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1199ers get out the vote for Biden/Harris

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Respect for NYU Winthrop Workers

The Purple Army

A Proud History in Presidential Campaigns

WE ARE BUILDING AN AMERICA FOR ALL

September-October 2020

A Journal of 1199SEIU September-October 2020


CONTENTS

We must vote like our lives depend on it.

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7 5 The President’s Column The future of our planet depends on our vote. 6 Around the Regions Niagara Falls Memorial staffing fight; New Jersey wage bill victory; MD/DC contract win, and more.

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@1199seiu www.1199seiu.org 2

1199 Magazine September-October 2020 Vol. 38, No. 5 ISSN 2474-7009 Published by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East 498 Seventh Ave, New York, NY 10018 (212) 582-1890 www.1199seiu.org

Editorial: We Are Just A Few Days Away From November 3

September-October 2020

8 One Accord at NYU Winthrop Mega-system workers support LI sisters and brothers in their fight for respect. 9 Institution Spotlight Lenox Hill Neighborhood House

10 Members Mobilize For Biden/Harris Issues are driving activism across the Union.

19 From the Control Room to the Emergency Room After a long career in TV news, Vinnie Ioele became an RN.

12 VOTE Special pullout poster.

20 Fifty Years of Activism CNA mobilizes Floridians to protect workers’ rights.

14 America For All Learn more about our platform and ways to get involved in the election. 15 The Work We Do Vassar Brothers Medical Center Maintenance and Engineering Dept. 18 Grit & Grace Union membership got Florida surgical tech Linda White through COVID-driven financial insecurity.

21 Our History 1199ers’ activism makes history in presidential campaigns. 23 The Last Word Jacob Blake’s uncle asserts why united movements are necessary for change.

Did you vote? Doesn’t matter how – mail ballot, in person, early vote. Whichever. Just, have you voted? And, second, have you talked to your family and friends—specifically, three of them—about voting. If not, you should. Today. The fancy term is vote tripling, but really it just means that you’re making sure three people you know have voted or are going to vote. 1199ers know how to get out a vote. We know how elections work and the consequences of apathy. Throughout our history, 1199ers’ power has made the difference in numerous elections and awakened political and labor activists who’ve led movements that resulted in real, concrete change for tens of thousands in healthcare and other workers. Just recently, we saw an incredible victory in New Jersey around nursing home staffing and minimum wages for certified nursing assistants and national recognition of our alltoo-often forgotten homecare workers. None of that would have been possible without educated member-leaders who understood their political power and how to use it. Right now, we’re just a few days away from the Presidential Election. For the last few months, 1199ers across our union have been mobilized to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and other worker-friendly candidates. They’re using new digital tools and skills, often learned on the fly, so they can connect with workers and voters all across the country. You can join them. Talk to your organizer or delegate, or go to www.AmericaForAll2020.org. In none of our lifetimes have the stakes been higher. It’s hard to imagine how much more difficult life will be for millions of us if the current occupant of the White House is re-elected. Lately, three states have been on fire, at least one is drowning, and much of the rest of the country is either choking on smoke or fending off spiking coronavirus case numbers. Add to that police shootings, white supremacist terrorism, and the forced sterilization of women migrants illegally detained in ICE camps.

president

George Gresham secretary treasurer

Maria Castaneda executive vice presidents

Jacqueline Alleyne Yvonne Armstrong Lisa Brown Tim Foley Patrick Forde Ruth Heller Antonio Howell Maria Kercado Steve Kramer Joyce Neil Monica Russo Rona Shapiro Milly Silva Gregory Speller Veronica TurnerBiggs Nadine Williamson editor

Patricia Kenney director of photography

Jim Tynan art direction and design

Maiarelli Studio cover photo

Jim Tynan contributors

April Ezzell Regina Heimbruch JJ Johnson Erin Rojas Yvonne Slosarski Desiree Taylor

Mitch Blunt

You get the picture. Election Day is approaching. We are faced with the possibility of re-electing a national “leadership” that’ll continue to spray us with a firehose of lies, dismantle our institutions, and reverse every bit of progress we’ve made as working people. You can do something about it. You can get involved. You can get your co-workers and family members involved. You can make phone calls and send text messages. You can talk to people in your community about issues like education, immigration, racial justice, health care and labor rights. You can make sure we elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who will rebuild our country into an America that works for us all.

1199 Magazine is published six times a year—January/ February, March/ April, May/June, July/ August, September/ October, November/ December—for $15.00 per year by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East 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

1199 Magazine 3


Letters & Social Media REST IN POWER, JUSTICE GINSBURG s we get ready to help elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House this November, we should all let our work be guided by the spirit of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her loss on September 15 was a sad moment for our nation and everyone who believes in equality, justice and progress for working people. Ahead of her time, Justice Ginsburg was an early model for working women and for generations of girls whose professional and academic aspirations had for too long been overshadowed by those of their male counterparts. “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exceptions,” “The Notorious RBG” once said in an interview. I could not agree more! Justice Ginsburg was as devoted to her basic principles as she was to her family. Her brilliance and wisdom were the key to several landmark Supreme Court decisions – as well as for a number of eloquent ardent dissents – both of which urged America ever onward toward our potential as a more perfect union. Justice Ginsburg upheld the progressive values that underpin the “gorgeous mosaic” that is the United States at its best. With a steel spine and an intellect to match, Justice Ginsburg ushered in new eras of freedom and justice for women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, disabled people, and many more. As we now work to get our country back on track, let’s remember Justice Ginsburg and her wise advice: “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” In honor of your memory, Justice Ginsburg, we will fight for what is right. And we will work to join with others to rebuild our country into one that works for us all.

@1199SEIU: “Our results suggest healthcare worker unionization may play an important role in ensuring access to appropriate PPE and implementing infection control policies that protect vulnerable nursing home residents.” https://t. co/5uPmXNAfe7?amp=1

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@1199SEIU: We mourn the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a trailblazer whose resolute courage and dedication equipped her to serve justice that challenged antiquated norms and opened doors that had long been closed to so many. Her passing must challenge us all to fight diligently for those who believe they have no voice, and help them understand that true change and freedom are indeed within their reach. May she rest in power.

@1199SEIUFLORIDA: The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the financial hardships long-term care workers face due to low wages. We can change this by electing @joebiden and @kamalaharris because they support raising the minimum wage, expanding access to affordable healthcare and other policies that uplift working families. #WeCareForFL @1199seiu

Deborah Friedland Retiree, Merrick, NY MAY RBG’S MEMORY BE A BLESSING wanted to share my words we as try to wrap our hearts and minds around this sad and devastating loss. I understand that since Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Rosh Hashanah it is a sign that she is a righteous person. Most righteous RBG enhanced the world we live in and may our memories of her be a blessing and continue to inspire us to not give up on the matters we believe in. We will be tested by the timing of her passing, but we will now often ask ourselves: what would RBG do? Our collective hope for change is stronger now as we honor and celebrate the life of RBG.

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Gwynne Wilcox 1199SEIU Counsel, New York, NY 4

September-October 2020

@1199SEIU: #COVID forced the 2020 @seiu_org Convention to be held virtually, but 1199ers stay ready! From MA to FL we are excited to do the work of our union! #americaforall #unionsforall #1199seiu #seiu

MARGARET BOYCE TESTIFYING 1199SEIU New Jersey: Today, 1199 delegate and CNA Margaret Boyce gave powerful testimony at a joint hearing in front of NJ legislators. Check out her testimony in the video below! “As a nursing home worker, you feel invisible. People think you have a dirty job. And in this pandemic, we’ve learned that to some people, our lives don’t matter that much... We need major change in this industry, starting with better pay and better staffing.”

Election Day is Only Days Away The future of our planet and our human family is at stake. The President’s Column by George Gresham

As I write this, our country has suffered more than seven million Covid-19 cases and more than 200,000 deaths—far more than any other country. A University of Washington study estimates that, with winter impending and declining public vigilance, we may surpass 400,000 fatalities by the end of the year. Now consider this: Canada, with strict public health protocols in place, has had a total of 140,000 cases and 9,000 deaths. It’s true that the United States has a much larger population than Canada. But China, which has four times as many people as the United States, has had only 85,000 cases and 4,700 deaths. The United States averages over 1,000 deaths a day, every day, for months. France has 30 deaths in a day; Germany, only nine. Simply put, Donald Trump has been criminally negligent. Because of his lies, denials and failure to lead, he is responsible for tens of thousands of American deaths—many more than were killed in the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. He should be imprisoned. We voters can’t do that. But we can remove Trump from office on November 3. Eight months into the pandemic, we still have no national policy on masks, on sheltering in place, on any of the public health measures that scores of other countries have used to control the coronavirus. And now we are entering flu season, winter, and what most experts expect will be a second even bigger wave of COVID19. Who but we healthcare workers will be expected to be on the front lines providing care, comfort, support and expertise to what will likely be millions of additional patients? We must win the election on November 3 and drive Trump out of office. The future of our human family and our planet are at stake.

Aside from the pandemic, the climate crisis is also becoming catastrophic. Droughts are more severe. Rivers are flooding. Sea levels are rising. Much of this country’s west is ablaze. Trump simply rejects the reality that the climate crisis is upending our world and, if unaddressed, will spell the end of human civilization as we know it. We are also in the midst of an insanely active hurricane season: in late September there were five storm systems active in the Atlantic, and the Weather Service had already used every name on this year’s list except one. Six of the 20 largest wildfires in California’s history have burned this year, and the fire season is just getting underway. The wildfires have followed a catastrophic heat wave that fits well within a longstanding trend. This election is essentially a choice between the possibility of a habitable planet and the certainty of an uninhabitable one. We all know this guy will not do a damned thing about environmental threats as long as he lives. And he won’t be around to see the worst of the consequences. But our children and grandchildren will. Trump has completely corrupted our immigration system, the Justice Department, and the Department of Education with white supremacists, while stacking our federal courts— including the Supreme Court—with ultra-rightwing bigots. He gives encouragement to heavily armed gangs of racist thugs. U.S. democracy cannot simply survive another four years of Trump in the White House. Every indication is that Donald Trump will try to steal this election. He has already attacked early voting and crippled the postal system’s ability to deliver mail ballots in a timely fashion. He has said he will not accept the results if he is not the declared winner and has also talked about declaring martial law. He has

said that he will call upon “his” judges to declare him the victor. We must block Trump’s ability to make that power grab by turning out in overwhelming numbers to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I am appealing to you, sisters and brothers, VOTE! Most states allow early voting, so you don’t even have to wait for November 3. Please take advantage of early voting if you can. And if that’s not possible, absolutely make sure to vote on Election Day. Each of you, even if you are not eligible to vote, can volunteer to get out the vote. Please talk to your co-workers. Call your adult family members, your friends, your neighbors, the folks with whom you worship to make sure they also vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. If you have friends and family in other states, please call them, too. And urge them to vote and also take back the United States Senate by electing the Democratic candidates. Everything we hold dear is at stake. I have full confidence in your willingness and ability to do your part in these next days to secure our country, our planet, and our children’s future.

“I am appealing to you, sisters and brothers, VOTE! Most states allow early voting, so you don’t have to wait for November 3. Please take advantage of early voting if you can. And if that’s not possible, absolutely make sure to vote on Election Day.”

1199 Magazine 5


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

Around the Regions

Kim Wessels Photo

NEW YORK

National Homecare Day Kicks Off Labor Day Weekend 1199SEIU members gathered Sept. 4 to mark National Homecare Day and recognize the contributions and challenges faced by homecare workers across the country. There are nearly a

half million homecare workers in the U.S. 1199SEIU represents 60,000 in New York State and another 40,000 who work as Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) in Massachusetts. 1199ers have also been involved in efforts like Healthcare Workers Rising, an initiative that gives unorganized homecare workers a voice and provides support in areas with lower union density, like Upstate New York. At the pre-Labor Day event in Yonkers, New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea StewartCousins joined home health aides at the Accent Care Agency to issue a proclamation citing homecare workers’ grace and professionalism. “Homecare workers do some of the most important frontline health care work in our communities… and perform their duties with grace and professionalism,” Stewart-Cousins said in the proclamation. “These compassionate workers provide essential direct, hands-on care— such as bathing, dressing, toileting, preparing meals, administering medications and in-home treatments, and companionship­—that endure so that New York’s parents, grandparents and loved ones with disability can live independently at home.” Accent Care Aide Janet Pacas thanked Senator Stewart-Cousins while

In Maryland, Fayette Members Win Big With New Contract Members at Baltimore’s Fayette Health and Rehabilitation Center in September won a strong contract, even as they faced COVID-19 challenges. 1199SEIU represents some 60 members at Fayette, including GNAs, EVS, Unit Clerks, Maintenance, Central Sterile Supply, and Rehab Aids. Workers won adding Transportation to Fayette’s Union Recognition Agreement. They also added several classifications to the institution’s wage chart, which will 6

provide more than half the 1199ers at Fayette with raises of between 9-11%. The bargaining committee also won 3.5% increase to start rates and an overall wage increase of a 12% over life of the three-year agreement “I’m most proud of that we got a salary increase in that contract,” said bargaining committee member Jaqueline Robinson. “Our organizers went to bat [for us], and we all did not give up. We fought until the end. We even threatened to strike. It was amazing.

September-October 2020

And they gave in.” Members also won regular workday language, so management can no longer schedule any full-time or part-time workers for a 4-hour workday. In addition, Juneteenth was added to their holiday calendar. Robinson the victory took a lot of work, solidarity, and collective vision. “Don’t give up! Stick together,” she advises. “Stay on those phone calls, and remember that you all deserve better, and you can get it. Fight for what you believe in!”

reminding her of the daily conditions faced by so many aides. “As we continue to care for the vulnerable and elderly during this pandemic and beyond, we know you will stand with us in our struggles for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Pacas, her voice shaking with emotion. 1199ers also gathered Sept. 4 in Boston for a pre-Labor Day rally at the Massachusetts Statehouse. Joining with partners from the Raise Up Massachusetts Coalition, Bay State 1199ers called on lawmakers to pass a budget that invests in both workers and communities. In passionate, wide-ranging remarks 1199SEIU Delegate Marie Carville called on lawmakers to pass a just, inclusive budget that considers the needs of working people— especially healthcare workers—and the realities of systemic racism and environmental degradation. “At the beginning of the pandemic everyone was thanking healthcare workers. That died out. So did the calls for hazard pay and paid time off, which were not in place for a lot of healthcare workers,” said Carville, who has been a PCA for more than 30 years. “We the people are the feet of society, and if you take care of us, every step you make, [we all] go up.”

NJ Members Laud Nursing Home Reform Package

Staffing Fight at Niagara Falls Memorial

In September, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a package of nursing home reforms that will have significant impact for caregivers and their patients. The bill commits significant resources to assist New Jersey’s nursing homes, which have the highest rate of coronavirus cases per facility in the nation and account for half of all COVID-19 deaths in the state. Among the reforms are the establishment of a task force to oversee New Jersey’s nursing homes. The reforms also establish a long-term care emergency operations system within New Jersey’s government. Perhaps most substantially, the reforms also include a path to boost New Jersey’s CNA minimum wage to $18 an hour. New Jersey’s long-term care facilities suffer from some of the worst staffing rates in the nation; the wage boost is expected to a help alleviate that crisis through improved hiring and retention rates. “Over the past six months, nursing home workers across New Jersey have heroically risen to the challenges of COVID19,” said 1199’s NJ EVP Milly Silva. “Critically, this legislative package recognizes the importance of investing in these frontline caregivers to ensure that we have a stable, healthy, and growing workforce that is able to meet the needs of our state’s aging population, now and in the future.”

Dozens of workers at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) in Niagara Falls, NY held an informational picket Sept. 30 to call attention to short staffing at the institution that they say has grown so bad that it’s endangering patient care and taking a severe emotional toll oncaregivers. NFMMC RNs say they are working so short that nurses are being inappropriately assigned to areas outside their scope of practice. Despite workers’ sacrifices throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and consistent cooperation, NFMMC management has been unresponsive. “It’s really bad on every floor,” says Jennifer Smith, an ICU RN at Memorial for 12 years. “Just the other day I had six patients and I was trying to train two new hires right out of nursing school. On the cardiac floor recently, for part one shift, the hospital had 19 patients to one nurse. On most days I can’t even remember if I had lunch or a break.” Members have been keeping the pressure on with sticker days and petitions. Delegates and organizers say filing charges with the NYS Labor Board has been a near-daily part of organizers’ routine. “This isn’t about sending messages

NEW YORK

or pizzas. They need to be out here talking to workers and, if they have to, take some flack. That’s how it is,” says 1199 delegate Evelyn Harris, a patient care assistant in Memorial’s Emergency Department. Low wages and the prevalence of part-time positions without benefits have made staff retention difficult. Members say that change would benefit Memorial and Niagara County, which has been buffeted by massive job losses and climbing poverty rates. “Not being able to give hands-on care and do all I can for my patients fractures me to my soul,” says Harris, who has worked at the institution for 43 years.

Bobby Kirkham Photo

MARYLAND

Maryland Member Named Healthcare Hero The entire Maryland/DC Division of 1199SEIU offered congratulations to long term care member Pat Walker, who in early September was named a Healthcare Hero by the Health Facilities Association of Maryland. Walker is a delegate and resident care specialist at Sava Bethesda Health and Rehabilitation Center in North Bethesda, MD, where she has worked for 17 years. Walker was nominated for

the prize by MD/DC Organizer Nichelle McGirt and Political Action Director Ricarra Jones. “She went out of her way to make sure that her colleagues had PPE in the building. Pat would come to work before her shift to talk to the overnight staff and would stay late after her shift to talk with the 3 to 11 staff to make sure everybody felt comfortable and had everything they needed to do their job,” said McGirt.

“Not being able to give hands-on care and do all I can for my patients fractures me to my soul.” — Evelyn Harris patient care assistant, Niagra Falls Memorial Medical Center

Jennifer Smith, ICU RN at Niagra Falls Memorial Medical Center

Walker remained a stalwart Union delegate, even after being diagnosed with the coronavirus. She didn’t let being out of work for 14 days in quarantine stop her from being accessible to her co-workers when they needed her. Once she returned to work, Walker took extra precautions to make sure she did not put herself in harm’s way and continues to support her fellow staff in every way possible. 1199 Magazine 7


OUR UNION

OUR UNION

Lenox Hill Neighborhood House

Preserving Community During COVID-19 NYC’s century-old CBO implemented supports for vulnerable clients and the workers who care for them.  Workers at Long Island’s NYU Winthrop University Hospital want the same contract as their 1199 sisters and brothers at NYU-Langone and other NYU hospitals.

NYU Workers of One Accord Demanding

Respect for NYU Winthrop Not only has NYU Winthrop refused to settle a fair agreement and respect their legal obligations, NYU is refusing crisis pay to workers at affiliate institutions.

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For many of us, it may seem that during last year’s organizing drive at NYU Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, NY, management at the hospital (recently acquired by NYU Langone) pulled out all the stops to thwart the Union effort. They failed. After NYU Winthrop workers won their Union bid, management still brought their trademark intransigence to contract talks, stalling and trying to isolate NYU Winthrop workers from their 1199 sisters and brothers across the NYU system. The move has only raised NYU workers’ frustration and anger—and made them even more determined. “We believe that once NYU purchased Winthrop, they became part of us. We are all one,” says NYU Brooklyn Senior Medical Records Clerk Pablo Badillo. “We felt the same way the when NYU purchased us. [We all deserve] the same rate of pay, titles, crisis pay, everything.” As part of the NYU megasystem, NYU is obligated to cover workers at NYU Winthrop under 1199’s agreement with the League of Voluntary Hospital and Nursing

September-October 2020

Homes. Instead of abiding by this legal requirement, NYU has chosen to ignore the League agreement and, instead, allowed NYU Winthrop to propose a wage and benefit package far below the League’s “gold standard” contract provisions. Not only has NYU Winthrop management refused to settle a fair agreement and respect their legal obligations, NYU is refusing crisis pay to workers at affiliate institutions. It’s a double insult to workers who’ve braved a pandemic and risked their lives to care for the hospital’s patients. “We do the same work that Tisch, Brooklyn and Joint Diseases and the rest of the NYU network do,” says NYU Winthrop Emergency Department Tech Kareem Beckford. “Why is it that we can’t have this League contract? Why is it that we’re any less than the rest of them?” If NYU Winthrop’s plan is worker submission through exhaustion, it’s not happening. United workers throughout the system have made it clear they aren’t playing. Petitions, sticker days, and a very public call-out

of NYU Winthrop on social media followed many fruitless bargaining sessions. Over the summer, NYU Winthrop rejected a good faith offer to delay for a year the implementation of coverage under 1199’s National Benefit Fund and Pension Fund for a year. It was the last straw for the negotiating committee. Workers are prepared to bring the full strength of their Union alliance to bear in the fight. At press time, the contract fight was headed for binding arbitration, as is stipulated in the League agreement’s Contract Interpretation and Policy Committee Procedures (CIPC) clause. Workers have vowed to win their legal contract, even if it means doing it the hard way. “All the employees at NYU Winthrop work very hard. Patients are our priority. We come in through storms. We stay overnight sometimes, and don’t even have a proper place to sleep. I did a triple that got me so sick I wound up in the ER,” says NYU Winthrop CNA Pamela KenefickCardile. “Workers deserve to get benefits and to have something when they retire.”

Contrary to popular belief, the streets of Manhattan’s Upper East Side are not paved with gold. And the 1199 members who work at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House (LHNH) know that very well. “Our 1199 colleagues are the bedrock of our 126-year-old settlement house—they deliver the finest programs and services to 15,000 New Yorkers in need,” says LHNH Chief Operating Officer Mark Andermanis. “They care for and assist homeless women, thousands of older adults, recent immigrants, people living with disabilities, and more. They make 4,000,000 fabulous farm-to-table meals each year for low-income New Yorkers. They have always, always been essential, and they have proven time and time again that they are heroes.” Originally founded as an early childhood education center, today’s LHNH serves clients who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and sensitive to service disruptions. Bearing this in mind, staff and administration at the communitybased organization (CBO) leapt into action, making plans to preserve continuity of services and ensure that staff could continue serving Manhattan residents who were already deeply affected by COVID-19. LHNH administration was also mindful that workers would need support and services; many of them live in affected areas and come from communities with high infection and mortality rates. In order to keep workers safe and contain the impact of the pandemic, LHNH put into place a broad-ranging package of supports for caregivers: preserving

jobs, health care and benefits for all workers; increasing the minimum salary to $40,000; paying for private cars to and from work so workers could avoid public transportation; payout of unused and accrued vacation; adjusting sick time rules so staff didn’t have to use discretionary sick time; providing laptops for all to support work at home; giving an advance of two weeks’ pay at the outset of the pandemic; ensuring that PPE was always replenished on a regular basis; offering a host of staff wellness activities; and more. Geriatric Care Manager Phillip Goldman says one of the toughest parts of the pandemic was missing co-workers on whom he had relied as a tight-knit and supportive group. “March, April, and May were really stressful and really tragic. We knew older adults were more vulnerable. I expected to lose people, and I did,” says Goldman. “Being isolated made it harder.” But an empathetic management eased the burden, says Goldman: “I’m grateful that my supervisor encouraged us to take the time we needed to heal and not do work that was painful or triggering.” Annette Lyons, an LHNH housing specialist who works with homeless women, praised the administration’s emphasis on communication and commitment over the course of the pandemic. “Every Friday, the executive directors would send out an email, keeping us updated on their plans and making sure we’d know what’s going on,” says Lyons, an 1199 delegate who has worked at LHNH for 25 years. “They really stepped up and did a good job.”

“I’m grateful that my supervisor encouraged us to take the time we needed to heal and not do work that was painful or triggering.”

Annette Lyons, a housing specialist at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House in NYC, works with homeless women. She praised the administration’s emphasis on communication and commitment during COVID-19.

1199 Magazine 9


POLITICS

The Purple Army Is In

 Syracusearea LPN Rae Haynes (far right) talking with workers about the importance of voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Full Biden Mode 1199ers get out the vote and mobilize for change across the regions. “The first president I voted for was John Kennedy, so I have been voting for a very long time and I have never seen anything like this.” – Asiley Jack, Retiree

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Election Day is just a few days away, and with its results, the fate of our country and a world already engulfed in chaos—a world that’s literally burning down is some places—as Donald Trump, his allies, and his administration drive the chaos. 1199ers are working hard to undo the damage of the last four years by helping elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the Nov. 3 Presidential Election. “We just have to win,” says Member Political Organizer Maurice Larry, a mental health tech at Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, NY. “Since Trump won, everything has been slowly creeping out of the woodwork: the white nationalists, the alt right. I don’t want my grandchildren to see the country this way. I don’t want them to have to experience what’s going on right now. Trump propagates dangerous ideas.” This year, as in years past, 1199ers—both active and retired— are mobilizing people in innovative ways and in great numbers. Instead of climbing onto buses as “Weekend Warriors,” 1199ers are using digital outreach combined with oldfashioned workplace meetings and voter conversations. 1199 Member Political Organizers (MPOs) and rank-and-file volunteers are talking to hundreds of voters a day through phone, text and on social media. 1199 staff is also participating, putting in an additional 15 to 20 hours per week into outreach calls and texts. “I ask a lot of hard questions when I’m talking to people,” says MPO Rae Haynes, an LPN at Pace Loretto Independent Service in Syracuse, NY. “The younger generation also needs to be aware of how we got where we got. People need to be educated about the history of politics and why we want

September-October 2020

what we want. In addition to leading and participating in GOTV activities in their own regions, MPOs and volunteers are reaching out to voters in Georgia, North Carolina and the battleground states of Texas and Florida. 1199’s retirees are playing a central role in this GOTV effort. Virtual phone banks have been organized in retiree chapters from South Florida to New York State. They have been central to the effort in turning out votes not just for the presidential election, but also in states that could change the balance of power in the U.S. Senate as well as secure Democratic control of the U.S. House of Representatives. “The first president I voted for was John Kennedy, so I have been voting for a very long time and I have never seen anything like this,” says Asiley Jack, a NY-Presbyterian retiree who lives in Moncks Corner, SC. Jack has been doing GOTV work by phone text and with community groups like the NAACP. “With the high cost of food now, a lot of seniors have to choose between food and medication and that is not okay. We have to make sure Biden wins because he is humane and cares about the little people.” The Union has also been working in coalition with a host of organizations to educate voters and take direct action. Members have been leading voter registration and 2020 Census response drives, as well as participating in endorsement events for progressive, union-backed candidates running in local races. In New York City on September 21, 1199ers gathered with partners in the new Road To Justice Coalition to announce their first slate of endorsements for next year’s New York

City Council races. Road To Justice, which includes 1199SEIU, Make The Road, and Action Community Voices Heard, seeks to ensure that Black and Brown communities are represented in elections and politics, and that racial and economic justice are priorities for all New York City elected officials. In Florida, 11,000 activists hit the ground running in June and have been organizing voters through the state and working on a host of critical issues, including the restoration of voting rights to citizens returning from incarceration. Restored voting rights could tip the balance in what is arguably the most crucial of battleground states. The cornerstone of the Union’s multi-pronged campaign is the America For All platform (see page 14), which focuses on immigration, health care, education, labor rights, and the COVID-19 pandemic. A series of America For All online panels, conducted throughout the fall, gave members an opportunity to discuss issues in depth and hear from Union staff and activists in their communities. On September 22, the Maryland/DC Region hosted a “Healthy Schools” panel on Facebook that drew over 1,000 views and featured 1199ers Nathan Luecking, Reeba McKenny, Lewis Gilliam, and Shamoyia Gardner. Moderated by MD/DC Political Director Ricarra Jones, the event discussed everything from the quality of Baltimore’s city schools to student loan forgiveness. “It was important for me to be on said Gilliam, a University of MD Midtown Certified Central Sterile Tech, who is also a youth mentor. “One reason is that when I talk to youth, they tell me they are not heard. Just my having the opportunity to be on and voice some opinions and speak

out about some issues I wanted to I jumped at the chance to participate.” Youth and education issues are also driving the participation of Kimberly Harrington, a Clinical Social Worker with the D.C. Dept. of Behavioral Health. Harrington works in a Capitol Hill middle school and started making calls and writing letters to GOTV for the Biden/Harris ticket in early fall. She’s undeterred by difficult conversations. For Harrington, its about making sure her students have access to resources and programs to keep them safe and healthy.

 Kimberly Harrington, a clinical social worker, works in a Washington, D.C. middle school. Education is her top priority. She believes Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will work to improve schools and the education system.

“It is essential that we vote. It is a dereliction of duty not to vote,” she says. “For me it’s about the likely outcome of a Biden/Harris win versus a Trump win. You can base another four years of Trump on what the last three looked like. It’s crystal clear to me that Biden/Harris will be better for education.” Rae Haynes says she is going to do everything in her power to get voters to the polls and ensure a Biden/Harris victory. “If Donald Trump gets back into office, we will all be screwed,” says Haynes. “Everything we value will be under attack. I’m a supporter of women’s rights. I was out there fighting in the streets in the 1960’s. People really need to understand that if they get out and vote, we can change things.” To learn about our platform or sign up to volunteer, visit www.AmericaForAll2020.org. Jay Mallin Photo

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The Work We Do

Vassar Brothers Medical Center’s Maintenance and Engineering Workers

Hospitals don’t stay in good working order on their own. It takes crews of experienced professionals who can manage complicated systems, fix problems as they arise, and maintain an environment that is safe, healthy and comfortable. At Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, NY, a crew of thirty 1199 members keeps the hospital up and running, handling everything from plumbing to heating and cooling – and to the colorful flowerbeds that greet visitors.

FOR ALL

WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

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The Work We Do Vassar Brothers Medical Center’s Maintenance and Engineering Workers 1. Facilities Mechanic Cesar Flores has worked in Plant Operations and Maintenance at Vassar Brothers for 17 years. Flores monitors the hospital’s boilers, and is responsible for repair and maintenance if something goes wrong. With temperature and environmental conditions playing a major role in infection control, it’s a huge responsibility. 2. Flores’ partner in the department, Ross Sheehan, came to Vassar Brothers 12 years ago after working as a union steamfitter for years.

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“It was a big responsibility, but that is what comes with working in health care, you always feel responsible because we are here to keep people healthy or, when we need to, help them get better.”

3. Plumber Tim Bade worked at Columbia University in New York City before retiring and coming to work at Vassar Brothers. His experience of the last few months has left him frustrated with people who call COVID-19 a hoax or overblown. “I hope people never have to see the things I’ve seen here. Once you see four or five people with the coronavirus, you will never forget it,” he says. “When I hear people say it’s fake, I just tell them to spend five minutes with me at work, and you’ll know it’s real.” 4. Groundskeeper Ryan Engman is in charge of maintaining Vassar Brothers’ entire exterior grounds, including the parking garages and planted gardens. “I’m in charge of cleaning up after everybody and everything,” he says with a smirk. “Including snow removal!”

5. Al Bruno has been a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) mechanic at Vassar Brothers Medical Center for five years. Bruno, a delegate, came to Vassar Brothers after working elsewhere in the field for several decades. “With COVID-19, we had to work in negative pressure areas and maintain them with the idea that what gets out of the building stays out of the building, and what needs to stay in, stays in,” he says. “It was a big responsibility, but that is what comes with working in health care: You always feel responsible because we are here to keep people healthy or, when we need to, help them get better.” 6. Vassar HVAC engineer Mark Sierpinski came to work at the hospital through a friend. He loves the work but says COVID-19 still causes worry. “You walk in hoping you don’t catch anything while you’re here, and you go home hoping that you aren’t bring anything home with you.” 7. COVID-19 didn’t uncomplicate any of his department’s responsibilities, notes Plumber Jason Ackert. “It was pretty bad,” he says. “When we lost some plumbing lines on the COVID unit, we just had to put on our PPE and go deal with problems on the upper floors. It’s what you have to do.”

– Al Bruno, HVAC Mechanic, Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

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OUR UNION “I have worked in health care for 17 years. Throughout my career, I have been a part of a union because I know workers have more power when we unite and fight together for our rights.”

 Linda White is a surgical tech at St. Petersburg General Hospital in Florida. When COVID cut the number of elective surgeries at her institution, her hours were cut and her pay drastically reduced. The Union helped her persevere, she says.

Handling COVID’s Hardships with Grit & Grace 1199 membership is cornerstone for Florida Surgical Tech Linda White.

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Just a few months ago, Linda White had a predictable work schedule, and she was making a good salary as a surgical technician at St. Petersburg General Hospital. She had reached a comfortable stage in her life. White was not only able to pay her mortgage and other living expenses comfortably, she also had time to enjoy her grandchildren. She was living the American Dream until the life-threatening coronavirus surfaced in Florida. Suddenly the job she loves became a risky venture because of a highly contagious disease. The pandemic also prevented wary patients from coming into the hospital for elective surgery. Consequently, White’s hours were drastically reduced. Eventually, all elective surgeries stopped, leaving White fearful that she wouldn’t be able to make ends meet. “The first time I got a smaller paycheck, it was so little I cried,” said White. “I didn’t want to lose my home.” Her initial shock and fear gave way to resolve because as the breadwinner in her family, she knew she had to find additional work. So, White opted to work in other departments in the hospital. She did any assignment that was available—including cleaning toilets—in order to get enough work hours and pandemic pay so she could pay her mortgage and other bills. “I did what I had to do,” said White, the sole provider for a household that includes her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. “I would have worked at Domino’s if necessary, so I could feed my family.”

September-October 2020

Indeed White has worked odd jobs, shifts and hours. She has answered call lights, conducted COVID-19 temperature screenings for anyone entering the hospital, and she has cleaned the emergency room. Her schedule has been both exhausting and unpredictable. On one occasion, when she was confused about her ever-changing work schedule—which could have led to her being ineligible for pandemic pay—she reached out to her union delegate for help to resolve the issue. Being a member of 1199SEIU reaffirmed White’s belief that unions are indispensable. “I have worked in health care for 17 years,” explained White. “Throughout my career, I have been a part of a union because I know workers have more power when we unite and fight together for our rights.” White is a member leader with 1199SEIU, the largest healthcare union in the United States. She and her co-workers have rallied together to demand that the hospitals where they work give them the personal protective equipment (PPE) they needed to safeguard themselves and their patients. White is also a member of the HCA bargaining team. She’s dismayed that HCA ended pandemic pay, which had helped her and many colleagues stay afloat. The company is also threatening layoffs despite making $581 million in profits in the first quarter of 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases have spiked in Florida. White says this trend is evident at her facility where there has been an increase in the number of patients and staff testing positive. White believes PPE is being rationed because she’s only given one mask per day. It’s a very difficult situation, but White still finds the work she does incredibly rewarding. “I still get teary-eyed when I hold a patient’s hand to reassure them that they are going to be fine,” said White. “That adds to my paycheck.” But White concludes that the challenges she and her co-workers have faced during this pandemic are another reminder of why it’s so important to vote: “We need to elect candidates who will hold hospitals accountable to providing workers the protection they need to ensure the safety of workers and the patients we care for every day.”

An RN Finds His Calling in the Ashes of September 11 Becoming a nurse helped former TV engineer Vinnie Ioele heal after losing friends in the World Trade Center attacks.

We never know where life’s path may lead: Registered Nurse Vinnie Ioele is living proof of how much things can change. For nearly 40 years, Ioele designed, installed and maintained television studios. But for the last three years he’s worked as a RN at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Suffern, NY, caring for patients in the hospital’s Post Anesthesia Care Unit. “I was trained in electronics. I took care of all the electronics at WABC studios in New York City for 28 years,” he says. “Plus, I worked at a production company for 10 years taking care of video equipment. It’s really rewarding when you build things from scratch that way. It’s also very creative. If something breaks, you have to figure out how to fix it.” “Nursing is very similar. We are engineers in spirit,” he adds. “First you have to figure out what’s wrong with people, and then you have to figure out how to help them.” Ioele began his journey to nursing while still at ABC. The job required him to work at the World Trade Center every other Friday. September 11, 2001, happened on his day off. “My mother called me crying. I knew my friends were up there. I watched my friends die. I knew all the elevator operators and engineers. It was horrible feeling so helpless,” he says.

them first as an EMT,” he says. “We answered every kind of call, from medical to psych. I learned techniques for dealing with every kind of trauma, from physical trauma to suicidal patients. I learned about empathy as well. That’s something you need to have as a good nurse.” After more than 10 years as an EMT, he made the decision to start nursing classes at Bergen County Community College (BCCC). It took him six years to complete his Associate’s Degree, and during that time, he retired from his ABC job. Ioele was 55 when he graduated from BCCC. “I was always the oldest person in the class, and that actually made it easier because I wasn’t thinking

about other things,” he says. “I just wanted to learn.” He also loves the role of patient advocate, an aspect of the job complimented by his age, he says. “My gray hair is an asset,” he says. “People see it, and they know I have life experience.” Though the road hasn’t been easy, Ioele wouldn’t change anything. “I absolutely loved nursing school, and I love being a nurse. It’s a job that is so challenging and so rewarding,” he says. “I have held dying patients’ hands and helped others get better.” “I thought I’d miss working in television, but I don’t,” he adds. “I get to say that I’m a nurse, and it’s so challenging. I am just so fulfilled.”

“I love being a nurse. It’s a job that is so challenging and so rewarding. I have held dying patients’ hands, and I have helped others get better.” Good Samaritan PACU RN Vinnie Ioele started nursing school at 48 and graduated at 55.

Kim Wessels Photo

The disaster left him determined to never feel that way again, so Ioele began volunteering as an EMT in Saddlebrook, NJ. He loved it. “We got 350 calls a year. Everyone that shows up in an ER, you get 1199 Magazine 19


 Treasure Island Care Center CNA Blanche Norwood says GOTV calls and texts to Floridians have reached more people than ever.

CNA Blanche Norwood Has Been Fighting for Workers’ Rights for Five Decades Florida MPO says stakes in the 2020 election is like none in her lifetime. CNA, political activist, union organizer and great-grandmother— these are just a few ways to describe Florida member Blanche Norwood. Currently, she’s added Member Political Organizer (MPO) to her long list of titles and is helping get out the vote for the November 3 election. Norwood is a seasoned MPO who has helped to mobilize voters for several big elections in the past, including Vice President Al Gore and President Barack Obama. Over the years, she’s seen and learned a lot. But she says the 2020 election is like no other because the stakes are so high. “Unions are under attack, Black communities are under attack, and we’re all at risk, especially healthcare workers, due to the coronavirus. This president doesn’t care,” said Norwood. All of these issues concern Norwood, and they motivate her to do this grassroots political work. However, she’s particularly passionate about protecting workers’ rights because she believes unions help working people build power. “There’s inequality and discrimination in the workplace,” explained 20

September-October 2020

Norwood. “The benefit of having a union is that it gives workers a voice on the job, so we can use our collective voices to speak out against injustice.” Norwood points to her own experiences as proof. She has worked at Treasure Isle Care Center in Miami for 45 years. During that time, she and her co-workers on the bargaining team have won contracts that include higher wages, additional vacation time and good benefits. Norwood believes these gains wouldn’t have been possible if workers had not joined together in their union. “The employer doesn’t give you a raise because they like you,” said Norwood. “Workers have to stand together in order to win higher wages, good benefits and other gains.” Even with a strong union at her facility, Norwood says management has tried to make changes to scheduling and call outs but as a Delegate, she makes sure her co-workers know their rights. The union contract also protects staffing levels at Norwood’s facility, which

“The employer doesn’t give you a raise because they like you. Workers have to stand together in order to win higher wages, good benefits and other gains.”

has been critically important during the pandemic. Norwood reminds her co-workers they can make positive changes in the workplace by voting for political candidates who support bills that call for safe staffing levels, raising the minimum wage, adequate funding for long-term care facilities. and protecting workers’ rights. “Federal and state elected officials have the power to allocate funding for nursing homes, so it’s imperative that we choose candidates who support working people,” said Norwood. Norwood believes all workers should have the opportunity to join a union. This is one of the key platform issues in the America for All campaign. It’s a powerful campaign that is bringing workers together across the country to call for health care for all, immigration reform, racial justice, strong families and communities, fully funded and sustainable long-term care, and unions for all. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris both support strong unions, so Norwood is working hard to get out the vote for them. Biden and Harris also believe in racial justice, expanding access to affordable health care, immigration reform, and essential pay for essential workers. Getting this message to voters can be challenging because the pandemic has changed outreach tactics. In past elections, Norwood and other canvassers would walk through neighborhoods, knock on doors and talk to voters face to face. Due to the pandemic the majority of campaign outreach is now done by phone or text message. “It can be challenging to connect with people because you can’t look them in the eye when you talk to them. But we can reach more people than ever by phone or text so that’s a real plus,” said Norwood. Norwood and other 1199SEIU MPOs have made thousands of calls to remind Floridians to register to vote by the October 5 deadline. She also encouraged people to sign up for vote by mail because it’s safe, easy and secure. “Everyone has to vote because we need to elect leaders we can trust,” said Norwood. “It’s not just the presidential election that matters. Whoever is elected to Congress could help or hinder the next president. State, county and local leaders can also implement policies that impact our daily lives so, all elections are important.”

OUR HISTORY

A PROUD HISTORY IN

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS We’ve been foot soldiers for progress.

From its founding, 1199’s commitment to social and economic justice led it to the political arena. Founded in 1932 as a drug workers’ union during the nation’s Great Depression, 1199 was a staunch supporter of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Because they were barred from many medical schools, Jews who sought work in the healthcare industry often chose the pharmacy trade. Although the pharmacists were predominantly Jewish, about 20 percent were Irish or Italian. Drugstore porters and stockmen were predominantly Black. Constantly pushing for societal anti-discrimination laws and regulations, the Union launched a successful campaigns in the 1930s to secure jobs for Black pharmacists and promote porters to higherpaying jobs such as sodamen. And while many unions turned their backs on civil rights, particularly after the purge of socialists and communists at the onset of the Cold War, 1199 never wavered. It was one of the few unions to support the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956, at which its relationship with the Rev. Dr. Martin

AND WHILE MANY UNIONS TURNED THEIR BACKS ON CIVIL RIGHTS, PARTICULARLY AFTER THE PURGE OF SOCIALISTS AND COMMUNISTS AT THE ONSET OF THE COLD WAR, 1199 NEVER WAVERED.

Luther King, Jr. began. In 1964, members worked to elect President Lyndon Johnson and strongly supported his Great Society program, which included landmark legislation such as the Voting and Civil Rights Acts, Medicare and Medicaid. The Union later opposed President Johnson’s execution of the war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Members took part in protest demonstrations and worked in campaigns against anti-labor

presidents Richard Nixon in the early 1970s and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. During the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1988, 1199’s headquarters served as Rev. Jackson’s New York State headquarters. The Union’s work helped Rev. Jackson carry New York City and laid the groundwork for David Dinkins’s election the next year as the city’s first African American mayor. After the 2000 presidential elections, thousands of 1199ers hit the streets to protest the state of Florida’s refusal to recount the state’s votes in the contested outcome. At the time, Democrat Al Gore had won the popular vote, but Republican George W. Bush had won the plurality of electoral college votes based on his narrow victory in Florida. Bush’s Florida win by just 537 votes was called into question because some 56,000 Florida votes in Democratic-leaning districts had been discounted. “If votes don’t count, then democracy is in danger,” said Maria Velasquez, a home attendant at Washington Heights Home Care Program during a Dec. 7 protest in Manhattan’s Times Square. Other members carried placards at the demonstration that read, “Democracy Ambushed in Florida,” and “This is America. Count Every Vote.”


THE LAST WORD

OUR HISTORY  Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times by a Kenosha, WI policeman, is the grandson of a former 1199 organizer.

 Over the years thousands of 1199ers have volunteered as Weekend Warriors, traveling to battleground states to turn out the vote in critical elections.

“WE ALL KNEW THAT WE WERE MAKING HISTORY.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court halted the recount and handed the presidency to Bush. Four years later, 1199ers knocked on doors in swing states across the country on behalf of John Kerry, but Bush was re-elected. In 2008, 1199 was hailed as one of the primary organizations that turned the presidential campaign into a mass movement. Tens of thousands of 1199ers and their family members pulled out all stops to get out the vote. Thousands took time off to travel to 18 battleground states. In addition, hundreds of members, dubbed weekend warriors,

September-October 2020

boarded buses and vans to New Hampshire, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania throughout October. “We all knew that we were taking part in history,” said Pennsylvania weekend warrior Isata Caldwell, a CNA at JFK Hospital in Edison, NJ. These unprecedented efforts helped elect Barack Obama, the nation’s first African American president. Throughout the campaign, young and old 1199ers inspired others with their enthusiasm and commitment. “I get excited just talking to young people,” said Vinel Johnson-Reid, a retiree from Dewitt NH in New York

City. She was paired with Tierra Johnson, aged 23, a housekeeping delegate from Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore. Johnson contested the claim at the time that young people were not interested in politics. “If you pay more attention to them, you can make young people want to get involved,” she said. Retirees, also played an outsize role in the 2008 campaign. Those who weren’t able to deploy for long periods worked on weekends or made calls to battleground states. New York retiree Cora Matthews said that she drew strength from families that thanked her for asking for their help. “Some of these people tell us that no one has ever spoken to them about politics and the importance of getting involved,” Matthews said. “The Obama campaign makes us all feel included,” said 1199er, Donna Payne, then associate director of diversity for the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign. She hosted the first Democratic Party convention reception for LGBTQ people of color at the 2008 convention. Margie Rodriguez, a medical biller at Brooklyn’s Brookdale Hospital who volunteered in Colorado, summed up the enthusiasm of 1199 volunteers when she said, “I worked even though I had blisters on my feet. Nothing could stop me because my heart and soul were in it.”

Solidarity Can Prevent Another Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, or Jacob Blake Wisconsin police shooting victim is a member of our 1199 family. By Rick Blake

I am the uncle of Jacob Blake, whom you’ve likely heard of because in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob lives, a policeman shot him in the back seven times as he returned to his car to protect his children inside. The Blake family has a long history of civil rights activism in southeastern Wisconsin. But you might be interested to know that we also have a history with 1199. My mother Bea Blake—Jacob’s grandmother—was a union activist at Long Island Jewish Hospital for thirty years. “The fight must go on,” my five-foot-tall mother would often say. And she meant it. My brother, Jacob Blake, Sr., is now fighting for the life of his son, Li’l Jake, a victim of abusive police like too many other Black women and men.

“So civil rights and labor rights are twin demands that should never be posed against each other. The civil rights and labor movements are strongest when they are joined and fortify one another.”

I know that 1199ers in Rochester, NY have been active in the struggle for justice for Daniel Prude, killed by police earlier this year. And we will always say the name of Breonna Taylor, a healthcare worker, murdered by Louisville police in her own home. It is a very long and terrible story dating back to the 19th century’s Southern slave patrols. It is a tragedy that, nearly 250 years after the founding of the United States and nearly 160 years after Emancipation, we still need to insist that Black Lives Matter, and it is a shame that this insistence should still be consider controversial. Knowing 1199 and my mother’s devotion to the Union, I know that you sisters and brothers don’t need convincing that the fight for racial justice is built into this union’s DNA. But not all labor unions are on board. Certainly not most police unions which, despite increasing numbers of Black and Brown officers, remain largely in the control of conservative—even Trumpsupporting—white leaders. Half a century ago, my father marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, with Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis. Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement understood well the intrinsic relationship between civil rights and labor rights. The famous 1963 March on Washington was a march “For Jobs and Freedom.” Dr. King was murdered in Memphis, where he went to march in solidarity with that city’s striking sanitation workers. Black workers make up nearly 15 percent of the country’s unionized workforce. In the service and public sector workforce, the percentages are considerably higher. So civil rights and labor rights are twin demands that should never be posited against each other. The civil rights and labor movements are strongest when they are joined and fortifying one another. We live in very dangerous times, with a racist and anti-labor President leading the charge. But as we saw this summer, the movement for Black Lives is stronger than ever. And combined with our labor movement acting on behalf of all workers, we won’t be stopped. As my mother said, the fight must go on. 1199 Magazine 23


Mobilized To Rebuild Our Country This election season, Syracuse-area LPN Rae Haynes is working as a Member Political Organizer to get out the vote for Nov. 3. It’s going to be devastating for all of us if we don’t change things,” says Haynes. See story on pages 10-11.

1199 Magazine 24

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1199 Magazine: October / September 2020  

1199 Magazine October / September 2020 We Are Building An America For All

1199 Magazine: October / September 2020  

1199 Magazine October / September 2020 We Are Building An America For All

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