1199SEIU WINS OVERWHELMING VOTE TO ORGANIZE OVER 1200 WORKERS AT NYU- WINTHROP HOSPITALSeptember 30, 2019
Successful vote caps an over year long battle to organize workers in the face of management opposition.
Mineola, LI, NY- After a long, contentious struggle, workers at NYU-Winthrop Hospital on Long Island voted on Wednesday, September 25, to join 1199SEIU UHWE, the largest healthcare local in the United States. The final vote was 817 for, 142 against becoming members of the union. The vote was the culmination of a long, pitched battle during which management attempted on several occasions to bully workers into voting “no”. Yet in the face of such tactics, an overwhelming majority of workers saw the importance of joining with 1199 to secure no-cost healthcare, a strong secure pension, as well as childcare and education benefits.
“We were often bullied and felt like we didn’t have any rights or respect on the job. Now that we have a seat at the table and have a say in our benefits, overwhelms me with joy. I’m so happy to be a part of 1199!” Said Candace Greenidge, a nursing assistant in Winthrop’s float pool.
Management went all out to convince the workforce that they didn’t need a union. They pulled workers from patient care duties and subjected them to 90-minute anti-union meetings. They told workers their jobs would be less secure, that bargaining could take two years or longer, and that there was no real benefit to being members of 1199SEIU. The union’s team pointed out that per diem workers would benefit by joining 1199 and be able to fight for the right for benefits, as would all full-time employees. They pointed out opportunities to advance their education, to provide enrichment opportunities for their children, all of which taken together convinced the workers that 1199 was the smart choice and to have a voice in how quality care can be delivered.
The contract that governs NYU and 1199 provides that the newly organized Winthrop workers will be entitled to the benefits of this agreement since Winthrop is now part of NYU. Winthrop workers could not be more excited.
“I have three kids and I’m looking forward to the childcare benefits I will receive. I’m also eligible for the pension and having strong benefits when I retire is really important for me and my family,” Greenidge continued.
“I have been with Winthrop for 14 years and in that time, I never felt like I had a voice. Now that we have joined with 1199, we have a voice for ourselves, our families, and our patients” said Annabella Elueta, who is a hospitality service worker at Winthrop.
“The Winthrop workers withstood a barrage of anti-union literature, with many factual errors designed to scare folks about strikes and our benefit plans. Through it all the workers stood strong in their unity. They wanted to have a voice in their workplace and ultimately Wednesday’s vote is a win not only for employees but also for the patients and the hospital,” said David Greenberg, Vice-President of New Organizing at 1199SEIU.