Union Victories in MA and NY

February 15, 2024

1199 continues to grow and add new members who go on to negotiate
strong contracts.

Nearly 300 healthcare workers in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts were celebrating on December 13, after forming a union with 1199SEIU at Upham’s Corner Health Center.

“For me it was moving that we achieved a decisive victory for the working class,” said Jose Morales, a home care worker at Upham’s Corner. “With this process that we have achieved with La Unión 1199SEIU, we can negotiate a decent contract; where our voices are heard without any type of coercion.”

Union Victories in MA and NY 01 1199.jan.feb.2024.final.jpgHome care worker Ruth Akhungu said, “With the backing of our union, we have a strong voice to improve our working conditions and pay. As home care workers providing essential care, we need guaranteed raises, so our salaries increase with the rising cost of living.”

The workers who voted to join 1199SEIU include home health aides, medical assistants, patient service representatives, maintenance and dental assistants.

The Union victory at Upham’s Corner comes less than two months after nearly 450 workers at another Boston clinic, Fenway Health, voted to join 1199. Members at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, who formed their union in 2022, also agreed to their first contract in September 2023.

In New York, more than 140 laboratory technologists at Northwell Health’s microbiologist facility won their 1199 vote on December 20. These professional workers intend to stay strong and build for their first contract battle with the healthcare giant.

On the same day, another group of 17 professional workers at Mercy Hospital in Long Island celebrated an 1199SEIU union victory of their own. The case managers and social workers in the hospital’s behavioral health unit are the latest group to join 1199 since the hospital service workers were first organized in 2017.

Union Victories in MA and NY 02 1199.jan.feb.2024.final.jpg

These original members at Mercy Hospital recently negotiated substantial raises in their second contract. Direct care workers at the hospital will see increases of 18 percent over the next three years and significant improvements to their healthcare plan.

“The pay increases we fought for and won are substantial,” 15year dietary aide Dawn Naughton said. “A lot of us have been working overtime or two jobs to survive. I did the calculations, and they are going to make a big difference in my life.”

Manny Oxilus, a clinical laboratory associate who has worked at Mercy for 14 years, called the contract the “biggest win since we voted to join the union.”

“People said it couldn’t be done, but we did it,” he said. “This contract has competitive wages and benefits that will help attract new talent and workers–and better staffing means better patient care.”