As nurses, doctors and healthcare workers across the country watch the Ebola crisis in western Africa with deep concern, our hearts go out to our colleagues caring for Ebola patients in West Africa and elsewhere -- especially those who are volunteers -- and to patients and families affected by the virus. Given the potential for the virus to spread, we want every nurse and healthcare worker to know the facts, dispel myths and be prepared to screen, identify and treat potential patients in their hospitals, clinics and other facilities.

We also know that many service workers, including those at airports around the country, have a critical role in preventing the spread of infectious disease. I am proud to know that our own SEIU Health and Education Fund, in collaboration with 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East and the Doctors Council of New York is conducting an infectious disease training for New York airport workers on Thursday, October 9. The training will introduce cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and terminal cleaners from Kennedy and LaGuardia airports to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on identifying and protecting against exposure and spread of infectious diseases at airports.

SEIU Healthcare will continue to coordinate efforts with hospitals, clinics, and other workplaces to ensure our fellow workers across the country are prepared.

Last week, members of the Partnership for Quality Care (PQC), a coalition of the nation's leading hospitals, and SEIU nurses and frontline caregivers, were briefed by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. Click here to view Dr. Frieden's presentation to the PQC.

Please read and share these important resources for front-line caregivers:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Ebola Information for Workplace Safety and Health

Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Ebola Information for Protecting Workers from Ebola Virus

OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen and Needlestick Prevention

Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard (Cal/OSHA)

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8:42 AM Eastern - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Nurse's Role Protecting Healthcare Law More Critical than Ever #default

It's already October and we are in full swing organizing, educating and mobilizing for Election Day. I am sure many of you are too with so much hanging in the balance!

Again, nurses find themselves in the familiar role of protecting and defending the 
Affordable Care Act. More and more evidence backs up what nurses already know--the healthcare law works. Thanks to the law, the number of uninsured Americans is expected to decline by nearly half from 45 million in 2012 to 23 million by 2023, according to a recent report from CMS actuaries. A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation further shows the healthcare law is not only working for the millions who have coverage now, especially parents, but it is also working for the nation by slowing down spending on healthcare costs.

Nonetheless, the successes of the healthcare law does not mean the "Party of No" has given up on making Obamacare a polarizing issue in the midterm elections. Make sure you check out the 2014 Healthcare Law SEIU Member GOTV Toolkit to use for member outreach and education in advance of the election.

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4:48 PM Eastern - Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SEIU Joins Effort to Elect Those Who Make Women's Health and Economic Issues a Priority #default

SEIU, the Center for American Progress, American Women, Planned Parenthood and other progressive partners announced today the launch of Fair Shot Action -- a new effort aimed at engaging voters on issues surrounding women and families.

The coalition will help voters understand which candidates support wage legislation that affects a larger proportion of women than men -- such as raising the minimum wage, paid family leave and equal pay measures. They will also help identify candidates who support women's access to reproductive health -- an area that has been under attack during the last year as a result of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision.

A major component of the new effort will be a new online tool called Fair Shot Voter, where voters can pledge support and commit to act on policies that affect women and their families, and can find information on state and local records on these issues.

SEIU Joins Effort to Elect Those Who Make Women's Health and Economic Issues a Priority

"The gap between the conservative anti-woman, anti-family agenda and the Fair Shot agenda could not be any larger, and women know it," says Stephanie Schirock, president of American Women. "Women voters who decide elections are ready for real leadership on these issues."

Pledge to become a #FairShot voter today: http://seiu.me/fair

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3:42 PM Eastern - Friday, October 3, 2014

Are you ready to fight for our families? Register to vote → #default

Fight for our families. Register to vote today!The fight is ON and we're voting for candidates who have our backs in uniting in the Fight for $15 – a demand to raise wages and create better jobs.

But before we take our fight to the ballot box, we have to make sure we're registered to vote.

Voting in the midterm elections is critical this November. Click here to register to vote.

This is our chance to elect leaders who are ready and willing to stand up for a country where everyone who works hard for a living can support their families without having to live on the brink.

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2:32 PM Eastern - Friday, October 3, 2014

Working People Spread the Message in South Florida: "If You Don't Vote, You Give up Your Voice" #default

Boston Alexander was born in Jamaica and his mother's maxim of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" guides him as a leader of SEIU political canvassing efforts in South Florida.

I got to know Boston this week as we gathered for an afternoon canvass kickoff in Broward County, where SEIU members and community partners are coming together as volunteers to ensure each and every voice is heard in the midterm elections.

Working People Spread the Message in South Florida:
Boston was my canvass partner, and I was truly inspired as he showed me firsthand how he motivates his team and encourages people signing a pledge to convince neighbors on their block to join them in voting this November.

The first time Boston led a team of SEIU members going out to knock on doors, he was guided by his mother's belief that if we work to improve the lives of others, our own lives will get better.

I heard Boston tell people we met on our first visit, "If you don't vote, you give up your voice -- and if you don't organize, you aren't recognized."

He sees his mother's lesson playing out in all his work in his union: as a nurse at Tenet Hospital, as an SEIU member-leader there and -- on days like Tuesday -- as the leader of political canvasses.

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2:05 PM Eastern - Friday, October 3, 2014

New York Times Editorial Speaks up for Minnesota Home Care Workers #default

Our families, economies and communities depend on jobs that pay good wages, and the The New York Times agrees.

In response to a lawsuit against the new home care workers union in Minnesota, the Times editorial board said this week:

"There is no inherent reason that home care workers, as a rule, do not make enough to live on, just as there is no inherent reason that jobs in fast food, retail and other service industries do not pay living wages. In the absence of strong unions, profitable employers pay low wages because they can."

The lawsuit challenges the right of the newly formed union to be the exclusive representative of home care workers in Minnesota because some workers may not want to be members of the union. The Times called this position "akin to saying that a United States senator should not be deemed to represent all of the people in a state because some residents voted for an opponent."

This summer, home care workers in Minnesota voted to join together in a union to fight back against low wages that force families to rely on government assistance and bring down the quality of care for those who rely on their services. Several years ago, home care workers in Illinois had organized their own union, about which the Times said, "In Illinois, for example, unionized home care workers make nearly $13 an hour plus health benefits and training, while helping to save the state $600 million a year in nursing home costs."

Despite a continuous onslaught by anti-working families groups, working people across the country are uniting in greater numbers than ever before. SEIU members' efforts have contributed to the passage of laws to increase the minimum wage in cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles as well as a November ballot initiative likely to pass in San Francisco. Working people standing together have the strength in numbers to make the economy work for all of us, not just the wealthy few.

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2:03 PM Eastern - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Security Officer Suspended After Asthma Attack Urges Seattle Companies to Follow Law #default

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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