucket lay some six and 30 miles, respectively, off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. During the winter, Martha’s Vineyard is home to some 15,000 people. Nantucket has 10,000 year-round residents. In the summer months the population of each island increases fivefold. Getting goods and services often means flying or loading a truck or a person onto a ferry. That’s not the case with medical care. There’s a critical care hospital and a nursing home on each island. Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, founded in 1921, employs some 80 1199SEIU members throughout its service, maintenance and technical departments. Next door is Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, where 60 1199ers offer a wide variety of care from assisted living to long-term care. On Nantucket, the 19-bed Nantucket Cottage Hospital has been serving that island’s residents for nearly 100 years. And at Nantucket’s skilled nursing facility, Our Island Home, 1199ers care for 45 residents, some of whom are native islanders who rarely left Nantucket as well as others who are family of recent transplants, brought by their loved ones to be nearby.
November/December • Our Life And Times
1. Gail Hines is a patient account representative at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. “It’s constant phone calls,” she says. “One minute it’s 9 a.m., then it’s 3 p.m.” Hines, whose son Christopher just deployed to Afghanistan for his second tour of duty there, says the busy days help keep her mind occupied. “My dad was in the military, so I understand the life,” she says. “But I know where my son is in Afghanistan, and I really don’t want him there.” 2. Chris Maida works in housekeeping at Martha’s Vineyard’s Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation. He does a number of jobs, including cleaning the rooms and filling in for laundry workers when necessary. 2
3. “These are quality control materials that make sure our lab is working properly,” says Martha’s Vineyard Hospital medical technologist Mary Edwards. “As you can imagine getting things delivered to Martha’s Vineyard quickly isn’t always easy.” 4. “It’s kind of like family,” says Cathie Twadelle, a radiologic technologist at Martha’s Vineyard for 35 years. “Everybody takes care of everybody—the ER nurses, the doctors—because it’s such a small community.” 5. Unit Secretary Beth Hayes organizes the medical records for residents at Martha’s Vineyard’s Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “These are good jobs,” she says. “You don’t have too many choices like this on this island. There is a lot of seasonal work, so a job with good pay and benefits is great.” 4
6. “My role is housekeeping—cleaning and keeping things safe,” says Sheila Barrett, a delegate at Our Island Home on Nantucket. “But we’re also licensed caregivers. We’re CNAs. That’s unusual. It’s something we decided to do on our own.” 7. Nantucket Cottage Hospital lab assistant Adele Yelverton, originally from Ireland, visited Nantucket as a student. When she went home she finished school and married, then decided to move back to the island. She’s lived on Nantucket for 16 years. 8. Cindy Stetson works in the laundry at Our Island Home. “It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it,” she says. “Sometimes residents will ask me to fix things—repair a hem or sew on a button. I bring in my little machine and take care of it for them.” 8
9. “I’m originally from New Orleans and after the hurricane I traveled around a little,” says Bertrand Briere, a lab tech at Nantucket’s hospital. “I’ve worked in a lot of places and this one is very patientoriented. Everybody knows everybody. The patients know the staff and vice versa. That makes things a lot easier.” 10. At Our Island Home, one of LPN Mary Patton’s patients is her mother, Betty Ann. “It can be a challenge because sometimes when she sees me she wants to come home with me,” says Patton. “But I’m just a phone call away and I can stop by and take her out for a drive. It’s wonderful knowing she’s right here.” 10
November/December • Our Life And Times
UNION ELECTION RESULTS
1199SEIU LEADERSHIP RE-ELECTED
SEIU Pres. Mary Kay Henry swore in 1199SEIU officers at June ceremony. PRESIDENT George Gresham 20,223 SECRETARY-TREASURER Maria Castaneda 20,113 EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENTS Norma Amsterdam 16,691 Yvonne Armstrong 16,524 Angela Doyle 16,271 Aida Garcia 17,204 George Kennedy 16,938 Steve Kramer 16,071 Patrick Lindsay 16,266 Joyce Neil 16,082 John Reid 16,000 Bruce Richard 15,999 Mike Rifkin 16,049 Neva Shillingford 15,561 Milly Silva 16,338 Veronica Turner 16,551 Estela Vazquez 17,084 UNION-WIDE VICE PRESIDENTS AT LARGE Mark Bergen 16,898 Gerard Cadet 16,004 Rickey Elliot 16,215 Tim Foley 16,114 Pearl Granat 15,850 Vanessa Johnson 17,344 Pat Lippold 15,601 Bruce Popper 15,762 Barbara Rosenthal 16,688 Minerva Solla 16,628 Celia Wcislo 15,925 UNION-WIDE ORGANIZERS AT-LARGE Lystra Campbell 17,467 Anthony Peterson 18,340 HS 1 BROOKLYN INDEPENDENTS VICE PRESIDENT Elsie Otero 239 HS 1 BROOKLYN INDEPENDENTS ORGANIZER Lytton Perez 247 HS 1 BROOKLYN INDEPENDENTS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Osborne Walker 242 HS 1 CATHOLIC 1 / CARITAS VICE PRESIDENT Coraminita Mahr 332 HS 1 CATHOLIC 1 / CARITAS ORGANIZER Ann Marie Edwards 330 HS 1 CATHOLIC 1 / CARITAS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Serge Compere 317 HS 1 MAIMONIDES/LUTHERAN VICE PRESIDENT Rhadames Rivera 364 HS 1 MAIMONIDES/LUTHERAN ORGANIZER James Tucker 348 Al Ruiz 129 HS 1 MAIMONIDES/LUTHERAN EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER David Holmes 369 HS 2 LIJ / NORTHSHORE VICE PRESIDENT Denise Allegretti 533 HS 2 LIJ / NORTHSHORE ORGANIZERS Trevor Spencer 504 Margaret West Allen 514 HS 2 LIJ / NORTHSHORE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Joseph Davis 520 HS 2 QUEENS INDEPENDENTS VICE PRESIDENT Gerard Nordenberg 471 HS 2 QUEENS INDEPENDENTS ORGANIZERS Eunice Forde 418 Joan Stadler 423 Desmond Gobin 176 HS 2 QUEENS INDEPENDENTS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Margaret Paul 489 HS 3 CATHOLIC 2 VICE PRESIDENT Jacqueline Alleyne 197 HS 3 CATHOLIC 2 ORGANIZER Ramon Ithier 187 HS 3 CATHOLIC 2 EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Jerlena Palmer 187 HS 3 NYH / PRESBYTERIAN 1 VICE PRESIDENT Fernando Wilson 419 HS 3 NYH / PRESBYTERIAN 1 ORGANIZER Ethel James 361 Lawrence M. Porter 122
Last April 1199SEIU members voted to re-elect Pres. George Gresham and Secretary Treasurer Maria Castaneda to a three year term leading the Union. Reflecting 1199SEIU’s explosive growth, members cast ballots for representation in some 52 areas of the Union. An election board comprised of 20 members and 20 alternates was appointed by the Executive Council. Officers, Executive Council members and organizers were sworn in at a joint delegate assembly in New York City in June. The American Arbitration association (AAA) counted a total of 24,165 ballots in the mailed ballot election. The AAA-certified results below show the number of votes received by each candidate. The names of defeated candidates appear in tinted color. HS 3 NYH / PRESBYTERIAN 1 EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Maurice De Palo 405 HS 3 NYH / PRESBYTERIAN 2 VICE PRESIDENT Antonio Howell 293 HS 3 NYH / PRESBYTERIAN 2 ORGANIZER Larry Wilds 288 HS 3 NYH / PRESBYTERIAN 2 EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Jeanette Harper 294 HS 3 SSA VICE PRESIDENT Victor Rivera 63 HS 3 SSA ORGANIZER Bennet Battista 65 HS 3 SSA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Sherry Coulibaly 59 HS 4 A-MANHATTAN INDEPENDENTS / CITY OF NEW YORK VICE PRESIDENT Donald Crosswell 445 HS 4 A-MANHATTAN INDEPENDENTS / CITY OF NEW YORK ORGANIZER Joan Carter 442 HS 4 A-MANHATTAN INDEPENDENTS / CITY OF NEW YORK EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Mullin Davis 419 HS 4 B-MANHATTAN INDEPENDENTS / CITY OF NEW YORK VICE PRESIDENT Luna Winslow 277 HS 4 B-MANHATTAN INDEPENDENTS / CITY OF NEW YORK ORGANIZER Artis Thornton 275 HS 4 B-MANHATTAN INDEPENDENTS / CITY OF NEW YORK EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Jennifer Rougier 269 HS 4 COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS VICE PRESIDENT Vasper Phillips HS 4 COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS ORGANIZER Yvette Gomes 187 HS 4 COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Regina Grissom 177 HS 5 CAPITAL REGION NORTH VICE PRESIDENT Rosa Maria Lomuscio 107 HS 5 CAPITAL REGION NORTH ORGANIZER Ana Vazquez 105 HS 5 CAPITAL REGION NORTH EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Gail Cook 98 HS 5 CAPITAL REGION SOUTH VICE PRESIDENT Cynthia Wolff 65 HS 5 CAPITAL REGION SOUTH ORGANIZER Leslie Lofrese 69 HS 5 CAPITAL REGION SOUTH EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Elizabeth Richardson 71 HS 5 HUDSON VALLEY NORTH VICE PRESIDENT Lisa Brown 187 HS 5 HUDSON VALLEY NORTH ORGANIZERS Erica Callendar 178 Barbara Lewis 191 HS 5 HUDSON VALLEY NORTH EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER John Rusinko 194 HS 5 HUDSON VALLEY SOUTH VICE PRESIDENT Maria Kercado 240 HS 5 HUDSON VALLEY SOUTH ORGANIZER Patrick Forde 245 HS 5 HUDSON VALLEY SOUTH EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Carmenta Dawkins 235 HS 5 PHARMACEUTICAL / HUMAN SERVICES VICE PRESIDENT Laurie Vallone 393 HS 5 PHARMACEUTICAL / HUMAN SERVICES ORGANIZERS Richard Bonelli 360 Roger Cumberbatch 329 HS 5 PHARMACEUTICAL / HUMAN SERVICES EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Victor Jimenez 374 HS 6 CONTINUUM VICE PRESIDENT Ronnie Babb 441 HS 6 CONTINUUM ORGANIZERS Manuel Leon 427 Ken Telford 406
HS 6 CONTINUUM EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Jacynth Stewart 448 HS 7 MONTEFIORE VICE PRESIDENT Gladys Wrenick 478 HS 7 MONTEFIORE ORGANIZERS Keith Johnson 441 Ivan Ruiz 447 HS 7 MONTEFIORE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Barbara Fant 470 HS 7 CENTRAL NEW YORK VICE PRESIDENT Ruth Heller 713 Monica Williams 193 HS 7 CENTRAL NEW YORK ORGANIZER Kevin Lockhart 662 HS 7 CENTRAL NEW YORK EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS Geraldine Hopewell 564 Susan Robedee 539 Benita Thompson 164 HS 7 NORTH COUNTRY VICE PRESIDENT Kathleen Tucker 138 HS 7 NORTH COUNTRY ORGANIZER Tracy Tupper 137 HS 7 NORTH COUNTRY EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Patrick Sullivan 151 HS 7 WESTERN NEW YORK HOSPITALS VICE PRESIDENT James Scordato 331 HS 7 WESTERN NEW YORK HOSPITALS ORGANIZER Tracey Harrison 340 HS 7 WESTERN NEW YORK HOSPITALS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS Karen Kyle 311 William Scott 301 HS 7 WESTERN NEW YORK NURSING HOMES VICE PRESIDENT Todd Hobler 172 HS 7 WESTERN NEW YORK NURSING HOMES ORGANIZER Dana Alas 166 HS 7 WESTERN NEW YORK NURSING HOMES EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Safa Muhammad 161 HS 8 BRONX INDEPENDENTS VICE PRESIDENT Mary Whitten 386 HS 8 BRONX INDEPENDENTS ORGANIZERS Michael Heath 356 Aida Morales 376 HS 8 BRONX INDEPENDENTS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Tom Cloutier 393 HS 8 MT. SINAI/NYU VICE PRESIDENT Saily Cabral 350 Henry King 312 HS 8 MT. SINAI/NYU ORGANIZERS Barbara Nelson 356 Henry Williams 335 Lennox Callender 223 Sandra Thomas 196 Emma Allen 40 Rafael Mendez 64 HS 8 MT. SINAI/NYU EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Frank Browne 354 Rosa Diaz 277 HOME CARE A VICE PRESIDENT Rona Shapiro 2502 HOME CARE A ORGANIZERS Ana Dubovici 2111 Ivette Garcia 2489 HOME CARE A EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS Sandra Gonzalez 2485 Elena Safonova 2116 HOME CARE B VICE PRESIDENT Carolyn Brooks 1946 HOME CARE B ORGANIZERS Cynthia Neita 1887 Sheron Whitter 1597 HOME CARE B EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS Wadyah Hassan 1572 Rachel Younger 1850 HOME CARE C VICE PRESIDENT Keith Joseph 1485 HOME CARE C ORGANIZERS Guadalupe Astacio 1457 Juanita Perkins 1371
HOME CARE C EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS Barbara Johnson 1473 Lorna Selwood 1171 HOME CARE D VICE PRESIDENT Kwai Kin (David) Ho 838 HOME CARE D ORGANIZER Tunde Weekes 551 HOME CARE D EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Arturo C. Villacis 557 HOME CARE E VICE PRESIDENT Rene R. Ruiz 849 HOME CARE E ORGANIZER Vladimir Fortunny 847 HOME CARE E EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Phyllis Smith 816 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / BMC / COMMUNITY VICE PRESIDENT Tyrek D. Lee 232 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / BMC / COMMUNITY ORGANIZER Ellen Norton 217 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / BMC / COMMUNITY EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Cari Rivera 209 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / CAPE / SOUTHEAST VICE PRESIDENT Jerry Fishbein 144 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / CAPE / SOUTHEAST ORGANIZER Marie Elder 137 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / CAPE / SOUTHEAST EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Tammy Lawler 131 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / CARITAS / NORTHSHORE VICE PRESIDENT Enid Eckstein 66 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / CARITAS / NORTHSHORE ORGANIZER Maryellen Leveille 71 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / CARITAS / NORTHSHORE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Cynthia Bates 64 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / NURSING HOME VICE PRESIDENT Mike Fadel 60 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / NURSING HOME ORGANIZER Herbert Jean-Baptiste 64 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / NURSING HOME EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Andrea Smith Dos-Santos 56 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / PCA VICE PRESIDENT Rebecca Gutman 497 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / PCA ORGANIZER Myra Badillo 436 Vaughn Goodwin 419 Jose Perez 449 MASSACHUSETTS REGION / PCA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Denise Leschenier 500 MARYLAND /DC REGION / BALTIMORE HOSPITALS VICE PRESIDENT Armeta Dixon 93 MARYLAND/DC REGION / BALTIMORE HOSPITALS ORGANIZER Lisa Epps 96 MARYLAND/DC REGION / BALTIMORE HOSPITALS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Annie Henry 92 MARYLAND/DC REGION / LONG TERM CARE VICE PRESIDENT Antoinette Turner 65 MARYLAND/DC REGION / LONG TERM CARE ORGANIZER Charles Hall 78 MARYLAND/DC REGION / LONG TERM CARE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Marjorie Taylor 68 MARYLAND/DC REGION / RN / DC / PG HOSPITALS VICE PRESIDENT Katherine Taylor 82 MARYLAND/DC REGION / RN / DC / PG HOSPITALS ORGANIZER Lisa Wallace 95 MMARYLAND/DC REGION / RN / DC / PG HOSPITALS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS Alma Ames 77 Mary Theresa Anderson 74 NEW JERSEY A VICE PRESIDENT Rhina Molina 129
NEW JERSEY A EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Jeanitha Louigene NEW JERSEY B VICE PRESIDENT Roy Garcia NEW JERSEY B EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Louise Wilson NEW JERSEY C VICE PRESIDENT Clauvice St. Hilaire NEW JERSEY C EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Marie St. Germain NURSING HOME A VICE PRESIDENT Nelson Valdez NURSING HOME A ORGANIZER Clare Joseph NURSING HOME A EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Denise Wray NURSING HOME B VICE PRESIDENT Allan Sherman NURSING HOME B ORGANIZER Shaywaal Amin Mavis Foreman NURSING HOME B EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Marcus Victory NURSING HOME C VICE PRESIDENT Isaac Nortey NURSING HOME C ORGANIZER Noreen Wray Roach NURSING HOME C EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Kervin Campbell NURSING HOME D VICE PRESIDENT Patricia Smith NURSING HOME D ORGANIZER Francine Guthrie NURSING HOME D EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Ronald Reid NURSING HOME E VICE PRESIDENT Frances Gentle NURSING HOME E ORGANIZER Lloyd Maul NURSING HOME E EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Fred Hicks NURSING HOME F VICE PRESIDENT Greg Speller NURSING HOME F ORGANIZER Jeannie Pack NURSING HOME F EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Annie Bryant NURSING HOME H VICE PRESIDENT Dalton Mayfield NURSING HOME H ORGANIZER Charlotte Hackett NURSING HOME H EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Millicent Peterkin Hugo Quinteros NURSING HOME I VICE PRESIDENT Daine Williams NURSING HOME I ORGANIZER William Kee NURSING HOME I EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Judy Sadeli NURSING HOME J VICE PRESIDENT John Seales NURSING HOME J ORGANIZERS Denese Jones Linda Pizzi NURSING HOME J EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Jacqueline Jones RN A VICE PRESIDENT Clare E. Thompson RN A ORGANIZERS Denise Campo Jens Hauge RN A EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Elizabeth Akong RN B VICE PRESIDENT Anne Jacobs Moultrie RN B ORGANIZER Nadine Williamson RN B EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEMBER Erica Broussard
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ROSE LINCOLN PHOTO
Manio Colas, a CNA at Tower Hill Nursing Home in Boston, Mass., had to leave his native Haiti nine years ago because the work he was doing as a political reporter was putting his life in danger. “I was a journalist for 10 years with Radio Metropole. It’s Haiti’s biggest independent radio station. There’s no one there who doesn’t know it,” says Colas. So Colas made the hard decision to come to the U.S for his safety. But he had to leave his wife and three children behind. One of the things that sustain him, says Colas, is his music. Colas is a singer, a songwriter, and leads the choir at Boston’s Holy Spirit Church. “I sing gospel songs,” says Colas. “But I also sing about our social problems. We have so many in this society. My songs aren’t just spiritual, they’re about people who are hungry or who have HIV/AIDS. I’m a Christian, but I’m also human. I see people suffering, so I take my songs and I speak against that.” Colas started writing poems about social justice as a teenager. About the same time he started singing in church choirs, he realized he could combine the two and express his feelings in music. Over the years he’s recorded several albums and most recently a song dedicated to his homeland and about the Haiti earthquake called “Together We’re Strong.”
Manio Colas from Boston’s Tower Hill NH is an accomplished singer and songwriter.
“Music Is Power” For Manio Colas, a CNA at Boston’s Tower Hill NH, song is vital in the struggle for justice.
“Music is power,” says Colas. “When I speak something to someone they may forget, but with music the result is better. When I sing about poverty or injustice it helps us to struggle and makes us strong. Music gives people hope.” Colas says music works the same way in his personal life. It eases the strain of being so far away from his loved ones back in Haiti. Although he’s in regular contact — by emails, phone calls and letters— being so far away from his wife and children is inexpressibly difficult. “Making music is therapy for me. My songs strengthen me,” he says. “And even though I cry through them sometimes, I get my strength and hope back.”
Around the Union
A Partnership That Works Lutheran Medical Center has cared for residents of southwest Brooklyn for more than a century. It prides itself on its social justice mission. “As a stand alone safety-net hospital, partnerships are critical to our success,” says Wendy Goldstein, president and CEO of Lutheran HealthCare, the hospital’s parent organization. We have developed working partnerships and alliances of varying degrees with other hospitals and institutions. What we have found, however, is that there is no better partnership than the one you have with your employees.” That partnership is exemplified by the Lutheran Partnership Committee (PC), consisting of 14 members from labor and 14 from management. One PC co-chair is Virginia Tong, Lutheran’s vice-president of cultural competence. No stranger to unions, Tong’s mother was a delegate for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The other co-chair is Lutheran patient service associate Gladys Bruno. “I am very proud of the work that has been accomplished through the Partnership Committee,” Bruno says. “Team spirit has long been a part of Lutheran’s culture and it remains as active, vital and necessary as it was
November/December • Our Life And Times
a century ago. Everyone is invited to attend our meetings and see first hand how we work together to move the agenda forward.” Among the successes Bruno cites are: • Sick Leave Policy revision. • Establishment of a Float Pool in the Family Health Centers. • Revised grievance procedure. • Bulletin boards throughout the hospital and health center. • An employee wellness program. • Employee suggestion boxes. • Reduction of ambulatory care waiting times. PC committee members say that the committee has changed the relationship between workers and management. “Let’s reason together is our approach,” says Lutheran transporter Dominic Zinnanti, a 12-year veteran and member of the PC. “I used to be a member of the Teamsters union where there was endless bickering. Here we sit down together and actually work problems out.” The partnership was celebrated this year at an Oct. 8 event at which PC members staffed tables in the hospital lobby and presented gifts and sold raffles to hospital employees.
Delegates from Brooklyn’s Lutheran Medical Center.
The PC also recently celebrated the winning of a government grant to study injury prevention at the workplace. “We got the grant because of the work of our PC,” says Bruno. She and others stress that the Affordable Care Act (the healthcare reform law) will require profound changes in the workplace and even greater cooperation. “We are in a good position to tackle those changes,” Bruno says.
THE BACK PAGE
One Nation. One Future. On 10.2.10, tens of thousands of people from all over the country gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to demand a national progressive agenda, including unity in place of division, jobs for all and an economy that works for everyone, peace, education, justice and renewable energy with green jobs. See page 8.
To re 1199S ad more abou and co E I Uâ€™s organ t i n develo tract victoriezing pment s and s all reg ions of throughout our Un ion, lo www.1 g onto 199sei u.org
Our Life & Times - November 2010 A Journal of 1199SEIU As the struggle continues: 1199ers On The Front Lines