Thousands of hospital workers across Greater Boston joined 1199 in 2009. Find out more about this city on the move!

A Victory for Hospital Workers! Click here to read about the contract that is making a difference in the lives of patients, healthcare workers and their families.


Hospital workers support public radio in order to educate our community about Free & Fair union elections.
Click to listen to our WBUR (90.9 FM) underwriting spot.

Free & Fair hits the airwaves!
Hear the radio ad.

Hear “Voice of the Red Sox” Joe Castiglione promote fair elections.

Listen to the WBCN ads that ran
during Superbowl 2008.


Ads Air on WBCN (CBS) Patriots Radio Network

SEIU Healthcare Workers Appeal During Super Bowl for Free and Fair Union Elections in Boston Hospitals

While the Patriots took on the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, Massachusetts healthcare workers took on the hospital CEOs trying to prevent

them from voting freely in fair secret ballot elections to form unions. During Sunday's game, Boston hospital workers took to the airwaves in their efforts to unite for a voice in protecting patient care and improving jobs for working families.

As a Super Bowl and New England Patriots sponsor on CBS radio affiliate WBCN, the healthcare workers of 1199SEIU raised awareness during 10- and 30-second spots that free and fair union elections for hospital staff mean better care and good jobs for the whole community.

Hospital management has sometimes waged expensive campaigns of fear and intimidation against Boston caregivers who have tried to form unions in the past.

"Everybody's talking about the presidential campaign, but what if your boss told you how to vote and who to vote for?" the ad asks. "What if your boss could fire you if you didn't vote their way?"

The healthcare workers of 1199SEIU were also the exclusive sponsor of injury reports and injury updates throughout the broadcast.

"This was a chance for us to tell our story,” says Jason Depina, a lab technician at a Boston hospital and a Pats fan. “As people listened in to learn about the health of their favorite Patriot players, we got the chance to ask them to support the people who take care of their health and who deserve a fair shot to form a union."

To hear the ads, Click Here.


Why we're unionizing: in our own words

"I've worked as a Nursing Assistant and Patient Care Technician for over 25 years in some of Boston’s best teaching hospitals. It's only fair to pay those who care. Nursing assistants and patient care techs play a major and key role in the care of patients. Working in the department of nursing should automatically quality us for some of the benefits that the nurses receive. For example, safe staffing levels, and by all means an increase in our wages. With my years of experience I should be making at least $20 an hour. I believe that 1199 will see us through and we will get free and fair union elections."

- Cynthia Bates, St. Elizabeth’s Worker

I have worked at Brigham and Women’s for many years. One time, a patient got upset with me for some reason and went to punch me. I hit the panic button and security
never arrived. I paged my supervisor and she called me back three hours later! I
recently went to a rally run by a Sunday school group who were supportive of the hospital workers having Free and Fair union elections in the Boston hospitals. The children gathered in front of the hospital to sing songs. Security arrived to remove them. Security will show up to stop us from having a voice on the job and to protect the hospital’s public image but not to protect their employees’ safety. That is just wrong."

- From an anonymous Brigham and Women's employee


Heating assistance available for Boston residents

Heating or eating is no choice. It's just wrong that so many people in Massachusetts have to choose between heating, eating or paying for healthcare. Something is really wrong when healthcare workers at some of the most prestigious hospitals in the world also face that choice. That's one of the many reasons workers are coming together to form a union -- to win decent pay and benefits for all Massachusetts hospital caregivers.

In the meantime, please share this information with friends and co-workers who might find it helpful. Heating assistance is available through the following programs:

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides income-eligible households with help in paying winter heating bills. Apply to your local administering agency for help paying oil, propane, wood, coal, gas or electric bills.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) assists low-income households in maximizing the energy efficiency of their homes. This year-round program identifies and remedies sealing, insulating, and health and safety problems in apartments and houses at no cost to the household.

Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Weatherization Assistance Program provides heating system repair and replacement services to low-income homeowners. Tenants in need of repairs must contact their landlords who are legally responsible for the maintenance of their heating systems.

To access the three programs above, call Action for Boston Community Development at 617-357-6012 if you live in the Boston area, or Mass. Community Services Unit at 617-573-1400 if you live outside the Boston area.

Citizen’s Energy Oil Heat Program provides heating assistance to eligible households. Call 877-JOE-4-OIL (877-563-4645) to apply, or visit The deadline is February 29, 2008.

Citizen’s Energy/Distrigas Heat Assistance Program helps households struggling to pay their natural gas heating bills. The program makes payments on behalf of the household directly. Call 866-GAS-9918 (866-427-9918) to request an application, or visit


A message for a new year

Dear Co-workers,

Here’s to a new year with new hope.

  • Hope for a new relationship between hospital workers and management, where our contribution to patient care is respected;

  • Hope for they day we will bargain as a union to improve living conditions
    knowing that we are paid wages that respect the value of our work;

  • Hope that we have affordable healthcare for ourselves and our families;

  • Hope that we will be able to retire with financial security;

  • That we have access to training to move up a career ladder;

  • And hope that no hospital worker ever again has to choose between paying for heat or food or healthcare.

Let this be the year that every Massachusetts hospital CEO makes the
commitment to a Free and Fair Code of Conduct, where workers will be free to
join together as a union, free from management intimidation, under fair secret
ballot voting conditions.

We're so proud that we can start the year by looking at one another and saying,
"You can count on me. We’re here for each other."

In Solidarity,
The Massachusetts Hospital Organizing Committee


The Jewish Advocate on respecting workers' rights

Jewish codes of conduct
by Ben Healey - Monday 17 December 2007

Last month, I wrote that the Jewish tradition of social justice – not to mention a universalistic approach to human rights – demands that we respect workers’ right to choose whether or not to join a union, on their own, without fear of retaliation from their bosses. Furthermore, I called out Paul Levy, a community leader and head of Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, for his vocal opposition to one union’s attempt to organize his hospital, suggesting that he is acting out of accordance with that tradition.

As it is said: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). In the case of a union organizing campaign, this could not be more true – with the tongues in question belonging to powerful hospital executives and management more broadly. If those in power in the workplace verbally campaign against unionization, then workers who want to organize will undoubtedly feel that their efforts come at the risk of their jobs, their income, their ability to provide for themselves and their families. Mr. Levy did respond to my earlier piece, but only by quoting his unilateral, unenforceable code of conduct as proof that he was going to let his employees choose for themselves. But as any high school debater worth his salt can tell you, one well-worded statement does not unmake a history of negative action. For example: a few years ago the BIDMC, under Mr. Levy’s direction, ran a scorched-earth campaign against skilled maintenance workers who were trying to form a union. Furthermore, the hospital has put on retainer one of the most notorious union-busting law firms in the country (Foley & Lardner) and has recently appointed one of its partners to its CareGroup Board. And in his very own blog postings, Mr. Levy has sought to obfuscate the fact that he is committed to using hospital dollars to fund anti-union activities by refusing to state simply, “The BIDMC will not use patient care dollars – or any dollars, for that matter – to stop our employees from exercising their own free choice.”
Nonetheless, I do agree with Mr. Levy on one central point – a code of conduct is necessary.

In fact, the union seeking to organize the hospital – 1199SEIU – has asked that the management of Boston’s not-yet-union hospitals agree to just that: a Free and Fair Election Code of Conduct – free for workers to make up their own minds, under fair secret ballot voting conditions.

Mr. Levy’s code would allow managers to campaign anywhere and anytime, on work time, to influence caregivers’ votes, and gives managers full reign to take workers away from the bedside in their efforts to do so. That’s not a recipe for an evenhanded election process. It is a stacked deck. One of the overriding themes of our tradition is the centrality of dialogue – from Moses’ back-and-forth with God to the Talmudic rabbis and on down to today. We don’t solve problems in the Jewish community by fiat. Rather than acting unilaterally, BIDMC administrators need to sit down with 1199SEIU and work out a process that both sides can agree is free and fair, so that employees can choose for themselves.

Ben Healey is a co-coordinator of the Moishe/Kavod Jewish Social Justice House and on the board of the New England Jewish-Labor Committee. He can be reached at


Anti-worker hospital boss wins "Grinch of the Year"


Massachusetts Nurses Association and 1199SEIU unite with Jobs with Justice to present Grinch prize to grumpy CEO

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO Paul Levy has been crowned "Grinch of the Year" by online voters who participated in an contest promoted by Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, a local coalition of labor, religious, and community groups that advocates for improving job standards for working families. Thousands of votes were cast in the poll which was hosted on the Massachusetts Jobs with Justice website.

On Monday, December 10, non-union hospital workers joined members of 1199SEIU, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and Jobs with Justice activists to deliver the coveted "Grinch" award to Levy's office, high above the bustling streets and buildings of the Longwood medical area.

Around 4:15 p.m., hospital officials refused the caregivers access to present Levy his award. The advocates were then told Levy would not come down to the lobby to be recognized for his accomplishment. The CEO's prize included a hardcover copy of the beloved children's classic by Dr. Seuss, in which the Grinch plots against residents of Whoville from his mountaintop lair before a young child from the town below helps him grow a heart and change his ways. Levy's unclaimed copy of the book will be donated to the Boston Public Library children's department.

Following two years of anti-worker ranting and unhinged public commentary opposing the right of caregivers to vote in free and fair union elections, Levy edged out his competition for the top "Grinch" prize, which included nominees like former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Boston socialite/Verizon bigwig Sandra Moose.

The hospital boss has come under fire from caregivers, advocates and even some of his fellow bloggers for refusing to make a legally binding commitment that his executives won't threaten or coerce workers during secret ballot union elections at Beth Israel Deaconess.

Dec042007 - Union busting for the holidays

Jane Hamsher of urged readers to vote for Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, as "Grinch of the Year".

"By refusing to refrain from union-busting tactics when dealing with hospital workers who live paycheck-to-paycheck, especially during the holidays, he has most certainly earned it," Hamsher wrote. Read Hamsher's full article.


Children lead rally to support hospital workers

On Sunday, December 2, in the Longwood Medical area of Boston, Mass., over 100 parents and children were led by the fifth grade class of the Workmen's Circle Jewish Sunday School in a demonstration of support for health care workers at Boston Area hospitals. They delivered letters asking hospital CEOs Gary Gottlieb of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Paul Levy of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to formally pledge not to intimidate or harass employees who want to form unions through free and fair secret ballot elections.

Pictures from the event


Free & Fair elections on WBUR

Hospital workers support public radio in order to educate our community about Free & Fair union elections. Listen to our WBUR (90.9 FM) underwriting spot.


Hospital CEO Paul Levy nominated for "2007 Massachusetts Grinch"

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice released its finalists for their annual "Grinch of the Year" award, and Beth Israel CEO Paul Levy made the list for his constant statements opposing caregivers unionizing and his refusals to make a legally binding commitment that his executives won't threaten or coerce workers deciding whether or not to join together. Award winners will be announced at a public event at Clarke's Pub in downtown Boston on Sunday, December 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. Cast your vote online now!