Florida 1199ers On the Move

October 18, 2023

Just a members and retirees gear up for the 2024 election in their tossup state, thousands are celebrating a landmark contract victory.

1199 retirees Florida-September-October.2023.final.jpg1199 retirees in Florida kicked off the upcoming national election season with their annual picnic, held in Miami.

“Many of us have moved to Florida with good pensions and secure retirements, but only after working long and hard in New York to build strong union power in our workplaces and in politics,” explained attendee Diana Drayton, a retired 1199 blood transfusion technologist who moved to Miami in 2021, adding: “We need all workers and union members in Florida to get engaged while on the job and at the ballot box to bring the same security and benefits to our working families here.”

Retirees and members in Florida, as well as Georgia and North Carolina, have been working hard to get out the vote through phone-banking and canvassing for many years and the 2024 election will be no exception.

Rafael Coco was an Alcohol Rehabilitation Counselor at Bronx Lebanon Hospital, who retired and moved to Florida in 2015. He attended the picnic to meet like-minded retirees in his adopted state. “I know how important it is to elect representatives who care about working people” he said, “It is harder to organize here than it is in New York. People are much more spread out and everyone drives in a car to get anywhere.”

Raphael Coco-September-October.2023.final.jpgAs well as getting out the vote, 1199ers are lending their voices to a Florida campaign to put abortion rights on the 2024 general election ballot following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion last year. If the ballot initiative goes ahead, it would give Floridians the chance to vote down a potential 6-week abortion ban that is looming on the horizon in the sunshine state.

Deborah Montgomery, an 1199 RN and lactation consultant who lives in Palm Beach and works in one of the area’s largest hospitals. With the Union’s help, she recently published an opinion piece in the Palm Beach Post explaining the dangers of the new legislation.

“I already see first-hand the tragedies that result from dangerous, forced or unwanted pregnancies, wrote Montgomery,

“Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with little hope for a healthy, happy life, and young mothers and families feeling heartbreak.

“As always with this falsely righteous [Florida Governor Ron DeSantis] regime, the new law will most hurt women and communities who need the most compassion and support. Lowincome women, already challenged by lack of access to affordable healthcare, will not be able to afford to travel to another state that provides proper reproductive and abortion rights.”