October 30, 2014

DORCHESTER, MA – Leaders of the state’s largest union of healthcare workers issued the following statements today. The statements are from 1199SEIU President George Gresham and 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner. Healthcare workers also posted a tribute video to YouTube that was shown at a special event with the Mayor at the organization’s Dorchester union hall in July 2013, recapping Mayor Menino’s deep commitment to improving the lives of local healthcare workers and our patients.

- Statement from 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East President George Gresham -

"Today, Boston and in fact the world lost a legend of public service. Thomas M. Menino dedicated his life to making Boston a world class city. Mayor Menino was a steadfast supporter of the members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. He understood and championed the needs of working people and will be remembered for his hands-on, can-do approach to making Boston a stronger city. I knew him as a man of great compassion, strength and determination. I am thankful for his leadership and for his tireless efforts on behalf of 1199’s members and honored to have been able to call him a friend." – 1199SEIU President George Gresham

- Statement from 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Executive Vice President Veronica Turner -

“Today, we lost a terrific fighter and a dedicated ally of healthcare workers, patients, and all working families. Throughout his five terms as Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino championed fairness and equality, using his powerful voice to stand up for social justice, protect workers, and strengthen our neighborhoods. He was a champion for communities of color, local healthcare workers, and our patients, fighting for fair wages, free and fair union elections, quality affordable care for all, and safe working conditions.

Mayor Menino's tremendous leadership in healthcare played an integral role in making Boston a national leader in this field. He understood the importance of protecting our most vulnerable residents and helped establish Boston Medical Center – a critical resource for tens of thousands of children, families and seniors, and an institution that is vital to our safety net.

Throughout his career, Mayor Menino stood up for and beside workers in our fight for equality and stronger healthcare for our communities. His leadership and support enabled tens of thousands of Boston healthcare workers to have the opportunity to join 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and achieve a higher quality of life. He was a stalwart advocate for the 1199SEIU Training Fund, an initiative that provides education and training to local healthcare employees – advancing their careers and enhancing patient care.

His strong spirit and compassion was evident in everything he did on behalf of the City and its residents. Following the 2009 earthquake in Haiti, Mayor Menino established an earthquake response headquarters at our union hall in Dorchester to aid thousands of Boston healthcare workers whose families and friends lost their lives in the tragedy.

Both in times of crisis and celebration, he was always a friend, an advocate, and a mentor to both me personally, and to many local caregivers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mayor Menino's wife Angela as well as all Bostonians as we mourn the loss of our great mayor and his lasting legacy.”

– 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner