I cannot believe how quickly this summer is flying by! I had a wonderful time celebrating the July 4th holiday with family and friends and had a chance to unwind a little bit. I hope you did too because we have a lot of work ahead of us!


After the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case, women's reproductive health policy appears to be grounded in ideology, not sound health policy. More companies are lining up to restrict women's access to forms of contraception their employers find objectionable. As nurses, we need to speak out and be the advocates our patients need!

Nurses fought to push governors and state legislatures to accept the federal funds set aside to expand healthcare coverage to those individuals and families struggling just above the poverty line. A new White House report shows what opportunities were lost in the 24 states where elected officials placed politics over people. Just one of the statistics that stuck out to me--if those states would accept Medicaid funds, as many as 7 million more women could access healthcare for preventive screenings. We know that having access to healthcare when you need it leads to better care and healthier lives and we are committed to sharing this information and continuing this fight!

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1:05 PM Eastern - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Put Yourself in These Children's Shoes...Then Put Them Above Politics #default

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PHOTO: Youth in Los Angeles - aged 15-22 - are fasting to demand that President Obama and the U.S. Congress grant unaccompanied children refugee status.. CREDIT: SEIU

In 2011 the U.S. Government recorded a dramatic rise in the number of unaccompanied children arriving to the United States from Central America.

The press didn't take much notice then but now they are. In recent weeks the national discussion about what to do has turned partisan, political, and ugly.

It's time we see this issue through the perspective of the children. It's time we put ourselves in the--often small--shoes of the children arriving at our border.

Why are the children leaving home? According to a recent report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, you can count the reasons on one hand--violence by organized criminals, abuse in the home, deprivation, and the threat of forced recruitment into the human trafficking industry.

Imagine you were Maritza, a 15-year old girl from El Salvador.  You were threatened by gangs--gangs that have raped other young girls and thrown them in plastic bags. Your uncle tells you that it isn't safe, that he can't keep you safe and that you should go to the U.S.  

Or put yourself in 16-year-old David's shoes.  You are from Guatemala. You are terrified by a gang that held you and your cousin for three hours tied up at the ankles, hands hyper-extended beyond your back.  Fortunately, your cousin was able to untie his rope, and then yours. As you ran away, you heard gunshots, knowing that at any time the bullet could find its mark.

What about putting yourself in the shoes of Kevin, age 17, from Honduras? You looked with tearful eyes to your grandmother who said, "You need to leave here.  I cannot keep you safe.  If you don't join the gang, they will shoot you, if you join the gang, their rivals or the police will shoot you."

It is these heartbreaking, real-life circumstances that lead these children on a perilous journey across the border.

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12:56 PM Eastern - Monday, July 21, 2014

Fast for children launches today #default

YamilexRustrian.pngToday, SEIU-USWW, SEIU-ULTCW, SEIU California State Council and other groups from across California will launch a fast for the Central American children who have crossed the border, fleeing from the horrific violence in their home countries.

As part of the campaign "Kids Over Politics," seven young people between the ages of 15 and 22 will lead a weeklong fast, calling on our elected leaders to treat the children who have been detained with compassion and the very values that make us the nation of the American Dream.

Yamilex Rustrian is one of the core fasters who will be supported by hundreds of immigration reform advocates. Read her reason for fasting. Then, learn how we can all lend support this week for the fasters and the thousands of children seeking a safe haven within our borders by going to www.fastingforchildren.org.

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8:23 PM Eastern - Thursday, July 17, 2014

End tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas #default

Tell Senate Republicans to bring American jobs home now

True or false: American workers are footing the bill for shipping their own jobs overseas.

Believe it or not, this is true.

For too long, companies that outsource American jobs have been allowed to write off their costs of shipping jobs overseas.

It's an outrageous practice and it's got to stop.

Sign our petition if you believe it's time for American tax dollars to stop helping huge corporations ship jobs overseas.

Next week, the U.S. Senate will be voting on the Bring Jobs Home Act, legislation that would eliminate some tax breaks companies take when they ship jobs overseas and instead give a tax credit to companies that bring jobs home.

We need to send a clear message to Republican Senators to focus on bringing more jobs into America, not sending them overseas.

It's time we saw "Made in America" again!

Sign the petition to help bring these jobs back home.

Sincerely,

Peter Colavito
Director of Government Relations, SEIU

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3:22 PM Eastern - Thursday, July 17, 2014

SEIU Members Tweet to Take On #MedicaidBlockade #default

Nearly 6 million people across the country are still being denied health care by GOP governors and legislatures. A whopping 17,000 of these people are estimated to die from it.

With lives on the line, enough is enough!

Help stop the #MedicaidBlockade by using and sharing our new map tool. Click on a state to send a Twitter message to the GOP that denying millions healthcare is totally unacceptable.

Not on Twitter? Take action by sharing our graphic on Facebook

.

MedicaidMap.jpg

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3:34 PM Eastern - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"95 percent of Minnesotans now have healthcare. And that's the way it should be." #default

Jane ConradJane Conrad and her husband were paying more than $1,000 per month to purchase health insurance with a $12,500 yearly deductible for their family. An amount so high the self-employed Minnesota couple had to forgo insurance altogether a couple of times over the past decade. "It was really scary," said Conrad. "I'm willing to make sacrifices for myself but to gamble with my children's well-being is too big of a burden for me to bear."

Once the new health insurance plans created by the Affordable Care Act opened for enrollment, Conrad and her family found they could qualify for an even better level of coverage than they were getting for about half the price and a lower total deductible. It dropped to $530 a month with a $6,000 deductible. No longer did Conrad and her daughter's pre-existing conditions cause them to have to purchase their own separate plans--which added to the costs.

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6:28 PM Eastern - Friday, July 11, 2014

A vision for the next generation labor movement #default

544124_506566246057346_629719948_n.jpgOne thing we know about workers in America today: they are resilient. And no matter the hurdles, workers will continue to find a way to innovate and come together to have a strong voice for good jobs and better wages and benefits in the workplace.

MIT professor Thomas A. Kochan's recent piece on Fortune.com delves into what unions like SEIU and emerging labor groups like the ROC and USAS are doing to restore labor's rightful and necessary place in America.

Kochan also touches on why unions and worker-centered organizations are so important in America today--and why we must support their continued growth:

"America desperately needs a vibrant, innovative, growing, and yes powerful, set of organizations that give voice to and represent workers with their employer and in social and political local and national discourse. No democracy in the world has been sustained over time without some independent institution that stands up for and advances worker rights, interests and economic welfare. Moreover, there is an almost perfect correlation between the decline in union representation and the rise of income inequality."

[...] "So America, it is time to stop fighting all forms of worker voice and representation and instead stand with workers seeking to regain their rightful voice and a fair share of the prosperity they help to generate."

The bottom line: When workers stand together to assert their power over our country's economy, they cannot fail. Read Kochan's entire piece on Fortune.com.

Share the article on Facebook here.

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2:20 PM Eastern - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Congratulating NEA on Making History #default

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PHOTO: Newly elected NEA Vice President Becky Pringle, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, newly elected NEA President Lily Eskelsen García and retiring NEA President Dennis Van Roekel at the 152nd NEA annual meeting in Denver, July 6, 2014. CREDIT: Scott Iskowitz.

The Independence Day weekend was a historic one for the labor movement and American leadership. The National Education Association (NEA) elected a new slate of leaders, and for the first time, the nation's largest union will be headed by three women of color.


NEA members elected Lily Eskelsen García president, Becky Pringle vice president and Princess Moss secretary-treasurer during their convention in Denver.

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry speaking at the convention, noted that her mother, a substitute teacher, taught her the value of education and--in a large family--the importance of organizing. Henry told the thousands of assembled NEA delegates that they have common cause with SEIU members and working people everywhere who are staking their claim to be a part of the next American middle class. "At the end of the day, fair pay and a union mean everyone wins," Henry said.

SEIU also extends congratulations to outgoing NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, who is retiring. Van Roekel led and strengthened the NEA as it weathered attacks from disingenuous "reform" advocates and right-wing lawmakers bent on cutting school funding and weakening educators' collective bargaining rights. He leaves a proud legacy of prioritizing education equity and guiding the NEA with a powerful optimism for which he was known across the labor movement.

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1:52 PM Eastern - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Affordable Care Act comes through for Virginia man--twice #default

John WalshJohn Walsh is ineligible for health insurance through his employer--the Parks and Recreation Department in Herndon, Va.--because he works part time. Thanks to the earlier provisions of the Affordable Care Act, though, he was able to stay on his parent's health insurance plan for several years until he turned 26.

As his birthday approached, Walsh decided to improve his overall health by embarking on a new exercise regimen. He saw tremendous results. After several months, however, he began to have severe pain in his arm and shoulder making it increasingly hard to continue his new lifestyle.

To make matters worse, he turned 26 and lost his health insurance. When he looked at private plan options, Walsh saw he'd have to pay about $500/month--an amount he could not afford. "I started looking up my symptoms on the Web and convinced myself it was tendonitis. I was trying to figure out what I could do on my own to relieve the pain--which was getting worse. I could barely open a door or shake someone's hand without pain," he said.

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1:25 PM Eastern - Monday, July 7, 2014

VICTORY: Thousands of SEIU Local 99 workers win $15 living wage in L.A. #default

10494377_10152118626442680_3452731177374829832_o.jpgCafeteria workers, custodians, special education assistants, campus safety monitors and other school service workers represented by SEIU Local 99 have ratified their contract agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District that includes a landmark wage increase to $15 an hour by July 2016 and will open up a world of possibilities for nearly 20,000 school workers and their families.

It has "thrust the system into the forefront of a national movement and marks another political victory for a powerful labor group," according to the Los Angeles Times.

As Congress remains gridlocked, the contract for the lowest-paid workers in the nation's second-largest school district marks the latest win in the growing movement by workers to currently sweeping the country to raise wages.

"This historic agreement sets a new standard for ending poverty in our schools," said Local 99 Executive Director Courtni Pugh. "This will be felt in school districts across Los Angeles and across the country." LAUSD Supt. John Deasy said that through education, "we lift youth out of poverty every single day." The school system must do its part, he added, "to make sure parents are not remaining in poverty."

"As our nation struggles with questions about justice and fairness for low-wage workers, LAUSD must lead by example," said Steve Zimmer, a school board member who joined others in a unanimous vote of approval for the contract. Read more about the new contract here.

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry also hailed the agreement, saying that "at this pivotal moment in the Fight for 15, this groundbreaking contract is a shining example of the transformative power of workers coming together with employers to improve wages, benefits, quality of services and the future of our communities."

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