When Laura Goodwin began working in 2005 as a processing clerk at Manhattan’s New York University Medical Center she felt that something was not right.
“I noticed that the other workers at NYU had all kinds of benefits and privileges that I and other clericals didn’t.” She soon learned that the service, professional and technical workers were members of 1199SEIU, while the clericals were not.
1199ers at NYU were doing better than the clericals by almost every measure. “Of course, one of my main concerns was wages,” Goodwin stresses. “But we also wanted a pension plan, health benefits without deductibles and co-pays, and a fair grievance procedure.
“A technician who was in the Union told me that if I reached out to other clericals who were willing to help unionize all the clericals, the Union would work with us to hold an election,” Goodwin adds.
She threw herself into the campaign to bring in the clericals and, in 2007, they voted to join the 1199SEIU family. Today more than 400 NYU clericals are 1199SEIU members.
“Now we have a voice,” Goodwin declares. Members also have all the benefits of membership. “For example, I’ve received help for my three children from the Child Care Fund,” Goodwin says.
The Union election did not end Goodwin’s activities. “The Union victory strengthened my resolve,” she emphasizes. “It made me want to learn more and do more. Even before I was a Union member, I always defended others. I do that as a Delegate. And I’ve never minded being out front.”
As a Union leader at her workplace, Goodwin says she’s able to stand tall. “Being a Delegate helps me fight for my rights and my co-workers’ rights,” she says. “I also strongly believe that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”