1199SEIU represents 102 members at Westfield Center, a nursing home in northeastern New Jersey. Workers at the institution care for seniors as well as patients undergoing rehabilitation. Many of their patients are Medicaid- and Medicare-dependent. Over the last few months, workers from Westfield participated in a campaign through the Union’s labor-management partnership, the Nursing Home Alliance, to increase Medicaid funding for nursing home residents. Through their efforts—meeting with state leaders and rallying at the capitol in Trenton—1199 members won an extra $5.25 million for nursing homes.




“What drives me to come to work every day is the relationships we build with the residents,” said Samira Suggs, who has worked as a recreation therapist at Westfield Center for six years, “It shows that you can have a good job and have fun at the same time.”


Rachel Bergman is a housekeeper at the Westfield Center.


Wanda Edmundson is a recreation assistant at Westfield Center. “Without us, some of our residents wouldn’t have anybody to talk to,” she says. She was a receptionist until three years ago.


Hermancia Santil is a certified nursing assistant at the Westfield Center.


Stephen Veliakath is a restorative aide at the Westfield Center.


Ovixon Constant has been a housekeeper at Westfield Center for 12 years. “More nursing home funding is important because every employee tries to make a difference, but often times we are working short.”

1199 Magazine | July / August 2017