Hudson Valley & Capital Region, NY (PRWEB) August 31, 2014
This Labor Day, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest and fastest growing union in New York State and nationwide, is focusing even more resources on bringing good, middle-class healthcare jobs and the best quality of care to New York’s Hudson Valley and Capital regions.
In recent years, thousands of healthcare workers in the region have built a better future for themselves and their families by becoming members of the healthcare workers’ union. In August, 250 caregivers and other healthcare workers at Dutchess Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Pawling and at Wingate Healthcare in Wingate voted to join 1199SEIU, marking the newest 1199 members in the regions.
- 1199SEIU has reached nursing home density of 37 percent in New York’s Hudson Valley and Capital Region combined, while union density for the United States labor force remained at 11.3 percent in both 2012 and 2013.
- In Dutchess county, 1199SEIU nursing home union density has sky-rocketed to 70 percent, and in Schenectady, it is at 50 percent.
With manufacturing jobs continuing to dwindle, it’s important that healthcare jobs provide the fair wages, steady employment and opportunities for growth that those manufacturing jobs once did. Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the nation and worldwide. During the great recession, healthcare employment nationwide, as well as in the Hudson Valley and Capital regions, continued to grow as most other industries saw sharp declines.
In addition to fair wages, members have access to a home mortgage program that lends them financial support and tools to purchase their first home in a responsible manner. They also have access to a secure, employer-paid pension, which gives them financial security and peace of mind.
“I began drawing my pension this July and am doing very well,” said Cheri Conte, a recent 1199 retiree from Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville. “Between my pension and social security, I will be able to live comfortably. It is a comfort to know that for the rest of my life I will be receiving pension checks and I am also thankful that I will continue receiving total health coverage.”
1199SEIU members have access to affordable educational opportunities through the union’s Training and Upgrading Fund, which helps them to advance their careers and learn how to better provide quality care to their patients.
John Makoyi, an 1199 member for 10 years with Good Samaritan Village Senior Community in Albany utilized the union’s training fund to advance from a Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.) to a Licensed Practical Nurse. Now, he is once again going back to school, this time for a degree in business.
“The guidance and financial help I have received with 1199 has motivated me to go back to school, advance my career and improve my life. My co-workers have seen what I have been able to accomplish, and have followed in my footsteps,” Mr. Makoyi said.
“I had been working at Rite Aid for 8 years when I decided to utilize 1199’s training fund to go back to school for nursing,” said Alison Zepeda, a pharmacy technician with Rite Aid who just graduated as valedictorian in her Licensed Practical Nurse program. “With the help of 1199SEIU, I was able to juggle working, going to school and caring for my two children. In addition to school, through my union’s Childcare program, I got financial help for daycare when my kids were younger, which was so helpful. 1199 has so many programs to help working parents get ahead and take care of their families.”
According to a report recently released by the Brookings Institute, “Part of the Solution: Pre-Baccalaureate Healthcare Workers in a Time of Health System Change”, July 2014, healthcare job growth has trended toward lower-paid positions that require less education. As 1199SEIU members, workers in these job categories are able to advance into better positions, and fight for fair jobs that will ensure a strong middle-class and good economy for their communities. Moving forward with the commitment to improve patient care and strengthen local economies, 1199SEIU is continuing to help healthcare workers organize and achieve these goals in the coming years.
Lisa Brown, 1199SEIU’s Executive Vice President in the region said, “Ensuring workers’ dignity and respect on the job. Building stable communities. That is our goal, that is our vision on this Labor Day, and every day.”
To that end, in 2013, 3,255 Registered Nurses (RNs) in the Capital Region received settlement payouts averaging $1,730 related to a class action lawsuit alleging that five area hospitals violated federal antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress nurse wages.* 1199SEIU, along with the SEIU Nurse Alliance, helped conduct the original research, which laid the foundation for the suit; the SEIU Nurse Alliance also supported the plaintiffs and the litigation throughout the process.
*The federal class action lawsuit was filed in June 2006 in U.S. District Court against Albany Medical Center, St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, Albany Memorial Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam and Samaritan Hospital in Troy. Fleischman v. Albany Medical Center, No. 06-CV-0765 (TJM/DRH) (N.D.N.Y.)
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. We represent over 400,000 nurses and caregivers throughout Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Florida. Our mission is to achieve quality care and good jobs for all.