Three busloads of New York City 1199ers – some 120 members - kicked off the New York City metropolitan area’s Weekend Warrior program June 30 with a trip to Philadelphia where they canvassed in various parts of the city, helping residents register to vote. This is the opening salvo in the union’s campaign to re-elect President Obama in November.
“I went to Detroit in 2008 and now I’m here,” said Teretha Jackson, an environmental services worker from Jewish Home Lifecare in Manhattan. “I want to make sure he gets in for another four years because I feel that his work hasn’t been completed yet. If they need me to go to another state, I will go – Virginia, Ohio or wherever. He has done so much already, hopefully he will win and we’ll give him the chance to do more.”
Weekend Warriors commit their time on weekends to work in key battleground states like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In the last election, the Warriors’ work made a huge difference. For the kickoff of this year’s program, the Warriors gathered for the day at SEIU Local 32 B-J Philadelphia headquarters where they were welcomed by 1199 Secretary Treasurer Maria Castaneda.
“You are the first historic group,” Castaneda said, as she praised their dedication to the mission. Castaneda also reminded the Warriors to drink plenty of water and find shady spots to rest as they worked in the near 100-degree heat.
Retiree Lenora Henry wasn’t put off by the heat and kept moving through her territory on the Philadelphia waterfront. “Years ago people my color couldn’t vote,” said Henry, who is from the Caribbean. “Now they have the chance and sometimes they won’t register. People need to understand that if they don’t register they are losing their chance to vote.”
Delegate Lance Johnson, a housekeeping worker from Jewish Home Lifecare in Manhattan, wasn’t put off by the challenges of the first weekend. “It feels good to be the foundation, to be at the beginning of our campaign to help re-elect President Obama,” he said.
For information about becoming a Weekend Warrior in your Region, contact your delegate or organizer.