Boston, MA (April 12, 2017) – Hundreds of healthcare workers met with legislators today to outline their issues agenda to promote quality care and social, racial and economic justice for all workers across the Commonwealth.
As part of their annual Advocacy Day, healthcare workers with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East participated in a breakfast with Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, and newly-elected legislators. Later in the day, workers met with state legislators to discuss legislative and budget priorities to enhance access to quality, affordable healthcare and strengthen working families. 1199SEIU is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in Massachusetts.
"The Senate has many common goals with the members of 1199SEIU for this legislative session, including paid family and medical leave and comprehensive criminal justice reform. I look forward to working with their members and my colleagues in the House to move the Commonwealth forward," said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).
"The members of 1199SEIU are not only healthcare advocates, but they are also community leaders," said Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain). "The power of their unified voice on healthcare issues and social justice will continue to make a difference for all of our communities, and I look forward to our ongoing partnership."
“As healthcare workers, we have dedicated our lives to compassion, fighting for healthy and just communities, and standing up for equal rights and opportunity for everyone,” said Tyrék D. Lee, Sr., Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. “We care about our industry, our patients, our consumers, and our communities. We will build on our existing relationships with elected leaders through our collaborative work to pursue a more equitable Commonwealth. Together, we will keep
fighting to advocate for legislation and policies that ensure our healthcare industry continues to thrive and all workers – including those not yet unionized – have respect, dignity and a voice at their workplaces.”
Following the release of the House Ways and Means FY2018 budget on Monday, 1199SEIU members advocated for passage of amendments to address several healthcare priorities, including:
* healthcare assessment reform, filed by Representative Christine Barber (D-Somerville), to explore innovative and fair funding to support safety-net and community hospitals through the Community Hospital Reinvestment Trust Fund with increased participation from pharmaceutical companies, large doctor’s groups and other large health care market participants;
* nursing home MassHealth rates and wage pass-through, filed by Representative Dan Cahill (D-Lynn), to ensure quality nursing homes remain a viable option for those in need of such care while making sure that the homes’ direct care workforces are adequately compensated;
* home care worker registry, filed by Representative Dan Cullinane (D-Dorchester), to better assess the current home care workforce and identify gaps in filling the increasing demand for home care services in response to the rapidly growing population of seniors and people with disabilities.
In addition, healthcare workers expressed appreciation to members of the House of Representatives for fully funding the Personal Care Attendant program in their budget and reinforced the importance of continued fair implementation of the state’s overtime management policy they helped develop last fall.
Healthcare workers also voiced support for legislative efforts that will strengthen working families and advance social, racial and economic justice for all workers – a statewide minimum wage of $15 an hour, paid family and medical leave, criminal justice system reform, the Safe Communities Act to provide additional protections for immigrants and the “Fair Share” Constitutional amendment to tax incomes above $1 million and support public education and transportation.
Representing more than 56,000 healthcare workers throughout Massachusetts and over 400,000 workers across the East Coast, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all. 1199SEIU is part of the 2.1 million member Service Employees International Union.