On Wednesday, July 8, workers at Union Hospital in Lynn, MA voted 199 to 71 to join together in 1199SEIU. The new members of 1199SEIU in the service unit now join registered nurses and other professionals at Union Hospital who have been members of 1199 since 1986. The victory could not have happened without the dedication and hard work of the current delegates at Union Hospital — who wanted to make sure their co-workers were united with them in 1199.
“In this economy, knowing that you’ve got a steady job is something money just can’t buy,” said Paula Brewster, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Union Hospital. “And with 1199, together we’ll be able to make sure we’ve got the job security we need to have peace of mind – even when times are tough.”
The successful vote was also hailed by community leaders as a win not just for caregivers, but also for patients and the community.
“The health care sector in Massachusetts is a critical component of the Commonwealth’s economy and touches the lives of many North Shore residents,” said Congressman John Tierney. “Keeping our hospitals - like Union Hospital - strong enhances our community. As has been seen from the positive relationships already maintained with union employees, representation - like that through 1199SEIU - could serve to give caretakers a meaningful voice in the success of their hospital and in the high quality of their patients’ care.”
The vote comes after 1199SEIU and Partners HealthCare came to an agreement on free and fair voting conditions, placing the decision about whether to form a union directly into the hands of caregivers. This innovative approach allows health care workers to improve conditions for their patients and themselves, but also helps to preserve the long-term sustainability of their hospital.