SEIU stands in solidarity with janitors and building maintenance workers who have shown the courage to speak out against their ongoing abuse at the hands of coworkers, supervisors, and managers. We’re helping to eradicate workplace harassment and abusive behavior toward an extremely vulnerable population with legislation introduced by State Assembly Member Gonzales and his team of coauthors. Undocumented/low wage labor is prevalent and among the most vulnerable in our building/property services workers. These men and women are frequently targeted for harassment, exploitation, and assault (sexual and otherwise). Especially vulnerable to attack during night-shift hours in office buildings, private practice commercial buildings and otherwise unsupervised locations. Victims are subjected to unthinkable indignities and have little voice or recourse, their attackers knowing this often use paycheck manipulation other extortion like threats in order to keep their victims from speaking out.
We and SEIU Nurse Alliance of California add our voices of support for AB1978 which essentially requires employers, supervisors and managers to educate themselves on this issue and demonstrate preventative effort. According to the California Legislative Information website this Assembly Bill is an important effort to “…establish specific standards and protections for property service workers…” as spelled out in the legislative council’s digest section of the website at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1978
Nurses in their daily practice, have unique access to victims of abuse and can help expose the perpetrators of workplace abuse by remaining on the lookout for bruises, suspicious bleeding and other signs of bodily harm that isn’t consistent with a patient’s story of how such injuries were inflicted. Patient advocacy goes deeper than just treating an injury. Information gathered at the point of treatment can empower nurses to support the justice process. Legislation such as AB1978 provides a framework for empowering people to assert their rights and access to justice in the workplace.
Congratulations are definitely in order for Luisa Blue who was not only recently elected Executive VP, she is also to be acknowledged as a strong voice for healthcare workers across CA and our Nation. Luisa was part of creating national legislation for BLOOD BORNE PATHOGENS during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and she also helped to create the NURSE RATIOS in CA. Luisa also founded APALA (Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance). She has stern words for a presidential candidate who demonstrates ignorance and racism in pursuit of The Oval Office, and speaks out in favor of those who demonstrate leadership and understanding for those who stand in support of working families.
The SEIU.ORG press release on May 22, 2016 highlighted the re-election of Mary Kay Henry as president, along with her board. Our sister in Local 521, Luisa Blue is featured in the press release as Executive Vice President elect with the following bio:
“Luisa Blue has dedicated the last four decades of her life to organizing and advocating for workers’ rights through the union. She previously served as the Chief Elected Officer of the SEIU Local 521 representing over 55,000 public service workers who provide vital community services from the Silicon Valley, down the Monterey-Santa Cruz Coast and into California’s Central Valley. In 1977, she worked as an RN at San Francisco General Hospital and joined the union where she become more empowered and active and helped organize a successful campaign that improved collective bargaining rights for county registered nurses. Luisa expanded the fight to unite nurses on a national level as a founding member of the SEIU Nurse Alliance. She has also served on the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Executive Board and served two terms as their national president. She continues to lead in the advancement of AAPI worker’s rights, civil rights and economic justice.”
SEIU Nurse Alliance of California sincerely appreciates what Luisa has done for the sake of standing firmly united for justice in the workplace and beyond. Congratulations, Luisa, we stand with you!
Among her earliest supporters, SEIU has enthusiastically supported Hillary Clinton’s run for President of The United States. It is with deep appreciation that our voice and that of other unions has recently been joined by the largest labor organization in the country.
Patrick Caldwell reports on June 16, 2016 on Hillary Clinton’s endorsement by AFL-CIO. This is significant because the nation’s biggest labor federation in the country (12.5 million members) had remained noticeably quiet until the recent board vote. Caldwell’s article quotes AFL-CIO president as follows: “The activism of working people has already been a major force in this election, and is now poised to elect Hillary Clinton and move America forward”.
Time Magazine published an interpretation on the same date as Caldwell’s article. Sam Frizell opens by quoting Richard Trumka: “AFL-CIO calls her a proven leader who shares our values”. Further in the article, the Trumka quote continues: ““Throughout the campaign, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to the issues that matter to working people, and our members have taken notice.”
Responding to the endorsement by AFL-CIO, Hillary commented: “Workers will always have a seat at the table and a champion in the White House”.
Today, August 18th, 2016, in Scranton, PA, it was announced on Eric DuVall’s post on UPI’s site that the Working Families Party, which had previously endorsed Sen. Sanders, is now backing Clinton – especially noted in the article was praise for Clinton’s proposals on election reform, immigration and the economy.
This revised position did not come without debate. According to DuVall’s report, this decision came with the backing of 68% of the membership and a stern warning that there will be ongoing effort through social movements, unions, progressive activists and organizations to “hold her accountable for her campaign promises”.
On July 27, 2016, Jamie Reysen reports on amny.com, that Meryl Streep provides outspoken support for Hillary Clinton in her Democratic National Convention speech. See this article for a list of celebrities including: Lady Gaga, Amy Schumer, Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Ja Rule, America Ferrera, and many more.
The SEIU Nurse Alliance of California adds it’s voice in support of Hillary to the throngs of others mentioned above. But most importantly, is that we exercise our voices and vote. Although the articles mentioned and quoted above support our urgent priority to unite our voices behind Clinton, it is important to acknowledge that there is significant lingering, and potentially divisive energy to continue support for Bernie Sanders. This article on CNNPolitics.com should clarify for anyone leaning that direction, that Bernie Sanders himself, endorses Hillary Clinton and encourages a unified stand in support of her on election day.
In March of this year, unrelenting members of Local 721 accompanied by other professions including: Social Workers, Medical Case Workers, Surgical Technicians, Physical Therapy Aid, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Registered Nurses, and Nurse Practitioners shared with Dr. Katz, Department of Health Services for Los Angeles County, their alarming stories of overt bullying and silent retaliation at the hands of managers.
Following-through with action, Dr. Mitch Katz put management and administration on notice by circulating a memo condemning bully behavior in the workplace.
“As a testament to his commitment and genuine interest in making immediate strides in creating a bully free DHS, Dr. Katz sent out a department wide memo on May 2nd condemning bullying behavior and asking DHS employees, including management and supervisors, to join him in pledging to treat all workforce members with dignity and respect.”
And it doesn’t stop with Local 721. In June of this year, the Joint Commission published downloadable guidelines which further clarifies how “bullying” is to be defined, identified and treated separately and distinctly from illegal harassment.
SEIU Local 721 demonstrates how standing together, we remain strong in this blog post showing how MLK Outpatient Center’s CEO responded to the Dr. Katz memo by endorsing and expanding the message specifically to this facility.
“…Our primary focus should always be patients first. But, we cannot properly care for our patients if we are not respectful toward one another. I know that we can do it…” – Cynthia Oliver, CEO