From our inception, 1199SEIU has championed equality, justice and democracy. We demand fair treatment for all persons, on and off the job. Not only is our union dedicated to protecting and enhancing the security of our families through the enforcement of our collective bargaining agreements, but written into our 1199SEIU Constitution are core values of economic and social justice and dignity and respect for everyone. Since our founding in 1932, our industry and union has grown and changed, but our dedication to an equitable, healthy, safe, peaceful and just world has not. This is why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called 1199 “the conscience of the labor movement,” and our union will continue to mobilize against injustice — racial, social, economic or environmental — while remaining steadfastly dedicated to our vision of a world with equal opportunities for all people.
As a union of healthcare workers, patient satisfaction is our highest calling. This is best secured by ensuring a highly motivated workforce with a strong voice in the workplace. We have fought for a voice in patient care and in the workplace as a whole. Learn More.
1199SEIU has always sought to assist members in securing fair, affordable housing. We are committed to working with a coalition of community-based organizations, tenant associations and labor unions in order to halt skyrocketing rents and increase affordable housing. Learn More.
1199SEIU has been at the forefront of reporting and activism on the destructive effects of one of humanity’s greatest challenges — the ravages of climate change. We were among the first to oppose the costly and dangerous Keystone XL pipeline and, in 2012, were on the frontline of responders after Superstorm Sandy. In 2014, a large contingent of 1199ers marched in the historic People’s Climate March. Today, we are working with management in many hospitals to train our members in green practices, to create green jobs and to reduce the carbon footprints of the institutions where we work. Learn More.
Good Jobs and Economic Justice
When a 5,000-member drugstore union took on the formidable task of organizing New York’s powerful voluntary hospitals in 1959, hospital workers at the time earned as little as $32 for a 44 to 48-hour work week. A decade later, those same hospital workers had quadrupled their salaries and gained significant benefits thanks to labor organizing. Throughout our history, we have joined hands and marched shoulder to shoulder with economic justice advocates. Learn More.
1199SEIU is a rich tapestry of members from every corner of the globe. Our diversity enriches and strengthens our union. Originally founded largely by Eastern European immigrants, 1199 has always embraced and recognized the contributions of immigrants to our workplace and movement. Anti-immigrant bias is a tool of those who would profit by dividing the ranks of working people Read More.
1199SEIU’s support for LGBTQ rights predates the formation our union’s Lavender Caucus in 2002. The caucus centralized the union’s ad hoc support for LGBTQ issues under a group dedicated to working closely with labor and LGBTQ organizations in New York and other 1199SEIU regions. Our union is proud of our long record working in political and legislative arenas on the behalf of LGBTQ rights. Union leadership and members have marched and lobbied for gay marriage in New York State and the nation. In 2016, a contingent of 1199ers proudly took its place among the contingents of the marchers at New York’s City’s Pride March. Read More.
Peace and International Cooperation
Solidarity both at home and abroad has been a central tenet of our work and lies ar the heart of our policy of peace and international cooperation. In the 1980s, our union was at the forefront of the international campaign to topple the system of apartheid in South Africa, and, in 1990, our union’s president, Dennis Rivera, was part of a delegation that traveled to South Africa to celebrate the historic release of Nelson Mandela from prison. In 2001, Rivera and attorney Robert Kennedy Jr. were arrested for civil disobedience in response to an action to prevent the U.S. Navy from shelling the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Our union has also contributed resources and volunteers toward humanitarian aid efforts in the aftermath of recent natural disasters such as those in Haiti and the Philippines. Read More.
1199 was among the first unions in the nation to hold an annual celebration of Negro History Week (now Black History Month) and we have always stressed the connection between economic justice and racial justice. It is a major reason the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called 1199 his “favorite union.” Today, we continue our close relationship with racial justice leaders and activists, including movements like Black Lives Matter. Read More.
Rights and Democracy
Democracy is a hallowed 1199 concept and practice. Our union draws its strength from broad participation of its members, with full respect to differing views and the rights of members to express those views. We also advocate and fight for the rights of all. We believe that women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities all deserve to share in the American dream. Read More.
When 1199SEIU began organizing hospitals it quickly became a majority-women union. Since then, few unions have done more to empower and improve working conditions for women than ours. When the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) was founded in 1974, members of 1199 were among the first CLUW activists. Our work with women’s rights groups includes staunch support for Planned Parenthood and the rights of women over their own bodies and their healthcare choices and our union boasts a vibrant and influential Women’s Caucus. Read More.