Employees at America’s Largest Healthcare Union 1199SEIU-UHWE Vote to Unionize Themselves by Huge Margin: A Labor History Milestone

Washington-Baltimore News Guild



Farah Khimji – (214) 277-3879 – farahkhimji@gmail.com – New York, NY

AmySue Hannon (716) 418-9695 – AmySue.hannon@gmail.com- Buffalo, NY

Henry Martinez (954) 589-9189 – Martinezh25@gmail.com – Miami, Florida

Donald Hemmings – (929) 374-8775 – hemmings_donald@yahoo.com – New York, NY

Tamika Stewart – 917-374-7557 – Tamikaestewart@gmail.com – New York, NY


Bruce Jett, Washington-Baltimore News Guild Local Representative – (703) 627-4547 – b.corneljett@gmail.com

Employees at America’s Largest Healthcare Union 1199SEIU-UHWE Vote to Unionize Themselves by Huge Margin: A Labor History Milestone

Washington, DC — On Friday, June 14, 1199SEIU-UHWE In House Staff – from New York to Massachusetts to Florida – voted overwhelmingly by 82.3% to join the Washington-Baltimore News Guild (TNG-CWA Local 32035), securing collective bargaining rights for roughly 260 employees at America’s largest healthcare union representing over 450,000 members across the East Coast.

“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.”

“We look forward to meeting 1199SEIU-UHWE Management at the negotiations table in what will be another historic moment for ourselves and this organization: the opportunity to codify our wages and benefits in a fair contract we have a say in.” AmySue Hannon, OneVoice Communication Specialist, Buffalo, NY.

“We hope to negotiate fair compensation and parity in benefits across titles, a more flexible remote work policy, a real grievance procedure to protect ourselves from retaliation, and greater respect for the employees who are essential to the work of this organization: serving 1199 SEIU-UHWE members day in, day out.” Farah Khimji, Researcher, New York, NY.

In their effort to win a union of their own, employees overcame an aggressive union-busting campaign supported by 1199SEIU-UHWE Management, who wrongfully terminated employee Donald Hemmings, Education Coordinator of 11 years and active staff union organizer.

“Despite working for a union, we are not protected by a collective bargaining contract. That would have given me the right to contest my wrongful termination through a real grievance procedure. Now, we are changing that.” Donald Hemmings, Training Coordinator, Education, New York, NY.

Even after 1199SEIU-UHWE Management wrongfully terminated Hemmings, his coworkers continued to organize with each other to build the overwhelming support demonstrated by Friday’s historic victory.

“When it became clear that we did not have a voice, we did what we tell our members to do: organize.” Sophia Campbell, Coordinator, Executive, 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.” Henry Martinez, System Administrator, MIS, Miami, FL.

“We work hard & deserve to have our contributions to 1199’s success recognized. By winning our staff union, we can ensure we are treated with the dignity and respect we deserve.” Allen Jackson, Senior Researcher, Boston, MA.

“Forming our In House Staff Union is about living out our 1199 values from within. It’s time we have our voices fairly heard and a process that protects our rights.” Loraine Arikat, Sr. Political Analyst, Baltimore, MD.

“We carry the load to support our 1199 members logistically, technologically, and financially. Yet for too long we have had no rights, no say, nothing. Today, by winning our staff union, we have gained a voice and greater protection within our workplace.” Neville Edwards, Programmer, NYC.

“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.” Farah Khimji, Researcher, New York, NY.

“At the end of the day, we work for the members of 1199SEIU. By learning what it takes to advocate for ourselves within our own workplace, we will be even stronger advocates for the current and future members we serve.” Diego Grossmann, Communications Specialist, 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.” Thomas Dyer, Electronic Data Technician, New York, NY.

“Forming our 1199 In House Staff Union is our way to support each other as coworkers and chart a better future for the labor movement.” Mike Glynn, Network Administrator, Boston, MA.

“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. Now, the time has come!” Jeff Morrissey, Executive Secretary, New York, NY.

“I want the same rights that keep our 1199 members protected. To secure our benefits in a contract. Severance pay and step increases for all titles. Equal treatment, no matter our position. This is what it means to form our staff union.” Jonathan Escobar, Network Administrator, NYC.

“Every worker deserves a voice. Every worker deserves to be heard. Every worker deserves a fair contract. This is what we fight for every day on behalf of our members. Now, we have secured the same rights for ourselves.” Crystal Cepeda, Administrative Assistant, 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.” Jay Jaffe, Sr. Managing Counsel, NYC.

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