SEIU Healthcare Issue 16 by SEIU

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									United for Quality Care

SEIUHealthcare

Issue No. 16

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october 27, 2008

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News

United for Quality Care

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Member Political organizers attended a rally for barack obama in Fredericksburg, Va ~ september 27th, 2008 ~ Photos © Marcos Vilar

Dear SEIU Healthcare Sisters and Brothers
in cities and towns all across America to elect Barack Obama as our next president and ensure a pro-working family majority in our next Congress. We all know what’s at stake: the changes that every family needs to be able to build a better future for themselves. What’s at stake is the chance to fix our broken healthcare system, to provide every worker with the opportunity to choose a union free from intimidation, to send our children to college, to ensure peace in the world and our place in it. All of our election work is fueled by the hours we volunteer and the voluntary COPE contributions of hundreds of thousands of members. The good news is, we are working as never before and the number of new

W

ith only days to go before Election Day, SEIU Healthcare members are working together

members Newsbecoming politically active throughout this

election continues to grow. Our increasing political strength and voice is what will make it possible for us to succeed in the most important election of our lives, and is something every member should be proud of. No matter what state you live in, I hope you will join your Brothers and Sisters in making phone calls, knocking on doors and getting out the vote for Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden on Tuesday, November 4. The hopes and dream of working families everywhere rest with us. In Unity

Dennis Rivera, Chair, SEIU Healthcare

In this Issue

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Politics Matters Healthcare United SEIU Healthcare Members: Why this Election Matters PA Nurses Win Ban On Mandatory Overtime, Win Big for Patients

Politics Matters:
More than 3,000 SEIU members and staff have been working in battleground states – with tens of thousands volunteering on weekends and evenings. As of last week, we have: •	knocked on over 1,211,000 doors, •	made 6,875,000 phone calls to undecided voters, and •	registered 80,400 new voters
New COPE Contributors in 2008
40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0

SEIU members canvassed suburban Pittsburgh neighborhoods for Obama ~ October 21st, 2008 ~ Photo © 2008 Johm Heller

Since January of this year, SEIU Healthcare has increased its COPE dollars by 25% by signing up over 37,850 new contributors. As we look forward to 2009, our goal is to continue to increase COPE participation so we are prepared to win healthcare for all, and free choice for working Americans within the first 100 days of our new administration.

Healthcare United has grown to over 90,000 healthcare activists thanks to the work of our locals and our Healthcare United team. From now until Election Day, these activists will reach out to hundreds of thousands of union and non-union caregivers alike to make sure our voices are heard on the ballot.

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Why this Election Matters
“This election is really special. People are excited and positive about Barack Obama. But anything can happen here in Palm Beach County, as the whole world knows from the 2000 election. “I’ve talked with traditionally Republican nurses who are for Obama because of his support for real healthcare reform and for good nursing legislation. Many are inspired for the first time. “As a nurse, providing solutions is what we try to do. This obviously translates to politics. I love my work as a nurse, but nurses need empowerment. The union is the best thing in the world for us. The results of this election will determine whether we’ll be able to grow the union for nurses or whether we’ll be on the defensive. The election will also determine whether Americans finally have healthcare as a right, or whether millions more of us will be worried sick.”
Betsy Marville, RN St. Mary’s Medical Center West Palm Beach, FL SEIU Healthcare Florida

“I’m a healthcare worker, first of all. I see people come into the emergency room because they have no other access to healthcare. I see people with high blood pressure but no money and no coverage for prescription drugs. They are at risk every day. I want a healthcare system that emphasizes preventive care, which is a lot less expensive than treating people once they have serious illnesses. With the work that we are doing, I believe we’re going to take Florida and that Barack Obama will be our next President.”
Nancy Henri, RN Jackson Memorial Hospital Miami, FL SEIU Local 1991

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Why this Election Matters (continued)
“With McCain, we’re facing the possible collapse of the healthcare system. We can’t stand for that. On the other hand, with Obama as president, we may finally win a real healthcare system with affordable care for everyone. “It’s surprising to me how many union members are unaware of and shocked to learn that most workers don’t have good benefits and millions don’t have benefits at all. But when they learn what is at stake, they are overwhelmingly supportive of what we are doing. “People in Ohio are tired of being shortchanged. And we are helping make the difference, talking about the issues, showing how politics can have an effect on people’s paychecks and the way they live.”
Dana Fritzsche, psychology assistant Ohio Department of Youth Services Columbus, OH SEIU Healthcare Ohio

“I’ve been to New Hampshire three weekends now, and I’m planning coming back for more. We’ve had a lot of pain for the past eight years and, bad as things are getting, they could still get worse. We really need a big change. We need someone who will work with us. We need Obama. “New Hampshire is pretty divided. In August, McCain was ahead here but the state is starting to lean our way. We have to keep working hard. I think it’s going to be close but we’re going to win. And we in SEIU Healthcare will have been a big part in making the difference.”
Charlie Lange, clinical social worker, Community Correctional Center Hartford, CT, 1199 New England

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Why this Election Matters (continued)
“I’m doing this because, honestly, this is like the civil rights movement for my generation and for my people. If I didn’t get out and do this, I wouldn’t be able to rest. “We’ve been knocking on doors and phone banking and, since September 30, driving members to do early voting. We’re working alongside our Change to Win sisters and brothers and it’s like a family. I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to do, and I do believe we’re going to be having a big celebration after November 4. I look forward to it.” “I’m a people person. I love children and they all deserve a good education regardless of their ability to pay for it. And I love old people. They shouldn’t have to struggle to get healthcare or pay for prescription drugs. These are the things that motivate me to do this political campaign. “We know that if McCain wins, he’ll be coming after our union. But we wouldn’t be where we are without our union, so we can’t allow that to happen. We’re going to carry Barack Obama all the way to the White House.”
Teresa Taylor, group home supervisor Colchester, CT 1199 New England

Sondra George, CNA Montefiore Nursing Home Cleveland, OH SEIU Healthcare Ohio

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PA Nurses, Direct Care Workers Win Big for Patients
t took seven years, but earlier this month, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives joined their Senate colleagues in passing legislation against mandatory overtime for health caregivers. The legislation covers RNs, LPNs, and CNAs, as well as other direct caregivers such as radiology and lab employees. Governor Rendell signed the bill into law on October 9th. “This is one big positive step forward for patients and nurses across Pennsylvania,” said Kathy Magaro, RN, coordinator of the SEIU Healthcare Nurse Alliance of Pennsylvania. “We had champions in both the House and the Senate, but the real heroes are the nurses and direct patient caregivers who met with legislators again and again to tell them the reality of mandatory overtime and why this ban is so important to them and their patients.” Twelve other states have also passed laws banning mandatory overtime, including neighboring New Jersey, New York and West Virginia. Extensive research has demonstrated the link between overtime in health care and medical errors, including a 2004 study by University of Pennsylvania Researcher Ann Rogers finding that the risk of errors increased when nurses worked overtime or worked more than 40 hours per week.
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“I’m so proud of the work our members did all across the state to support this bill,” said Neal Bisno, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. “Many nurses in our union already have protection against mandatory overtime in their union contracts, but they reached out again and again to stand up for all patients and caregivers who don’t have the benefits of a union. Because of them, now all nurses and direct caregivers in Pennsylvania are protected.”


								
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