New Jersey 1199SEIU members are taking the 2012 Elections seriously. With so much at stake in the campaign for U.S. President, in addition to the candidacies of hundreds of Congressional and state representatives, 76 members from 41 different New Jersey 1199 nursing homes came together in late September for an all-day “Political Training” at the Rutgers-New Brunswick Labor Center.
The event, an effort to motivate and mobilize for this fall’s political work, was packed with workshops, guest speakers and a call to action. In the morning, after introductions and icebreaker exercises, Newark Mayor Corey Booker addressed the group.
Elisha Ramos, a CNA at Manhattanview Nursing Home said, “I was inspired by Mayor Booker when he talked about letting your haters be your motivators. He said that in New Jersey there are many people who work two jobs to support their families, and it’s those people who are opening pathways. By the end of the day I felt I could be strong and won’t let anyone do me wrong.”
Other speakers included, Dr. William Rodgers III, chief economist of the Center for Workplace Development at Rutgers University, who led a workshop called, “Connecting Policy and You”: and Geoff Borshof, the New Jersey director of Obama for America.
“The day let me see how politics can help solve problems we face everyday, said Mika Beneche, a CNA at Raritan Health & Extended Care Center. “Issues like getting affordable health care and housing and making neighborhoods safe can be dealt with, when we elect candidates who understand working class families. We can’t be discouraged and we must keep working hard until we succeed in changing the balance of power.”
For the past six weeks, New Jersey 1199ers have been enthusiastically participating in the union’s Weekend Warrior program by canvassing for President Obama in the Philadelphia area every weekend; and phone banking and leafleting for union-friendly candidates throughout New Jersey.