Security Officer Suspended After Asthma Attack Urges Seattle Companies to Follow LawTracison Casarrubias knows firsthand how enforcing Seattle's Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) law would give residents economic stability and transform their relationships with their employers.

The wife and mother once considered protecting Amazon's Seattle headquarters as security specialist for Security Industry Specialists (SIS) to be a good job. But that all changed on the day she lost her breath.

Last October, Tracison suffered an asthma attack while on duty. Fighting to breathe, she wasn't able to treat her unpredictable condition with an inhaler until after things took a turn for the worst. Trying to follow SIS employee protocol and seeking medical attention were distressing enough. But the aftermath of that day was worse.

Tracison says her supervisors suspended her two weeks later without pay for 3 days after she was relieved from her post by a supervisor due to her asthma attack, a clear violation of the PSST law.

"They said I was a good specialist and wanted to help me out," she said. "But at the same time, the supervisor kept telling me 'at the end of the day, we're a business.' But I'm a human being."

Although Tracison felt many effects from that day, her employer experienced no consequences for breaking the law.

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3:04 PM Eastern - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SEIU Forum Highlights Social Justice Movement, 50 Years After Freedom Summer #default

This summer, SEIU members and staff joined hundreds of activists from across the country in Jackson, Mississippi to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. The commemoration was a cross-generational gathering where participants discussed the 21st century struggle for democracy and economic justice.

On Monday, September 8th, SEIU hosted a brown bag forum to discuss the state of the social justice movement past and present and hear about the recent union-wide journey to Jackson, Mississippi. Two SEIU member leaders Tonya Morrow (HCPA) and Melanie Drayton (SEIU Local 668) from Pennsylvania addressed the crowd about their experiences during the Freedom Summer commemoration and the political work they've started back home in Pennsylvania. Watch this short but compelling video of Tonya and Melanie along with Julia Ruiz of SEIU Local 1991 as they recount their life-changing experiences during Freedom Summer 2014.

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4:28 PM Eastern - Monday, September 22, 2014

The Fight for $15 is a Fight for Our Future #default

The Fight for $15 is a Fight for Our FutureI've worked in home care for four years. I take care of my mom. I cook, clean, do things around the house, help her to and from places. My work helps keep her in our home, so we can be together as a family.

I make just $294 a month.

To get paid $15 an hour would mean the world, because then I wouldn't have to decide between paying my phone bill or buying food.

Home care workers don't make much and neither do fast food workers. But we're all just people, working hard and trying to provide for our families. We make lives better. We deserve a living wage.

On September 4, I joined with fellow home care workers here in Detroit to stand with striking fast food workers and demand $15 an hour and a union.

I want to get other home care workers and young people involved in the Home Care Fight for $15. I'm 23 years old and I know we can make our future better if we come together now. People my age -- that's who needs to stand up.

We're the future. If we don't stick together to fight for a living wage, , how's it going to be for our kids?

I think it's wonderful that SEIU members and nonunion workers are uniting. We're all in this together.

Join our movement to help us keep fighting.

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2:26 PM Eastern - Monday, September 22, 2014

Magic Moments at NYC's People's Climate March #default

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I wish every SEIU member - in fact, every American - who cares about protecting our environment could have experienced the magic and power of the climate change protest and events in New York Sunday. Roughly 400,000 of us marched together, four times more than any climate change march ever before.

Many of the people I spoke with during the People's Climate March saw it as a turning point in how we tackle clean air and water -- both for them personally and for the whole world.

One 199SEIU healthcare leader from Long Island who grew up in Haiti said she always believed that we were damaging the earth beyond repair. She said she felt "blessed" to participate in the march, thrilled that her union was all in, and grateful that I was there to draw more national attention to the idea that the climate crisis is a working person's issue.

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Members of 32BJ marched with us, their leaders proud of their own green building initiatives that have already changed the conversation in the commercial real estate industry.

An SEIU doctor and member of the Committee of Interns and Residents (who was thrilled that we were both wearing the same SEIU shirt) said he longed to be a leader in our union's efforts to make the connection between climate change and the health of communities of color.

Members of the Public Employees Federation of New York who joined in a rally for union members before the march said they were proud of our unity.

Teamsters high-fived me as the president of what they believed was the largest contingent of working people who are union members. Communications Workers of America members hugged me for being there. United Auto Workers leader Julie Kushner introduced me as the only national labor leader present, then I went on to introduce Michael Brune, president of the Sierra Club.

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10:54 AM Eastern - Monday, September 22, 2014

7.3 Million Ways the Affordable Care Act Is Working #default

On Friday, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released data showing that 7.3 million Americans purchased new healthcare plans through the insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The number represents a single sampling of enrollment data as of August 15, 2014 and is much higher than the 6 million that the Congressional Budget Office originally forecasted would be covered this year.

SEIU Nurse Alliance Chair Dian Palmer, RN released a statement in response, saying,

"As nurses, we want to underscore what today's news means: 7.3 million Americans who -- without the healthcare law -- would have been faced with skyrocketing premiums or episodic emergency room care now have a healthcare plan of their choice and access to the kind of basic, preventive health care that can save lives, reduce the likelihood of medical bankruptcy and put hardworking families on the path to greater health. The law is working, in spite of the fact that extremist Republicans continue to vote to try repeal it and have yet to propose a plan to improve or strengthen our healthcare system. 7.3 million Americans can't be wrong."
Read Dian Palmer's full statement.

Read more about these good news numbers via the New York Times and Reuters.

Share the good news on Facebook:

Click here or on the image below to share ==>

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11:48 AM Eastern - Friday, September 19, 2014

SEIU Members, President Mary Kay Henry to Join Largest Demonstration for Climate Change in History #default

This Sunday in New York City, SEIU members are joining hundreds of labor, social justice and environmental justice groups, climate campaigns, immigrant rights groups and others from around the world, aiming to make the People's Climate March the largest march for climate action in world history.

The People's Climate March will take place two days before President Obama and world leaders are scheduled to participate in the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. On September 21, events will take place around the world, from London to Delhi, making this a truly global demonstration.

SEIU Members, President Mary Kay Henry to Join Largest Demonstration for Climate Change

"Working families and their communities are among those who will bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change," said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. "We've joined the march so that world leaders will hear the voices of working people everywhere who need action on climate change now for the health of their families, their communities and their economies." (Henry will speaking at the march in New York on Sunday.)

Working people -- firefighters, paramedics, nurses, doctors, transit and emergency aid workers -- are our first line of defense when extreme weather caused by climate change hits our communities.

An estimated 70 percent of those hardest hit by climate change will be working people whose low wages can make them exceptionally vulnerable. When climate disaster strikes, they are most likely to bear the brunt and may even become "climate refugees." They lose their homes, their jobs or weeks and weeks of work and pay.

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11:50 AM Eastern - Thursday, September 18, 2014

Boehner's Locked Door Won't Stop VRA for Today Coalition's Fight Against Racist Voting Practices #default

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Leading civil rights, labor, and progressive organizations came together yesterday, launching the VRA for Today Coalition. The Coalition went to Speaker Boehner's Longworth House Office Building office during normal business hours to deliver the names of half a million petition signers from across the country who strongly support restoring the Voting Rights Act and protecting all voters from discrimination to - but were met by a locked door.

"Today, the Speaker's office was closed to voting rights," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of ACLU's Washington Legislative Office.

"This is symbolic of how House Leadership has ignored voters who are being discriminated against right now. Since the bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act was introduced in January, the House has not held a single hearing on the bill. We urge the Speaker and his leadership team to heed the voices of the petition signers and millions of other Americans. We will not tolerate a country that allows voters to be discriminated against based on their race. We are standing up for the right to vote and calling on Congress to protect voters from discrimination."

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said, "Every day Congress fails to protect the right to vote, it gives a free pass to voting discrimination. Working people call on Congress to fulfill the promise of equal rights under our Constitution, restore voting rights and strengthen any new voting rights bill so that it protects all voters."

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1:13 PM Eastern - Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tell Congress: Restore Crucial Civil Rights Law on Voting Rights #default

SEIU members are calling on Congress to act now to restore a historic civil rights law on voting rights and protect all voters from new forms of discrimination at the polls. It's not too late to add your voice to the more than 11,000 people who have already signed a petition we will submit together with tens of thousands of others from civil rights allies within the next 24 hours.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most important and successful civil rights laws ever enacted by the U.S. Congress, banned racism at polling places. A year ago, the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the law, kicking open the door for a new wave of voter suppression laws across the country.

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2:30 PM Eastern - Monday, September 15, 2014

SEIU Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month With #PowerOfOurVote #default

As Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off today, we have the perfect way to begin the celebration. 

SEIU has teamed up with more than 40 national organizations like Voto Latino, Mi Familia Vota and the Latino Victory Project and celebrity supporters like Eva Longoria, Rosario Dawson, Wilmer Valderrama and America Ferrera to mobilize Latino communities to register to vote today and head to the polls in November.

Whether it is immigration reform or raising the minimum wage, SEIU is committed to creating a future worthy of those we love -- and registering to vote and voting on Election Day is the best way to do that.  

Not to mention, there's a lot at stake in this year's election: all 435 U.S. House seats and 33 seats in the U.S. Senate will be on ballots across the United States, while voters will elect governors in 36 states and state legislatures in 46 states.

So what can you do? Here are 5 ways you can help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and honor the community leaders who made it possible:

1.     Register to vote today at http://latinos2014.com/
 

2.     Let everyone know you registered and share this graphic on Facebook

3.     Tweet about #HispanicHeritageMonth and #PowerOfOurVote. Here's what SEIU and others have tweeted so far:

 

4.     Get ready for November 4th: Not sure what ID to bring, don't know where to find your polling place, or have other questions? Get the answers -- no matter where you live -- with this great resource, courtesy of our friends at the ACLU.

5.     Spread the word on Instagram: Share this graphic or a #selfie that says "I'm registered to vote. Are you?" Be sure to include the hashtags: #PowerOfOurVote, #Latism, #orgullolatino, and #GOTV 


Hispanic Heritage Month is a month for both celebration and action. It is the perfect time to ensure that Latino communities and voices are heard.

This year, let's celebrate Hispanic heritage by harnessing the power of our vote.

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3:48 PM Eastern - Friday, September 12, 2014

Seattle Mayor and Sea-Tac Airport Worker Urge American Cities to Lead the Fight to Raise Wages #default

Seattle Mayor and Sea-Tac Airport Worker Urge American Cities to Lead the Fight to Raise Wages

PHOTO: Mayor Ed Murray, Sea-Tac airport worker Socrates Bravo.

"Please take what we did in Seattle and export it across the country," Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told a crowd Wednesday during a panel discussion on the minimum wage at the Center for American Progress.


Also speaking at the CAP event was SeaTac Airport worker Socrates Bravo. He says the national minimum wage debate is about more than finances; it's about families.

As a ramp agent for SeaTac subcontractor Menzies Aviation, Bravo has to work more than 20 hours of overtime per week to try to make ends meet. His hectic schedule means sacrificing valuable quality time with his 2-year-old daughter.

"She is asleep when I get home and still sleeping when I leave for work," he says. "It's very sad but missing our children growing up is the reality for me and other co-workers."

Bravo discussed the impact of big businesses using bad contractors to hold down wages and benefits in cities across the nation at Wednesday's panel which included SEIU Executive Vice President Valarie Long, SEIU Healthcare 775NW President David Rolf, CAP Action Fund President Ted Strickland, UCLA Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Michael Reich, and Nick Hanauer of Second Avenue Partners.

Bravo also told how airport workers in partnership with the community have fought successfully to pass Proposition 1 in SeaTac.

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