Gearing Up for 2024September 6, 2023
Politically active 1199 members were invited to join President Joe Biden in Philadelphia on June
17 at his first major rally since announcing he would be running for reelection back in April.
“It feels good to be home,” President Biden told the crowd of roughly 2,000 labor union members, adding: “I look out
in this crowd and I see a lot of old friends, a lot of folks, as they say in Claymont, Delaware, who brung me to the dance.”
One of those friends was Mary Samaroo, an 1199 LPN at the Queens Nassau Nursing Home in Far Rockaway, New York, who took to the podium to explain why another term of the President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris administration is so important. “My shift starts at 7am, but I start at 5am because that is the only way I will have the time to do all that I need to do. We have been constantly short-staffed. Some days I have 40 patients and all I have is three nursing assistants to help,” said Samaroo, who has worked at Queens Nassau for 18 years.
“Alongside my fellow union members, I traveled to the New York State capital many times this winter to press for increases in Medicaid reimbursement rates, which our institutions so desperately need. Because of our successful lobbying in Albany, our union came to a tentative agreement earlier this month that will guarantee pay increases worth 18 percent over the next three years,” she added.
1199ers were ready to use their purple power, she said, to re-elect President Biden and Vice President Harris so they can finish the job they have started by improving staffing levels and investing in quality care.
During the previous week, another group of 1199ers were also in Philadelphia, this time to meet Vice President Harris. She was in the city to consult with labor leaders from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a coalition of local unions in which 1199 is the largest member.
The Vice President reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to fight for investments in care workers and the care economy. When she sat down with 1199 members and fellow labor unionists from SEIU, she reinforced the commitment to nursing home staffing standards and improving the lives of caregivers: “I would put the value of that work up against anything.”