Editorial: Resurgence and Renewal

December 30, 2022

Here’s why the labor movement is set to go from strength to strength in 2023

2023_fa.jpgAs we say goodbye to 2022 and usher in the New Year, we have many achievements to look back on to make us proud, as well as hopeful. There are promising signs on the horizon for the year ahead.

Despite fears Republicans would take over the legislature in Washington D.C., they failed to flip a single seat in the Senate — thanks in no small part to our mobilization.

When the results were counted in November, the election of John Fetterman in Pennsylvania meant Democrats were able to hang onto control of the Senate, but their grip was not strong.

That’s why dozens of Union members and officers answered the call from labor allies in Georgia to knock on doors and get out the word that Raphael Warnock was the only choice for working people in the December 6th run-off.

Now that Warnock’s win has tightened their hold on the Senate, Democrats no longer need to rely on their most conservative members to confirm judges and pass legislation. The era when Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema wielded outsized power — often withholding their votes on key legislation to elicit concessions – is over.

And at the state level, 1199ers campaigning for Governors Kathy Hochul in New York, Wes Moore in Maryland, Maura Healey in Massachusetts and Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania also paid off.

These gubernatorial victories not only ensure that much more funding will be directed towards healthcare priorities in their respective states – it also means that election deniers were defeated. This may not seem so important now, but in 2024 when the nation is once again deciding who should be president, state governors will play a crucial role in making sure the will of the people is not overturned.

The election results are not the only reason to be cheerful, either. As we go to press, the ongoing effects of the pandemic are still with us, but with more widespread vaccination, the risks we face when we go to work have subsided substantially. As we begin to return to a more normal rhythm of life, the solidarity we showed during those dark days has also stayed with us.

Thousands of new workers have joined our movement this year, many of them from job titles and regions where we have not previously had membership. More and more Physician Assistants have joined our ranks (See The Work We Do p. 11). And nearly 1000 RNs at Phelps Memorial Hospital in the Hudson Valley and Clara Maass Medical Center in New Jersey came into our family in 2022.

When new workers’ organizations emerged at Amazon, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s and thousands of people formed unions where there had been none before, 1199ers stood proudly alongside them. At the Labor Day parade in New York City, we marched with them and paid tribute to them. The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King once called 1199 “The authentic conscience of the labor movement.” We took it to heart when he said it, and to this day we constantly strive to live up to it.

1199 Magazine: November - December 2022