When a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in lower Manhattan on March 25, 1911, overcrowded worktables, inadequate and locked fire exits and narrow escape passageways created a fatal inferno for the 146 people–mostly women and girls–who died.

In the aftermath of the deadly fire that could have been prevented, outraged New Yorkers, lead by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (now Workers United) fought for crucial health and safety workplace regulations that continue to protect us on the job to this day.

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Working women and men; registered nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers who provide their care; and advocates of all stripes are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Its impact is impossible to overstate: 16.4 million people with health insurance who didn't have it before, for starters. And while the law is facing its latest challenge from right-wing extremists bent on politicizing the Supreme Court of the United States, we know most Americans oppose this misguided effort.

Just days before the nine justices heard arguments in King v. Burwell, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Hart Research Associates released a poll that showed Americans not only want to keep their insurance but also want the tax credits that are questioned in this case available in all 50 states.

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2:53 PM Eastern - Monday, March 23, 2015

SEIU Janitor Inspired to Help Others, Starts Company to Benefit Immigrant Families #default

Juan MaldonadoLike many hardworking immigrants, Juan Maldonado's family came to the Bronx borough of New York City from Colombia in search of a better opportunity. His mother was a single parent of two, and accepted welfare assistance to be able to provide food and shelter for her children.

This early exposure to poverty, and all the harsh realities surrounding it, left a profound impact on Maldonado.

He recalls being a child in a supermarket with his mother, and noticing one of his friends. Maldonado begged his mom not to pay with food stamps because he feared being made fun of the following day at school.

When they finally got to the cash register, his mom gave him a hard look, almost giving rise to a tear and smiled. She paid with cash. Maldonado remembers the pain he felt inside knowing the sacrifice his mother had made. He would never forget it.

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1:22 PM Eastern - Monday, March 23, 2015

Our fight for affordable healthcare #default

It's hard to believe it has been five years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. For some of us, we were fighting for healthcare reform long before that.

Watch our video to take a look back at all we've accomplished and why we're fighting to preserve the law.

I remember in 2008 wearing my purple "I'm a Health Care Voter" T-shirt with pride when we demanded every presidential candidate have a plan to ensure access to quality affordable care for every man, woman and child.

Since the ACA became the law, I have fought for Medicaid expansion and shared with others--at community centers, farmers markets, even grocery stores--how the law works. I remember one woman from a family of seven describe how she was just "making do"--meaning they only went to the doctor when they were in crisis and rationing medication. The affordable coverage and preventive care they accessed has been life changing and it's helping them live healthier lives.

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12:08 PM Eastern - Friday, March 20, 2015

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are paid less now than in 2002. Let's DO SOMETHING about it on April 15. #default

If you listen to some experts, the economy is doing just fine. That may be true for many corporations that are enjoying record profits. But for too many ordinary families, falling wages are a huge problem.
 
 
On April 15, people from all walks of life will stand up to fight for jobs and wages that boost our economy and strengthen communities. Join us.
 
 
 
I'm so inspired by the regular people -- some who belong to a union, and many who don't yet -- who are building the Fight for $15 movement.
 

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8:45 AM Eastern - Friday, March 20, 2015

Nurses take a stand at Supreme Court for healthcare law #default

Nurses-20150304dS_KingVsBurwellAction_26.jpgMarch has certainly come in like a lion, but SEIU nurses have been up to the challenge. We are taking a stand for our patients and fighting for our colleagues at the state and federal level and at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nurses from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., on March 4 to explain what is at stake in the King v. Burwell case for their patients, colleagues and communities, while the Supreme Court heard the case. We have a lot of work to do to make sure our fellow nurses, colleagues and community members raise their voices and again defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


In this round-up, we have some great information to underscore including:

  • Highlights from the nurses who advocated at the SCOTUS;
  • A new poll that shows the majority of Americans want the court to save healthcare law tax credits; and
  • An alarming new study that shows more American women are dying prematurely.

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11:44 AM Eastern - Thursday, March 19, 2015

INFOGRAPHIC: How the GOP is Unfriending Latino Voters #default

In Congress and in the courts, check out our newest infographic on all the ways the GOP is unfriending the Latino community.

GOP v. Latinos-3.png

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11:18 AM Eastern - Wednesday, March 18, 2015

7 Terrible Things Better Than the House GOP Budget #default

Speaker John Boehner and Republican leaders in the House have rolled out their budget plan. They should probably roll it right back up, because it's even worse than this stuff.

1. Cruise ship stomach viruses

You won't be able to eat for a week once you get back to dry land. Alas, the GOP's cuts to SNAP, the food stamp program, means millions could go hungry to help pay for tax breaks for the rich.

2. People opening bags of chips slowly to avoid noise

This is like when you propose repealing all the new Wall Street rules meant to head off another global financial collapse... without anyone noticing. Everyone knows what's happening. Even the people who dialed into the meeting are aware of what you're trying to do. Stop.

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9:34 AM Eastern - Monday, March 16, 2015

Silicon Valley Security Officers Win Big with Apple #default

Silicon Valley Security Officers Win Big with AppleThis blog post originally appeared at Stand for Security.

The security officers leading the charge to provide opportunity for diverse service workers in Silicon Valley just scored a major victory. Apple announced it was replacing contracted work done by irresponsible contractor Security Industry Specialists (SIS) with stable, full-time security jobs with benefits.

"We welcome Apple's decision to take responsibility for the women and men who protect its campus," said SEIU-USWW President David Huerta. "This decision is a victory for Silicon Valley security officers who are rising up to fix the imbalance in our economy by securing dignified, full-time work and respect on the job."

Apple is one of the tech leaders, along with Google, which has decided to turn the tide against low-wage, contracted service work. Their decisions are setting the gold standard which is helping to raise the bar for all subcontracted workers.

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3:46 PM Eastern - Thursday, March 12, 2015

The CLEAN ACT will help clean up New York City's dirty laundries #default

Believe it or not: New York City's industrial laundries aren't like the Laundromat on your block. Industrial laundries are large factories that wash the napkins you use at restaurants, the gowns you wear at the doctor and the sheets you sleep on at hotels. Many of these factories have hundreds of workers handling hundreds, even thousands, of pounds of soiled linen a day.

Some laundry facilities are run like sweatshops by dirty owners who exploit workers and put pressure on workers to put quantity ahead of quality. That means that napkin you use at a restaurant might not be as clean as it could be

That's why I'm excited about the CLEAN ACT recently unveiled by New York City Councilmembers Ritchie Torres and Dan Garodnick. This bill would help our city's worst employers clean up their acts through regulation and licensing, making all the linen we use safer.

The CLEAN ACT will help clean up New York City's dirty laundries

The CLEAN ACT would authorize new standards of cleanliness for industrial laundries and for laundry delivery trucks, which would improve the quality of industrial laundry jobs and prevent contamination of linens used by hotels, hospitals, restaurants and other businesses.

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There's more on the SEIU Blog...