"When Hurricane Sandy hit, we spent days climbing 18 story buildings, rescuing patients and carrying them down the stairs. There was no electricity, no elevators, and the buildings were dark and flooded. Healthcare jobs are tough, and we need quality health benefits so we can be there for New Yorkers when there’s no one else to help.”

Tani Hom, Emergency Medical Technician
“As an Environmental Services Worker at a Brooklyn Hospital, I make sure the floors, beds and patient rooms are clean and free of germs. I take pride in knowing I’m doing my part. We’re all working together as a team for the health of our patients. My commitment to New York goes beyond my job too. I have a philosophy of ‘unity above self’, and that’s why I’m an 1199 member. We’re about workers’ rights, healthcare and economic security, not just for members, but also for our families and our communities.”

Virgil Jackson, Hospital Environmental Services Worker
“One of my proudest moments was delivering a baby who was in cardiac arrest and we were able to save her life. Another was being able to help at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11. In order to be there for our patients and our city in times of crisis, we need to have quality health benefits for those on the frontlines of healthcare.”

Richard Scherb, Brooklyn Paramedic, 35 years of service
“I was born in the Bronx at the same hospital where I’m now a labor and delivery nurse, and three of my children were born here. Nursing for me is the best way to stay connected to my community and give New York families a healthy start. It makes me angry that healthcare CEOs would threaten the health benefits of caregivers, especially lower-wage workers. Health benefits are not perks. They are an essential tool for nurses and healthcare workers to do our jobs.”

Margaret Courtney-Tierney, Labor & Delivery Registered Nurse, 25 years of service
“I have a love for nursing and service to children. Our young patients can’t always communicate clearly about how they’re feeling, so you need to really understand children’s health, draw on years of education and experience, and be highly attuned to each child. Quality health benefits help attract the best nurses and healthcare workers to the field, and keep us healthy and so we can make sure New York’s kids have the best care.”

Carmelita Vandenbergh, Pediatric Registered Nurse, 33 years of service
“As 1199SEIU members, we’ve gone to Albany and Washington, D.C. to advocate for healthcare funding for New York’s hospitals and nursing homes. It’s really shameful that now employers are threatening quality healthcare and good jobs for healthcare workers.”

Letitia Smiley, Registered Nurse, 25 years of service
“When the doctor takes a sample from you, we look at your cells under a microscope in the lab so that you can get the right diagnosis and treatment. Lab workers can come into contact with communicable diseases, so it is important for us to have quality health benefits for ourselves and our children.”

Lynda Nahn, Hospital Cytotechnologist, 10 years of service
“One of my patients recently returned from dialysis and wasn’t feeling well. I talked to her and fed her, and she suddenly looked at me with a smile. She said ‘God bless you, now I can fall asleep with a peaceful mind and a full belly’. This job isn’t about the money, it’s about love, caring and compassion. But it’s getting harder and harder for working people to stay in New York and just keep a roof over our heads. Healthcare jobs are growing and need to be good jobs so we can stay here and keep caring for the seniors in our nursing homes who have no one else.”

Clova James, Certified Nursing Aide at a Queens nursing home
“I had to move out of New York City with my family because we just couldn’t afford it anymore. Working families are being unfairly pushed out and taken advantage of. We need to have good jobs so we can live in the same communities where we work and provide care to New Yorkers.”

Joseph Boyer, Hospital Building Maintenance
“All members of the healthcare delivery team – housekeepers, aides, clerks, social workers, lab, pharmacy, dietary, techs, nurses – work together to focus on our patients and their needs. Every team member is essential, and everyone needs quality health benefits to keep a healthy team functioning.”

Ben Miller, Hospital Pharmacist
“I grew up in a two bedroom apartment with seven family members in the South Bronx. Because I got a good 1199 union job, I was able to become the first in my family to graduate from college, and then I got my master’s degree in nursing. 1199SEIU is a ladder into middle class jobs. We need all healthcare jobs to provide this kind of economic opportunity and security for working New Yorkers.”

Ronette Shaw, Registered Nurse
"In 2012 my son had to have major back surgery because he had scoliosis with an 85 degree curvature of his spine. Without my benefits, there is no way I could have ever paid for this surgery. We’ve dedicated our lives to caring for the sick and the elderly. We also need to be able to care for our children."

Shirley Young, Certified Nursing Assistant, 23 of service
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