1199SEIU Continues to Grow in Face of Union Bashing

December 6, 2012

Despite a toxic atmosphere of union bashing by corporations, the US Chamber of Commerce and the 2012 Republican candidates for President and Congress, 1199SEIU continued to win organizing victories this year from Florida to Massachusetts. Consider, for example:

• At West Palm Beach’s Good Samaritan Medical Center. 101 technical workers voted in January to join the union, as part of the biggest organizing string of victories in the South since the Great Depression. The 1199SEIU Florida hospital membership is now more than 10,000.

• In Maryland, 1199SEIU has continued to build its “Heart of Baltimore” campaign, launched in 2009 at a citywide conference of healthcare workers and stakeholders. One out of five Baltimore workers is employed in the healthcare industry, and the campaign aims to improve outcomes for patients and a better economy for all the city’s residents.

The campaign includes billboards at the city’s Penn Station highlighting the leadership of the late Coretta Scott King, who in 1969 after the death of her husband helped organize Johns Hopkins and other local hospitals.

• Nursing home workers at Care One’s Woodcrest Health Care Center in New Milford, NJ, voted in the spring to join 1199SEIU. The vote united the 214 workers with their colleagues at Care One’s Somerset Valley Rehabilitation and Nursing Center who joined the Union in 2010.

The victory came in the face of a vicious anti-union campaign and the corporation’s refusal to recognize the worker’s union. 1199 members are now fighting to hold owner Daniel Straus accountable and stand up for workers’ rights and quality care at Care One facilities.

• New York healthcare workers also joined 1199SEIU, including New York City hospital and clinic workers; and nursing home workers in Westchester, the Mid-Hudson Valley and upstate New York.

• Close to 500 workers at Morton Hospital in Taunton, MA also voted by 94 percent to join 1199 brought in close to 500 members. Some 94 percent of the workers voted yes. “In this tough economy, we need protection,” said Victoria Pereia, Morton Hospital lab tech, prior to the vote. Other members cited job security, health insurance, pay and a voice on the job.