1199 Magazine | Generational Wealth | May-June 2022

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Celebrating 1199’s Asian American & Pacific Islanders

Escaping Ukraine: First-hand Account

GENERATIONAL WEALTH

Amazon Labor Union leader’s Mom, a former 1199er, on why unions matter.

May-June 2022

Our History: Poor People’s Campaign Half a Century On A Journal of 1199SEIU May/June 2022


CONTENTS 6

20 5 The President's Column It’s Time to Fight for What’s Right. 6 Paying It Forward How Amazon Labor Union leaders’ 1199 mothers showed them the way.

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May-June 2022

8 Around the Regions NJ Nursing Home Staffing Still Low; PCAs in MA celebrate 12 percent pay raise; Help for Haitian Refugees; Northern Westchester Contract Win; Call for NY Cryptocurrency Mining Moratorium; MA Members Endorse Maura Healey for Governor.

11 The Work We Do Celebrating Our Food & Nutrition Members at Maimonides Medical Center. 14 A Hand Up How the 1199SEIU Credit Union brings Members Back to Financial Health. 16 Celebrating AAPI Members These Dedicated Healthcare Workers are Actively Building Power to Influence the Midterm Elections.

19 It is How You Tell It 1199 Member who Writes Children’s Books. 20 Escaping Ukraine One 1199 Family Member Describes How She Fled for Her Life. 22 The Poor People’s Campaign of 1969 Looking Back at 1199’s Contribution Back Then.


Editorial: Moving Forward Together Our powerful fighting force renews itself for the challenges ahead.

Just as this edition is dropping into members mailboxes, 1199 will be swearing in hundreds of new Delegates to represent workers in the shops and officers to plan the strategic direction of the Union over the next three years. It is critically important for fresh leaders to be elected regularly by members, to ensure that our movement continues to move forward. That does not mean that we should forget the past, though. We can see how significant the “generational wealth” of this union can be with the historic win at the Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island. Two of the leaders of that campaign, Chris Smalls and Anjelika Maldonado, have mothers who were part of the 1199 family. (See “Paying it Forward” p. 6-7). The union busting consultants employed by Amazon used racist slurs against the ALU organizers to try to divide the workers and undermine their union campaign. It didn't work. Decades of building multi-ethnic coalitions—spearheaded by 1199 alongside other labor allies in New York—inoculated the Amazon workers against such tactics. Young people led the campaign, but one of the key factors in their victory was the movement built by their parents and grandparents in New York City.

president

George Gresham secretary treasurer

Maria Castaneda senior executive vice presidents

Yvonne Armstrong Veronica TurnerBiggs executive vice presidents

Jacqueline Alleyne Lisa Brown Tim Foley Patrick Forde Todd Hobler Antonio Howell Maria Kercado Brian Morse Joyce Neil Rona Shapiro Milly Silva Gregory Speller Nadine Williamson editor

Sarah Wilson art direction and design

Maiarelli Studio photographer

Kim Wessels contributors

Regina Heimbruch

Unfortunately, for corporations, applying these tactics is nothing new. Using racism to divide and conquer workers—sometimes described as “culture wars” when it is employed by extreme right-wing politicians—is one of the oldest tricks in the book. They do this to consolidate their own power. Such schemes do not just threaten union campaigns, though. The racist massacre of 10 innocent shoppers at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, on May 14, is a chilling reminder of just how dangerous the manufacturing of racial divisions for corporate gain have become. The teenage gunman's "manifesto" makes clear that he had been heavily influenced by a white supremacist ideology. The strong parallels between civil rights and economic rights have never been lost on 1199 or its allies. As hundreds of members board busses to travel to Washington DC on June 18th to take part in the next Poor Peoples March convened by Bishop William Barber, we must remember the histor-

1199 Magazine May-June 2022 Vol. 40 No.3 ISSN 2474-7009 Published by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East 498 Seventh Ave, New York, NY 10018 (212) 582-1890 www.1199seiu.org

ical underpinnings of this movement which was originally launched by Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s alongside 1199. (See “1199 Helped Launch First Poor People's Campaign” on p. 2223 for more on the 1969 march.)

Unfortunately, for corporations, using racist slurs to try to divide workers is nothing new. It is one of the oldest tricks in the book. They do this to consolidate their own power.

And as well as continuing our decades-long fight for racial and economic equality, we now see new battles looming in some of the struggles that should have been settled for good. As this issue goes to press, the Supreme Court looks set to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, which guaranteed a pregnant woman's right to choose to have an abortion in all 50 states. Without this federal protection, many states will outlaw abortion, making it very difficult for women who cannot afford to travel to terminate a pregnancy for whatever reason. Like many of the politically motivated changes to the law, this one will be vastly more dangerous for working class women of color. No matter what challenges we face, history and our families teach us, there is no change without struggle. 1199 has grown into a powerful fighting force through struggle and triumph. If we are to continue to wield that power for good, everyone needs to get on board. It's up to all of us, both the old and the young, fighting and working together.

Marlishia Aho Mindy Berman Regina Heimbruch Jenna Jackson JJ Johnson Clemon Richardson 1199 Magazine is published six times a year—January/ February, March/ April, May/June, July/ August, September/ October, November/ December—for $15.00 per year by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers E. 498 Seventh Ave, New York, NY 10018 Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 1199 Magazine, 498 Seventh Ave, New York, NY 10018

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Social Media

@1199SEIU: #RoeVWade is still the law of the land. The right to an abortion is fundamental to one’s reproductive health, overall health, and autonomy. Period.

1199SEIU MARYLAND/DC: We’re celebrating #NursesWeek. To every nurse from RNs to LPNs, thank you! A week is not enough to celebrate the tireless work you do. We honor nurses by continuing to fight for safe staffing ratios to ensure that patients are receiving the quality care they deserve.

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May-June 2022

@1199SEIU: Enjoying our morning coffee with a side of American Labor History. #union #americanhistory #1u #1199seiu

@1199MASS: This is MAJOR! Filaine Deronnette, @1199SEIU’s vice president atlarge, is a part of the Health Equity Compact, ensuring that worker voices are included in this very important work to advance racial equity in the care we provide.

1199SEIU UPSTATE: 1199SEIU members at Anthony Jordan Health Care Center in Rochester voted to ratify a 2-year agreement that includes 100% employer provided health insurance, 4% wage increases, and a recruitment and retention bonus for LPN's. Service workers will now earn no less than $15 per hour. Congratulations!!! #UnionStrong

@1199SEIU: We can confirm that union busting is not the vibes. The most common myth and tactic employers and union busters use is: “We’re a family, we don’t need a union. We’re willing to listen!” A unionizing worker’s response?: “Great! Let’s discuss this at the bargaining table. Seems like we have things we can agree on so let’s put it the contract.” #UnionStrong #1u


It’s Time to Fight for What’s Right We always have and we always will. The President’s Column by George Gresham

When he was murdered in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis supporting a sanitation workers’ strike. This is well known. Less well known is that is that he was in Tennessee to launch his Poor Peoples’ Campaign. This civil disobedience movement for economic justice would culminate in a march and encampment of tens of thousands of unemployed and working poor in Washington, DC just two months later. Dr. King’s views on economic justice have been largely whitewashed from the historical record. Despised by corporate America during his lifetime, this militant fighter for economic, racial and social justice has been neutered by the mass media and leading political figures into little more than a “dreamer.” A halfcentury after his murder, racist Senators now evoke Dr. King to lecture us about “color-blindness.” In fact, here is Dr. King writing right after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Acts had been passed: “The prohibition of barbaric behavior, while beneficial to the victim, does not constitute the attainment of equality or freedom. A man may cease beating his wife without thereby creating a wholesome marital relationship…. The future is more complex. Slums with hundreds of thousands of living units are not eradicated as easily as lunch counters or buses are integrated. Jobs are harder to create than voting rolls. “Certain industries are based upon the supply of low wage, under skilled and immobile

nonwhite labor…[But] our nation is now so rich, so productive, that the continuation of persistent poverty is incendiary because the poor cannot rationalize their deprivation.” That was then. Fast forward to now and the situation is, if anything, worse. When Dr. King was alive, CEO pay averaged 30 times what their employees made; today, CEOs average almost 400 times their workers’ salaries. Four multibillionaires—who are called “oligarchs” in other countries— own more wealth than the bottom 55 percent of American workers. In the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, billionaire wealth has grown by two trillion dollars—this while unemployed and poorly paid workers, unable to afford rent, live in the streets and shelters of our cities. Much of the heavy manufacturing industry and the well-paying union jobs of Dr. King’s time were gutted as corporations moved overseas where they could pay starvation wages to some of the poorest people on earth. Today, five decades later, there are 140 million poor and low-income people in the US. This amounts to 43 percent of the country’s population and 52 percent of our children. To meet this crisis and this challenge, Bishop William Barber has called a Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly— Moral March on Washington and to the Polls this month. Just like Dr King was in the 1960’s, Bishop Barber is a brilliant organizer, a visionary and a good friend of our union today.

“There are abundant resources to meet our needs, and we march to summon the political will to do so.” – Bishop William Barber, Poor People’s Campaign

The initiatives Bishop Barber has helped to start—the Moral Mondays series of protests he began in North Carolina and the Poor People’s Campaign— have motivated legions across the country to engage in demonstrations and peaceful civil disobedience in support of racial, economic and environmental justice as well as the protection of voting rights. He says: “Somebody in every age has to challenge this country to be true to its moral foundation in the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and our deepest religious values.” “There are abundant resources to meet our needs, and we march to summon the political will to do so. It is time to nonviolently disrupt, protest, shake up and alter the direction of our nation towards love, truth, justice and equal protection under the law. We march because any nation that ignores nearly half of its citizens is in a moral, economic and political crisis.” This march is just the beginning. We stand alongside Bishop Barber and we are not stopping. Strap on your marching shoes.

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Paying it Forward How the 1199 mothers of Amazon Labor Union leaders showed them the way.

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May-June 2022

Chris Smalls and Anjelika Maldonado have become household names since they formed a union at the Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island and won the first US election in the giant corporation’s history. The David and Goliath struggle captured the imagination of millions of people around the world. It gave fresh hope to both existing union members and those who were considering organizing unions of their own. It is no accident that the first union victory against Amazon took place in New York. Roughly 20 percent of New York workers belong to a union, which is twice the national average of 10 percent. With 1199SEIU being the largest union in New York City, it is not too surprising that both Chris Smalls and Anjelika Maldonado’s mothers were 1199 members. Dawn Smalls joined 1199 when she started working as a secretary in the hospital formerly known as St Luke’s in Harlem, which is now Mount Sinai Morningside. “I always understood


“1199 was the first thing that made me want to start organizing. Mom never thought that her being in a union would have changed her life and that of many others.” – Anjelika Maldonado, Chair of the Amazon Labor Union organizing committee

the value of being part of a union to negotiate pay and benefits,” she said, “Chris comes from a union family. His grandmother worked at Bergen Regional hospital which was also unionized. We knew what unions meant. If you get in a bind, you will be protected.” Her son did get into a bind when he led a protest in 2020 at the JFK8 Amazon fulfillment center over concerns that working conditions there were liable to lead to the spread of the coronavirus. Amazon fired him. “They don’t know my son,” said Smalls, “He was born on the fourth of July. Christian has always had the personality of ‘I got this’. I believe that people who lead are chosen. He’s very natural with it. I’m beyond proud of him.” When he was invited to attend the US Senate Budget Committee in May, Chris Smalls went headto-head with Senator Lindsey Graham, who was defending corporations who tried to block unionization.

“The people are the ones that make these companies operate. I think it’s in your best interest to realize that it’s not a left or right thing. It is not a Democrat or Republican thing,” said Smalls, “It is a worker’s thing. We’re the ones that are suffering in the corporations that you’re talking about. You should listen because we do represent your constituents as well. The people are the ones that make these corporations go. It is not the other way around.” Smalls reminded the Senators that he was arrested for trespassing while organizing and delivering food to his former co-workers at the JFK8 fulfillment center. Anjelika Maldonado, who chairs the organizing committee for the Amazon Labor Union, was also invited by Bernie Sanders to attend the Senate Committee. “Bernie Sanders is my OG,” said the 27-year-old union leader. “Smalls shut down Lindsey Graham. He had it in his delusional mind that we weren’t

going to be combative.” Maldonado’s mother was also an 1199er. She started out as a Surgical Tech at Montefiore Hospital, where she took advantage of her 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund to become an LPN. Later she studied to become an RN and started work at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx in May. “1199 was the first thing that made me want to start organizing,” says Maldonado, “Mom never thought that her being in a union would have changed her life and that of many others.” Being on her mother’s 1199SEIU healthcare plan for most of her life and knowing about the summer camps and childcare vouchers the union provides, gave Maldonado a big push to organize her co-workers at Amazon. “I work 6.15pm-6.45am three days a week at Amazon, so I can take my son to school,” she adds, “When we were fighting to organize JFK8, I was at Amazon seven days a week. It was the only way for people to believe I was serious.”

 Anjelika Maldonado, Chair of the Amazon Labor Union organizing committee  ALU president, Christian Smalls, speaks at an April 8 press conference in front of Amazon's LDJ5 sorting facility on Staten Island shortly after their historic win at JFK8 distribution center. 1199 Magazine

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Around the Regions

NEW JERSEY

Nursing Home Staffing Still Illegally Low Nursing Home members in New Jersey are raising the alarm that despite ground-breaking legislation which came into effect more than a year ago, the majority of facilities are still running short-staffed. After the COVID-19 pandemic brought the issue of nursing home staffing into sharp-focus, the New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy signed a law requiring that there be one CNA employed for every eight residents. 1199ers who had campaigned hard for such legislation over many years are now warning that it is not being adequately enforced. Anna, a 30-year-veteran of nursing home work told the New Jersey Star Ledger that it is typical for her to be assigned 12 to 15 patients at one time. She has checked the staffing logs on numerous occasions and has found discrepancies between the records sent to the Department of Health and the actual number of

people on site. She did not want her full name or the Middlesex County facility where she works to be named, for fear of retribution. Another 1199 CNA, who has worked for the Cranford Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Union County for 20 years, told the Star Ledger: “I love what I am doing, but the employers make it so hard to do it. How can one person take care of 15 patients?” she asked. The publication analyzed data reported to the state by New Jersey’s more than 350 nursing homes found that nearly 6 in 10 do not meet the requirements of the new state law. “[Management] will say the patient ratio quota is low. It’s baloney,” said a third 1199 CNA

who works in Middlesex County, “I think management is aware of the law and the fines and consequences behind it. I believe they are finding a way around it.” The lack of adequate staff affects the quality of care for residents, she added. “I felt so bad, this one patient had a knot in her hair. I tried to help her. But she hadn’t had a shower,” she said. “The CNAs don’t have enough time to get them into the showers.” Milly Silva, the 1199SEIU Secretary-Treasurer, said: “The industry will say it has been regulated enough, but the experience with COVID demonstrates they have not been regulated enough. It speaks to an industry that too often has chosen profit over patient care.”

 Members picket Complete Care at Marcella Center in Burlington Twp., to support a coworker unjustly terminated for union activity. (He was later reinstated.).

The New Jersey Star Ledger analyzed data reported to the state by New Jersey’s more than 350 nursing homes found that nearly 6 in 10 do not meet the requirements of the new state law.

PCAs in MA Celebrate a 12 percent wage increase The 1199 bargaining unit of nearly 60,000 Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) in Massachusetts—who do the work of Home Care in that state—have negotiated a tentative agreement including their largest ever wage increase in a single year. The new contract maintains a 10% pandemic premium to keep the starting wage at $17.71, which was set to expire on June 30, 2022. The rate will increase further to $17.80 on January 1, 2023, and $18 on April 1, 2023. The contract also includes anti-discrimination language including the formation of a joint racial justice committee to look at and address ongoing inequities within the PCA program for workers and consumers. This committee will report to the Labor Management Committee and the PCA Workforce Council for implementation. 8

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 Personal Care Attendants negotiate significantly higher wages in Massachusetts.


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

FLORIDA/MASSACHUSETTS

Help for Haitian Refugees Worsening gang violence and kidnappings in Haiti—caused largely by economic mismanagement which can be traced back to the colonial period—has prompted a growing number of Haitian refugees to risk their lives to flee to the United States. But the situation when they arrive in this country is far from secure. 1199 members and staff, many of whom are of Haitian descent themselves, collectively raised $56,873 to help Haitian refugees who have made it to Florida and Massachusetts. The money was divided between three churches and a North Miami community organization, Sant La. In Massachusetts, L’Eglise de Dieu Lumiere et Vie in Malden and the Eglise Evangelique Bethel le Rocher in Dorchester each received $10,000 with a further $10,00 distributed to the Peniel Haitian Baptist Church in Lake Worth, Florida. The remaining $26,873 was donated to Sant La.

NEW YORK

Northern Westchester Contract Win

Members at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt Kisco, New York, unanimously voted to ratify their second contract including the ‘gold standard’

League benefits on May 12. Since the facility was taken over by Northwell Health, the bargaining committee argued that members are entitled to the same wages and benefits as the rest of the hospital system. Despite all the dedication and sacrifice that 1199ers endured during the COVID-19 pandemic, management was determined to drive a hard bargain. But the Union was even tougher. After months of intense bargaining and taking to the streets for an informational picket, members won wage parity with League minimum rates. The employer-paid 1199 Health, Pension, Training, Job Security and Child Care Funds were also included in the contract.

 Members in Florida present a check to support the North Miami community organization, Sant La, which is helping newly arrived Haitian refugees.

 Northern Westchester members in Mt Kisco, NY, picket during contract negotiations.

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Around the Regions

NEW YORK

Call for Cryptocurrency mining moratorium

1199 has voted to support a moratorium on the extremely energyintensive cryptocurrency mining operations that have been rapidly increasing in New York State. As former coal and gas-fired power sources have been shuttered in Upstate New York, many of their sites have been converted into computer warehouses for cryptocurrency mining, which themselves emit tons of carbon waste —speeding up climate change. Malcolm Olaker, an 1199SEIU nursing home member at the Pines at Poughkeepsie supported the moratorium at a coalition press conference at the State Capitol in Albany, saying: “Many 1199 members live in the shadows of power plants and, as healthcare workers, care deeply about the air we breathe and climate change. New York state should support and encourage industries

that create good jobs and contribute to the community. We strongly support this moratorium and urge New York public officials to build an economy that protects the environment and works for all New Yorkers.” Todd Hobler, 1199SEIU Executive Vice President for Western and Upstate New York, adds: “New York is host to about 20% of all cryptocurrency mining operations in the United States. There is no public benefit to New Yorkers for using large amounts of our valuable energy resources to generate profit for a small number of wealthy private equity investors. “As a union of healthcare workers, many of whom live in low-income communities most effected by climate change, pollution, and health inequities, we believe that ending industrial crypto mining is important to protecting the wellbeing of all New Yorkers.”

Regina Heimbruch

Members endorse Maura Healey for MA Governor Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts, has won the members’ endorsement in her bid to become the state’s next governor. In a state where 58,000 Personal Care Attendants represented by 1199 negotiate their contracts directly with the governor’s office, the person who holds that office is very important. The members� endorsement is not just a public declaration— their support for Healey will include talking to and mobilizing coworkers, friends and family to vote for her in November. In a meeting with members, Healey said: “I want to give a shout out to all of you because for far too long you have borne the disproportionate burden of systemic racism, of injustice and marginalization. I understand the critical importance of treating our workers around this state with dignity and respect. You will get that from me as Governor.” 10

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 Nursing home member Joanne Edmond, left and Nicole Barbel, a member from Falmouth Hospital, right, show their support for 1199-endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Maura Healey.


THE WORK WE DO FOOD & NUTRITION

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Between them, the 125 staff members who work in the Food and Nutrition department at Maimonides Medical Center in South Brooklyn serve roughly 500 meals a day, both at the bedside and in the cafeteria. The hospital complex is the largest in Brooklyn, the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs. Throughout the pandemic these dedicated 1199 members showed up to work every day, risking their lives to serve their patients just like thousands of other healthcare workers across the city. However, these food service members, along with those who work in environmental services and transport, were excluded from the $3,000 bonuses for New York healthcare workers announced by Governor Kathy Hochul in her March 2022 budget. The Union has launched a campaign to force an expansion of these bonuses to these excluded workers under the slogan Respect Us All, Protect Us All, Pay Us All.

1. Wendel Rigaud is the First Cook at Maimonides, which means he’s the second in command in the kitchen after the chef. “About 70 percent of our patient population are Jewish, so we have a team of rabbis to guide us in preparing kosher meals,” he explains. “The hospital is building a second kitchen now, which we hope to move into this summer. That should make it easier for us to prepare a wider variety of food.”

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THE WORK WE DO

2. Julio Alix, Secretary 3, works in the back office doing payroll for the more than 125 people employed in Food and Nutrition, which includes the kitchens, cafeteria and a kiosk selling cappuccino and light snacks that was recently opened in the nearby Maimonides Doctors Pavilion. Alix also manages the paperwork for long-term leave. “Since the pandemic,” says Alix, “several staff have had to take long breaks from work.” 3. “I worked here all throughout the pandemic,” says Dwight Wilson, a Dietitian Assistant. “I volunteered to go into patients’ rooms to bring them food. I saw myself in them and knew I would want someone to help me. I was a little nervous at the beginning, but I never tested positive.” When the vaccines came out last year, Wilson got his shot from the first batch on December 18th and then went on to convince other members to get vaccinated, too.

“I volunteered to go into patients’ rooms to bring them food. I saw myself in them and knew I would want someone to help me.” – Dwight Wilson, Dietitian Assistant

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“One of my friends here inspired me to become an 1199 Delegate. At the time, it was all very new to me as I had never been in a union before.” 4

– Claudia Bowen-Hosten, Team Leader of Food & Nutrition and 1199SEIU Delegate

4. After working at Maimonides for a few years, Claudia Bowen-Hosten, the Team Leader of Food & Nutrition, recalls: “One of my friends here inspired me to become an 1199 Delegate. At the time, it was all very new to me as I had never been in a union before. She showed me that you have to read the contract, or management will ask you to do things that are not in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Being a Union Delegate makes me feel empowered.” 5. “My job is to look after patients who don’t eat solid food—the people who are on feeding tubes,” says Evelyn Asomaning, a Food Service Worker. “I make sure [each patient] has the right mix of nutrition for their condition. “It was hectic here during the pandemic. I was very worried about bringing the virus home to my husband who is elderly. I also have children and grandchildren living in the house, so I would take off my clothes outside the apartment. My daughter did catch COVID19, but she was okay.”

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OUR MEMBERS

A Hand Up How the 1199SEIU Credit Union brings members back to financial health.

When family emergency strikes, most people will spend whatever it takes to get them through the tough times and worry about paying the bills later. Like so many 1199 families during the pandemic, Fatima Batista’s family had to deal with multiple tragedies. Two of her uncles—on both her mother’s and her father’s side—were taken by the COVID-19 virus. With her parents still living in the Dominican Republic, and unable to travel because of the pandemic, it fell to Batista to take on the responsibilities associated with bringing her uncles’ bodies back to their homeland for burial. As an 1199 Research Specialist in the clinical office at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, Batista was living paycheck to paycheck. Luckily, she had joined the 1199SEIU Credit Union a few years before. “It was not until this year that I decided I needed help though,” says Batista, “I realized that I was drowning here.” A single mother of a sevenyear-old daughter, she did not qualify for any government help with food or rent. “I’m so thankful for the Credit Union because working people need help too— especially single parents who don’t have that extra support,” she adds. With the help of a $4,000 loan, Batista was able to catch up with her rent and begin to improve her credit score, so that she can buy a home. Credit Union staff were also able to cut her car note in half from $500 to $250 by negotiating a better interest rate. “They really are working for members—finding ways of getting them out of debt, not just get their money. There is really no reason to go to a bank, or even worse, a payday 14

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“They really are working for members. Finding ways of getting them out of debt, not just get their money. There is really no reason to go to a bank, or even worse, a payday lender.” – Fatima Batista, 1199 Research Specialist, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx

 Fatima Batista, an 1199 Research Specialist, Montefiore Medical Center, the Bronx.


 Elida Leon Castro, an 1199 CNA, BronxCare Health System, the Bronx.

lender,” says Batista. Elida Leon Castro, an 1199 CNA at BronxCare Health System, agrees. “After the pandemic, I was three months behind on my rent and facing losing my apartment. It had been particularly hard to manage all the bills on my own since I got divorced,” she explains. Then she herself got COVID-19 and didn’t have any sick time left, because she had used it all up earlier in the year when she had surgery. Castro was down with the virus for two months, but her wages stopped after the first two weeks. “If it wasn’t for a loan from the Credit Union, I don’t know what I would have done,” she says. But it is not just a safety net

for unexpected expenses. The Credit Union can help members with financial planning too. Jose Paneto, an 1199 Electrician at Mt Sinai Health System for the past 14 years, lives in Washington Heights with his two daughters aged 5 and 11. “We really needed a two-bedroom for my daughters,” explains Paneto adding, “I ended up getting my car refinanced too. It was almost 10 percent interest through the dealer compared with 3.25 per cent with the Credit Union. I’m now paying $100 a month less on my car. “My mother is in 1199 and people at work told me about the credit union. A lot of members don’t know about it.”

Norman Glanzman, an 1199 Activities Aide at the Sands Point Center for Health and Rehabilitation in Port Washington on Long Island, had always wanted to join a credit union. “It is very hard to get an unsecured personal loan at other banks,” he says, “and you can’t keep $5,000 on account when you are living on a paycheck as a regular worker. The 1199SEIU Credit Union offers a lot better options for your money without extra fees and costs. They are also extremely nice and helpful, and they work with you.” You can contact the 1199SEIU Federal Credit Union at 212-957-1055 or memberservices@1199federalcu. org.”

“My mother is in 1199 and people at work told me about the credit union. A lot of members don’t know about it.” – Elida Leon Castro, 1199 CNA, BronxCare Health System

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OUR MEMBERS

Celebrating

AAPI Members As the country commemorated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, the Union took the opportunity to honor the thousands of AAPI members in its ranks. Across the US, some 1.4 million AAPI people work in frontline healthcare, making a vital contribution to our nation’s healthcare needs. Despite representing 6.5 percent of the total US population, 8.5 percent of all healthcare workers are from the AAPI community, including 1 in every 11 nurses. Asian Americans are also the fastest growing ethnic group of eligible voters in the country. Recognizing this, AAPI members in 1199 are actively building power to make change in the up-coming midterm elections. At the 1199 headquarters in Manhattan, a gallery of photos was hung to celebrate the Unions AAPI members and their achievements. We have reproduced a selection of these photos here.

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1. James Cyprian I came over to New York with my wife about 13 years ago and we now live in an area of Brooklyn known as ‘Little Pakistan’. Being part of the Christian community in an Islamic country was not easy. I was working as a journalist in Pakistan, and I no longer felt safe. Minority communities in Pakistan do face discrimination. Here in the US, I’m working as a Home Health Aide with the Personal Touch agency, looking after an 86-year-old man. I also continue my journalism here. 2. Imelda Ababone As a Filipina 1199er living in the United States, my heritage is very important to me. Working as a Dietary Aide at the Alaris Health Nursing Home in Hamilton Park, New Jersey, I think it's important to represent all of yourself and have pride in who you are. I have remained active in politics in the Phillipines as well as in my union here.

3. Vishally Ahmed I came over to the US from Guyana in South America when I was 10 years old and became a US citizen at age 16. I went into Home Care during a stressful period in my life. As a newly single mother with two kids to support the flexible hours were great. A little over ten years later, I became a union delegate at the Stella Orton Agency in Staten Island. I also work as a CNA at Richmond University Medical Center. Political action is also important to me. I went up to Albany recently to demand a permanent wage increase for home care members. I also went to the big climate change rallies in both Washington DC and NYC. There is a lot of risk from climate change back in Guyana. I remember that my father worked as a mechanic for logging companies there and he used to go away for months at a time. We had no union benefits at home. Everything had to be paid for in cash out of our own pockets. I’m so thankful to be in the US because of the education benefits. As a single Mom with kids aged 19 and 21, that’s important.

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“I think it's important to represent all of yourself and have pride in who you are.” – Imelda Ababone

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Celebrating

AAPI Members

4. Nancy Hoàng My immediate and extended family became refugees in the 1990s as a result of the American War on Southeast Asia (SEA). Though the Fall of Saigon was in 1975, the lasting effects of militarization and colonization on Vietnam and surrounding SEA countries continue to be seen and felt in present day. I am deeply connected to my Vietnamese heritage and am proud to also be a first-generation college graduate in my family as well. That accomplishment is as much my parents' as it is my own. I now work in Gift Planning at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and am on the bargaining committee negotiating the first contract for the New York City-office union. I also co-chair the Alliance: AAPI Employee Resource Group (ERG) at PPFA, which offers me an opportunity be an advocate for AAPI staff needs and concerns. Believe us, share our stories, uplift our concerns in spaces where we are not. Be intentional and purposeful in your allyship.

5. Wang Wong I am originally from China, but I have lived in the US for many years and worked at the same store in Brooklyn for 37 years now —first it was Pathmark, then Rite Aid and now Walgreens. At one point they wanted to promote me from Staff Pharmacist to Pharmacy Manager, about ten years ago, but I did not want to be taken out of the union. I wanted to hold onto the pension we had. Also, my daughter was bed-ridden after contracting meningitis at age 3, so my benefits were very important to the family. She passed away three years ago, aged 21. My wife took exceptional care of her throughout her life. She was a great blessing in our lives. Our two other daughters are now living in Philadelphia. One is an international lawyer, and the other is a Certified Public Accountant.

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“I am deeply connected to my Vietnamese heritage and am proud to also be a first-generation college graduate in my family as well. That accomplishment is as much my parents' as it is my own.” – Nancy Hoàng

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May-June 2022

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 Doreen Barnett, shows the books she’s authored.

It is How You Tell It 1199 member writes child-friendly stories to help kids overcome their fears.

Doreen Barnett believes that most childhood fears can be overcome if parents simply devote a little bit of time to providing age-appropriate explanations. And for those parents who might be at a loss for words, Barnett has written a series of children’s books based on conversations she had with her own son, Curtis, when he was young. Parents looking for bedtime stories with a message can choose from six Barnett books, all with her son’s name in the title: Curtis Daycare, Curtis Goes to the Doctor’s Office, Curtis Goes to the Market, Curtis and Friends are Getting Fit, Curtis is a Big Brother Now, and Curtis Getting New Glasses.

But in her spare time, Barnett has been carrying on the storytelling tradition her parents brought from their native Jamaica. “My parents would talk to me and my four brothers until they were blue in the face,” says Barnett, who grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She adds, “Too many parents think their children will do something just because they tell them to do it. But then, the children will still have this fear. I didn’t have it, and I did not want it for my son.” Her books, she said, came out of the way she raised Curtis, who is now 28 and works as a chef when he is not chief operating officer at the publishing company she created, Barnett Books.

By day, Barnett works at New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Audubon clinic as a Certified Medical Assistant, taking a patient’s vitals, drawing blood, measuring newborn babies, and performing pregnancy tests.

“Even when he was a child, I would talk to him and try to explain things to him like he was an adult,” she said. Barnett said too many parents don’t prepare their children for new situations and experiences like the first

time in daycare; instead they just “throw them to the wolves” without preparation. Her books are written in simple, colorful and entertaining language “so kids can understand the words and read them back to their parents or to themselves,” Barnett said. Words that might be difficult for the target audience of pre-school and elementary school readers to understand are “broken down and defined so the kids can see what they mean,” she said. Barnett adds that 1199 played a big role in getting her writing career off the ground. She received two $5000 personal loans from the 1199SEIU Credit Union, since repaid in full, which allowed her to self-publish her books. “This union is the best,” Barnett said. “When they are not taking care of me health and job wise, it is helping me achieve my dream. A lot of people don’t get that chance.” “But 1199 did that for me.”

“Too many parents think their children will do something just because they tell them to do it. But then the children will still have this fear. I did not want it for my son.” – Doreen Barnett

1199 Magazine

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Escaping

Ukraine One 1199 member’s family describes what it feels like to flee for their lives.

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May-June 2022

Annabelle Heckler & Tsira Akhobadze

Hanna Duda has been an 1199 homecare worker with the Personal Touch agency for 22 years, since she first arrived in New York from Ukraine. She became a US citizen as soon as she could and quickly applied for family-sponsored visas for her daughters, Liliya Kupchyshyna and Halyna Palis. It took ten years for her youngest daughter, Palis, to be allowed to join her. “It was easier for me, because I was unmarried and had no children at the time,” says Duda’s daughter Palis, who came to the US in 2010. For her older sister Kupchyshyna, it was a tougher process because she had a family. She finally got her exit interview


in November 2021, and her documents were received at the end of January 2022, right before the war started. Kupchyshyna was already planning to leave when the bombs began dropping on February 24. “We heard rumors that something could happen, but we didn’t really believe it; we weren’t prepared. When it started, military regulations were immediate, airports shut down, and we couldn’t go anywhere. The country was at war,” she said. Her mother, Duda, adds: “I could never imagine that I would witness anything like this being done to my country of origin. I'm grateful to God and the US that my children and grandchildren have been given a chance to escape a life filled with sounds of sirens, bombings and explosions.” When the war began, Kupchyshyna was living in Western Ukraine, close to border of Romania and Moldova, away from the intense bombing at the capital. “I tried to help friends who were in the central part of Ukraine, which was damaged the worst. I worked to find shelter and aid for them where I was, since it was safer. Normally, it would take five hours to get from Kiev to my city, but [after the invasion] it took 48-50 hours because a lot of people were trying to escape, the traffic jams were incredible, folks had to wait several hours on a line to cross the border into Poland,” Kupchyshyna said. The escape itself was fraught with danger. “[The Russian military] would break their rules,” recalls Kupchyshyna. “They would say that there was a [humanitarian corridor] for evacuation and give a three-hour window. But then, they would only let people out for 30 minutes and then try to kill anyone else that tried to escape through that route. People couldn’t trust what they said.” With help from Palis and

Duda in the US, Kupchyshyna was able to reach Poland with her two daughters on March 6. A week later they were on their way to New York. However, she had to leave her husband behind. “Ukrainian law says all men ages 18-65 have to stay in the Ukraine during war time, to potentially be drafted.” Life has been different for both sisters, especially for Kupchyshyna since she arrived. “I used to work as an immigration officer in the Ukraine, Kupchyshyna says, then in the US, I became a stay-athome mom, helping my daughter with her online schooling and taking care of my father.” She has just found a job working at S&A Unified Home Care agency as a coordinator. Despite everything, Palis is hopeful about the future of Ukraine. “We believe in us and in our people. We are strong and are ready to fight. We have a rich culture and history and know our achievements. Thanks to our strength, the USA and other European countries, we will win, hopefully it’ll be over in several months, but we’ll win.”

“[The Russian military] would say that there was a [humanitarian corridor] for evacuation and give a three-hour window. But then they would only let people out for 30 minutes and then try to kill anyone else that tried to escape through that route.” – Liliya Kupchyshyna

 (L-R) Halyna Palis, Hanna Duda, and Liliya Kupchyshyna are finally reunited.

← 1199SEIU workers are raising funds for Razom for Ukraine, a charity on the frontlines providing humanitarian relief. Support the displaced people in Ukraine with a donation by visiting this link

1199 Magazine

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OUR HISTORY

1199 Helped Launch First

Poor People’s Campaign The 1969 Charleston strike was a key milestone.

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May-June 2022

Weeks before his death in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed 1199’s Salute to Freedom Celebration at which he praised the Union for its “labor power plus soul power” strategy. Dr. King also called for a “massive civil disobedience campaign against economic inequality.” The highlight of the campaign, Dr. King stated, would be a huge gathering that summer of the poor in Washington DC. Within weeks of making that speech, Dr. King was gunned down while helping low-paid Memphis sanitation workers in


“We had decided that [economic justice] was the next frontier of the civil rights movement.” – Southern Christian Leadership Conference literature

their fight for fair wages, better conditions and union recognition. Just two months later, some 600 members of 1199 attended the Washington Poor People’s March from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. The following October, 1199 announced the formation of the National Organizing Committee of Hospital and Nursing Home Employees, with Coretta Scott King as its honorary chairperson. Some months later in 1969, the Union helped to write another important chapter in the Poor People’s Campaign when it came to the assistance of some 450 workers at two Charleston, South Carolina hospitals. The workers had struck to win the reinstatement of 12 unjustly fired workers and to win union recognition. The strikers, all African American and 90 percent women, worked at the Medical College Hospital of the University of South Carolina (MCH) and at the smaller Charleston County Hospital. They were led by Mary Moultrie, an MCH nurse’s aide whose LPN certification was not recognized primarily because of her race. The racism and sexism suffered by the workers was typical of subordination in the town. In 1969, MCH had no Black physicians or nursing school students, yet virtually all lowpaid staffers were Black. Many hospital workers earned just $1.30 an hour. The 1970 census found that 40 percent of Black Charleston families lived below the poverty level. Although 32 percent of South Carolinians were African American, not one Black state legislator had been elected since Reconstruction. Less than 60 percent of eligible Black voters were registered to vote. As part of its Poor People’s

Campaign, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), led by the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (who had succeeded Dr. King as SCLC’s head) joined hands with 1199 in the fight. The move was consistent with the organization’s new emphasis on economic justice. “We had decided that was the next frontier of the civil rights movement,” SCLC’s literature read. By the third week of April, Charleston had become the scene of mass meetings, daily marches, multiple evening rallies in churches and union halls, and boycotts of stores and schools. More than 1,000 Union supporters were arrested. The highlight of the campaign was a Mother’s Day march of 10,000 Charlestonians, along with major national leaders like Walter Reuther, president of the United Autoworkers, and Coretta Scott King. Hundreds of New York 1199ers took part.

went on to organize some 7,000 Maryland workers and thousands more in major cities. The tradition of standing up for economic and racial justice lives on to this day. In recent years, 1199’s leaders, members and retirees have worked closely with Bishop William J. Barber, both nationally and in his home state of North Carolina, most notably in the Poor People’s Campaign led by Bishop. Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis. Members have been mobilizing for months for the June 18th Mass Poor People’s & LowWage Workers’ Assembly & Moral March on Washington D.C. As the 1199 Magazine went to press, hundreds of members had signed up for Union busses, to make sure their voices would again be heard in the nation’s capital.

 Jeremiah Mitchell, the son of a South Carolina member and picket captain, sports an 1199 hat in the 1960s.  Dr Martin Luther King Jr looks over the program ahead of delivering his remarks at 1199’s Salute to Freedom celebration in 1968, shortly before he was assassinated. Standing behind him is Henry Nicholas, an 1199 organizing director.

Afraid that the battle might spread, the Nixon administration pressured MCH to rehire the 12 fired workers and other strikers, and to establish a grievance procedure and a credit union. Although the agreement did not include Union recognition, Charleston would no longer be the same. In the strike’s aftermath, voting registration skyrocketed, voters elected its first two African American legislators in decades. And Black representation on the City Council jumped from one to six in the subsequent 10 years. “We won this strike because of a wonderful marriage—the marriage of SCLC and Local 1199,” said Andrew Young, an SCLC leader at the time, and a future UN ambassador and Atlanta mayor. With the campaign, 1199 had solidified its image as a civil-rights Union. 1199 soon established a beachhead in Baltimore and 1199 Magazine

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Bargaining Committee member Nancy Hoàng, who works in Gift Planning at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, proudly displays her 1199 Union pin. See page 16.

1199 Magazine

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