Supermajority of 1199SEIU UHWE Staff Petition to Unionize, Make Labor History at Nation’s Largest Union Local

Washington, DC — Today, a supermajority of eligible 1199SEIU “In House Staff” employees – from New York to Massachusetts to Florida – filed a Union petition with the National Labor Relations Board and demanded voluntary recognition to join WBNG Newsguild-CWA Local 32035.

“We are forming our Union because we deeply believe that all workers—including union staff—deserve dignity, respect, and a democratic voice on the job. We work every day to ensure thousands of healthcare workers from Massachusetts to Florida have a seat at the table and the power to uplift the communities in their care” reads worker organizers’ mission statement.

“We are uniting to bring these values home and ensure that all 1199SEIU in house staff feel heard, supported, and empowered, that we are all fairly compensated and our benefits are protected in a contract, that we have a voice in the decisions that affect our work and wellbeing, and to grow our capacity to support 1199SEIU members in our fight for quality care and good jobs for all.”

Workers called upon long-time 1199SEIU President George Gresham and fellow 1199SEIU leaders “to live our movement values and respect our right to organize by voluntarily recognizing our staff Union and immediately engaging in good faith negotiations.”

“We are uniting to achieve a fair and equitable grievance process not controlled and dictated by our
employer. Employee manuals are good, a contract is guaranteed” said Tamika Stewart, Education
Coordinator, New York, NY.

“The right to bargain collectively over terms and conditions of employment levels the playing field between labor and management. We are asking for nothing more than that; nothing more than what we tirelessly fight for on behalf of 1199 members” said Jay Jaffe, Sr. Managing Counsel, New York, NY.

“I am used to mobilizing my members, so now to be on the other side and do that for myself and my coworkers is an empowering, liberating feeling. Now I know what our members feel like, from start to finish.” Shirley Rollins, Secretary – 8, RN Division, New York, NY “Working in a right-to-work state like Florida and working in unions for the past 25-plus years has taught me the power and strength of collective bargaining. That goes for all workers, including ourselves” said Henry Martinez, System Administrator, MIS, Miami, FL.

“As a trans person of color, I want to achieve the queer and trans healthcare benefits that many of our members have won in their own contracts. In our staff union, we can protect the benefits we currently have in a real contract, and also expand and achieve healthcare equity for everyone working at 1199” said Farah Khimji, Researcher, New Organizing, New York, NY.

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“Forming our staff union is a positive move in the right direction that will put us in a more informed position to support our 1199SEIU members. Having the experience of unionizing myself will give me the impetus to work with, educate, and empower our members that much more.” Donald Hemmings, Education Coordinator, New York, NY.

“Advocating for myself and my coworkers is a must! No one should have to go to work feeling like they are powerless and have no rights. Working for a union, it’s a logical and easy decision to say “YES” to our IHS union!” AmySue Hannon, OneVoice Communication Specialist, Buffalo, NY. “Unions for all means unions for all. In our staff union, we can protect what we love about our jobs—in a real contract we have a say in—and negotiate collectively for job improvements we need. By learning to advocate for ourselves, we will also be stronger advocates for our own members.” Diego Grossmann, Communications\ Specialist, New Organizing, New York, NY.

“Our in-house staff union, to me, means the protection that only a contract can provide. For me, for my co-workers, for my family. Accept no substitutes.” Thomas Dyer, Elect Data Technician, Membership Dues Dept., New York, NY. “Why am I voting YES? To support my coworkers and the future generations of the labor movement.” Mike Glynn, Network Administration, MIS, Boston, MA.

“As a queer, disabled woman of color, I want my staff union contract to guarantee annual increases, maintain our incredible health insurance, provide a clear and fair grievance process, and protect hybrid work. I challenged management discretion as a rank & file member and I proudly continue to do so as in-house staff.” Nancy Hoàng, Digital Communications Coordinator, New York, NY, formerly NJ.

“I’m tired of having my job security and benefits be dependent on the whims and moods of management. A contract for in-house staff is long overdue. The time has come!” Jeff Morrissey, Executive Secretary, New York, NY. “It’s 2024 and when we say “Unions for ALL” we are including ourselves. Life is better with a Union. Period.” Crystal Cepeda, Administrative Assistant, Nursing Home Division, NY

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