Recently retired 1199er Sue Preset was honored by over 400 people who gathered at the United Steelworkers Local 1000 Hall in Corning, NY on Sunday to help raise money for her formidable medical expenses. Many spoke of Sue’s generosity, perseverance and commitment to improving the lives of others.
“She’s worked for 36 years at the hospital and she also does everything for the dogs through Tanner's P.A.W.S. animal rescue,” said her colleague and friend, Beth Fisher, a Corning Hospital nurse and 1199SEIU member. “Whenever someone is in need, she is the one collecting money for them, helping them out. So, we all said, this is our time to help her.”
In a surprise proclamation, Corning Mayor Rich Negri, on behalf of the entire city council, declared April 24 “SUE PRESET DAY."
1199SEIU Vice President Bruce Popper remembers a different date when he thinks of Sue. “I met Sue on my first major organizing campaign in 1978. Sue was the 'kid' on the union committee. She worked in Dietary. We lost that campaign. When the workers at Corning Hospital finally won their union in the early 1990s, Sue continued to be involved. During the strike in 2002, Sue was a rank-and-file leader par excellence all those decades; one of a core group of extremely focused women who knew what was right, and what was not.”
In honor of her decades of leadership, 1199SEIU Upstate officers presented Sue with a plaque and watch, commemorating her work with the union. The certificate reads:
In Deep Appreciation to: Sue Preset
For a Lifetime of Leadership in the Struggle for Worker Justice, in the Workplace, in the Corning Community, and Beyond.
“Everywhere you go, people always know: Sue Preset is a warrior!”
From the members, Delegates, and officers of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, and from the countless people whose lives are better today because of her.
Sunday’s event exceeded fundraising expectations; 1199 members, Corning-area residents and businesses all contributed with big hearts for a woman who has undeniably had an enormous positive impact on her community.