Family Fun DaySeptember 5, 2023
After flexing their collective muscle outside Clara Maass Hospital, members spent the rest of the day relaxing with their families in a nearby park. 1199SEIU had laid on hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream and other carnival-style treats. There were bouncy castles, slides, balloon caricatures and bubble shows for the kids to enjoy and music and dancing for the adults. The local Newark Fire Department even drove one of their engines to the park for the kids to climb up on.
Tanya Howard, an 1199 RN, who has worked at Clara Maass for 23 years and was a leading activist in the union drive last year, was there with her granddaughter. She said: “I love the turnout. It’s beautiful that so many members came out to support us. I wasn’t expecting anything like this.”
Peggy Vujovich, an 1199 Delegate who works as a Dietitian at the dialysis center run by Fresenius Kidney Care in Brooklyn said she came out to support the Clara Maass nurses in their contract battle to “give back.” She had seen the power of solidarity for herself day during their own negotiations: “We had been proposing pay increases to management for months,” said Vujovich.
But talks were stalled until 1199 members turned out in force to their member visibility day. “At the very next negotiation date, management finally started talking to us about pay increases,” she added.
Retired members boarded buses to New Jersey too, when they got the call that 1199 nurses need their help.
“These are nurses that work hard,” said Eustene Corbin, who retired from the Catholic Medical Center Hospital in Queens. “Management refuses to pay them what they deserve. Every year we go to Albany and Washington to lobby for public money which benefits the management of their institution. We retired from the job, but not from the union.”