New Jersey Nurses Join 1199October 14, 2022
More than 500 Registered Nurses at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, New Jersey celebrated forming a union with 1199 in August. As the Union’s first hospital unit in NJ, the victory represents a significant opportunity to grow its power.
Tanya Howard, an RN and worker activist said, “I became a nurse because I love taking care of people. I love what I do, but it was getting hard to love what I do, especially when working conditions were so horrible during the Covid pandemic. Winning our union, we now have a say in how we’re treated and how our patients are treated.”
Lia Devers, another nurse activist, added, “With this victory, we have a seat at the table with management when it comes to decision-making at our hospital.
We must continue to stand united to win a contract that ensures better staffing ratios and a say in our benefits, including our retirement options, which will help us support nurses and our patients, who need us so much in the community.”
This groundbreaking Union victory at a New Jersey hospital came shortly after more than 150 workers at Covenant House in Midtown, Manhattan voted to join 1199. These new members provide lifesaving services and shelter to homeless young people in the Bronx and Manhattan.
“We came together to have a say in our workplace through our union because we felt underpaid, under appreciated and overworked,” said Leticia Hernandez, a Voucher Incentive Specialist. “If Covenant House employees have job security, we can better work toward fulfilling the Covenant House mission of supporting and sheltering homeless youth. By winning our union election, we showed our power.”
Marvin Dailey, a Custodial Specialist with 25 years of service added, “Only when we have job security can we best help get our clients—the kids—the services they need. Being in a union means having a voice to be treated fairly work-wise and wage-wise, and to be respected. The labor movement is growing, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
As well as organizing hospital workers in New Jersey and Covenant House workers in Manhattan—more than 3,300 new home care workers, who are part of the New York State Client Directed Personal Assistant Program (CDPAP), which serves chronically ill and physically disabled residents, voted to join 1199. The new members work with consumers through the Chinese- American Planning Council.
Once again, the 1199 home care organizing team went all out— connecting with nearly 2000 workers during the pandemic on a one-to-one basis to encourage them to sign union cards. Through digital work and house visits, the home care team never gave up.
1199 Magazine | September / October 2022