Rose Marie PenningtonWhen Rose Marie Pennington of Boca Raton, Fla., found herself between jobs after working as a registered nurse for 42 years, she no longer had health insurance for the first time in decades. Her income level dropped to about a fourth of what she had been earning, but she was able to find an affordable plan by visiting the federal marketplace and qualifying for a sizable subsidy. "I had a reduction of $518 [per month], and the plan I chose was one that will cost me only $194 per month--something I can afford," Pennington said.

After Pennington obtained her new healthcare plan, she was eager to help others without insurance benefit in the same way as she had. "I knew a man who hadn't had health insurance for more than a year and a half. He hadn't been taking the medicine [he needed] for the past six months," Pennington said. "I told him about what I had done to obtain my own plan. The next day he and I went and he was able to get covered--and is now taking his medicines as he should."

Pennington knows the importance of spreading the word as much as possible to make the new law a success. "I'm just one person but it's important that I speak out about my experiences as much as possible to increase awareness," she says. "There are still days left for someone to sign up and get the insurance they need."

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2:55 PM Eastern - Friday, April 4, 2014

Tell House Leadership that immigration reform *cannot* wait #default

Boehner and Cantor: Give us a vote!What would you say if you had 30 seconds to speak to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor?

DJ Yoon, an immigrant, father and member of the Fast for Families Across America campaign, would let them know we're praying for their leadership. He would tell Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor that we've been traveling across the country for six weeks, including to Boehner's home district and alma mater in Ohio, and have heard from THOUSANDS of brothers and sisters and parents and children who are waiting for them to call a vote on immigration reform.

The time for stalling and delay is over -- we need a vote TODAY on immigration reform. Click here to see and cosign this message from our friends at Fast 4 Families.

We want to meet with Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor on April 9 to share the stories we have gathered from across the country from people of faith, businessmen and women, immigrants, community members and constituents who are all supporting reform.

Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have the rare opportunity to end the pain and suffering of millions of people that is caused by our broken immigration system. These two individuals are responsible for setting the House voting schedule. If they call for a vote on immigration reform, that vote will happen, and the House and Senate will finally be moving forward to fix a system that has needed fixing for years.

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2:16 PM Eastern - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

SEIU Nurse from Pennsylvania Rallies in the Snow to Protect New Healthcare Law #default

Starr RomanoStarr Romano, a registered nurse from Altoona, Pa., and a member of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, knows the importance of defending the new healthcare law from those who wish to weaken or repeal it.

That's why she and eight other SEIU nurses traveled to Washington, D.C., to rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices debated a challenge to the law that would exempt certain corporations from including some forms of birth control in their employees' healthcare plans.

They chanted and held signs for hours in the heavy snow to let people know that healthcare providers know firsthand why the law should not be amended because of religious objections. "It could affect not only a woman's ability to use contraception, but also would affect a woman's healthcare access under the Affordable Care Act. There are many other reasons [besides birth control] that contraception can be given to a woman," said Romano.

Romano felt strongly about the case not just because of its possible effect on birth control access, but also because she's a firm believer in the Affordable Care Act on both a professional and a personal level.

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11:07 AM Eastern - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Affordable Care Act spurs largest health coverage expansion in 50 years #default

The Affordable Care Act has spurred the largest expansion in health coverage in 50 years. Over 9.5 million uninsured now have insurance!

A key component to the ACA's success was the education and outreach campaign conducted by SEIU nurses, doctors, child care providers and security officers nationwide. Members reached more than 2.4 million people over the course of the first open enrollment period through enrollment events, phone calls, door knocking and through online outreach.

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"People are calling back and saying, 'I love you!' " Efia Joseph, a 35-year-old home care worker in Fairfield, Conn., told The Washington Post.


All of these efforts, combined, are making a life-changing difference in American's lives:

  • ACA2.jpgKristen Boe of Estherville, Iowa, a stay-at-home mother in her 20s who has benefited from being able to stay on her father's plan until age 26 then get a marketplace plan after going for two years without insurance and without needed thyroid tests.

  • Sheri Hendrix of Grants Pass, Ore., got coverage under the Affordable Care Act after going without it for four years and that saved her from having to cover $30,000 in medical bills from a broken ankle after a fall.

  • ACA3.jpgJamal Lee of Baltimore, a small business owner who, before getting insured through the Affordable Care Act, traveled to another country to save costs on medical procedures.

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4:15 PM Eastern - Monday, March 31, 2014

Sneak peek: SEIU Local 1 through the years #default

President McFetridge and George Fairchild in 1959

SEIU President McFetridge and George Fairchild pose during the 1959 Local 1 Chicago Clean Up Parade. Photo by: Burke and Dean Photographers

As SEIU Archivist, making SEIU's historical records accessible is my mission. A key component of this is processing the materials, which involves sorting, arranging (usually based on the order materials were originally maintained), and describing the materials so users can find the records efficiently. I am currently processing the SEIU Local 1 Records. Based in Chicago, Local 1 was chartered in 1921 under the Building Service Employees International Union.

The Reuther received deposits, or accruals, of Local 1's records over a 13-year period. One of the most interesting surprises for me when I began opening boxes was finding that half of the seven accruals contained records created by locals other than Local 1. Materials included records from Local 4 Amalgamated Industrial, Production, Sales and Jewelry Workers Union; Local 106 Dental Technicians and Specialists Division; Local 106 Cemetery Workers Union; and Local 25 Chicago Office, Theatre, and Amusement Building Janitors' Union. Through various mergers, all four of these locals became part of Local 1 by the late 1990s.

It was through these amalgamations that Local 1 inherited the records of locals 4, 106, and 25. These materials are now part of Local 1's history, and will remain part of the SEIU Local 1 Records, which will open in the coming weeks.

Members of SEIU Local 106 Dental Technicians and Specialists Division, work in the lab

Members of SEIU Local 106 Dental Technicians and Specialists Division, work in the lab. SEIU Local 106 is now SEIU Local 1. Circa 1970s. Photographer unknown.

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11:14 AM Eastern - Monday, March 31, 2014

Healthcare Law is a Good Prescription for Women's Health #default

Today is the final day for open enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces. From the frontlines of care, we wanted to take a moment to explain how this law is having a positive impact on women in our communities and encourage everyone to ask questions, get answers and get covered.

Many of the women we see are very hopeful for what the healthcare law means for them and their families. While struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their families' heads, it was often their needs that were put aside. These women, often on a limited budget, gave up mammograms, annual wellness visits, pre-natal care and birth control so that they could make ends meet.

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1:22 PM Eastern - Sunday, March 30, 2014

For women, being in a union pays #default

This Women's History Month is a perfect time to celebrate the capacity for upward mobility women have gained in the workforce--especially when it comes to labor unions.

Women have a great deal to gain from joining a union, with union victories working to pave the way for workers to bargain for affordable family healthcare, fair wages, improved working conditions, and a better life for their families.

Share this graphic on Facebook to tell the world why a woman's place is in her union.

There are so many reasons women benefit so much from the union advantage:

Being in a union is good for a woman's health.
When it comes to both fiscal and physical health, being in a union is the way to go. Unionization dramatically raises the probability of a woman having a pension (53.4 percent) and an employer-provided health insurance plan (36.8 percent).
Unions have been a powerful force for women's equality.
Collective bargaining cuts down on employer favoritism, which helps women--and importantly, women of color--get a fair chance at work. Unionized women of color, for example, earn almost 35 percent more than nonunion women of color.
Unionization results in significantly higher wages for women of all education levels.
Being a member of a union raises women's wages by 12.9 percent compared to their nonunion peers. That's a pay increase of $222 a week--which adds up to $11,544 a year.
Unions protect workers' rights regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender.
In a country where it's still legal for an employer to fire someone for being gay in 29 states, and for being transgender in 34, having a union can make all the difference.
Unions help close the wage gap.
Despite the fact the gender wage gap overall hasn't made any progress in the last five years, it's been shrinking among workers who belong to a union, declining 2.6 percent between 2013 and 2012. The gender gap between what unionized male workers make and what unionized female workers make is just 9.4 percent, compared to 18.7 percent among nonunion workers.

Considering the great boost to equality, pay and benefits that unions bring, it's important that anyone who cares about the well-being of women workers also care about unions.

So spread the word. While we can't change the world in a day, speaking out about this important issue is a good start.

Celebrate being union strong this Women's History Month. Share this graphic with your family and friends on Facebook:

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And never forget why a woman's place is in her union.

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Roslyn GadleyRoslyn Gadley is a home care worker in Alexandria, Va., and a member of SEIU Local 512. Because she lives in a state that has refused to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, Gadley has found herself in what's called the "coverage gap" in those states and is having a hard time finding affordable health insurance.

Gadley is now trying to get insurance through marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but doesn't currently earn enough to qualify for the government subsidies that would make the marketplace plans more affordable.

President Obama's Affordable Care Act was designed to help people in Gadley's situation by expanding Medicaid in the states so she'd qualify. The funds would be paid entirely by the federal government, with the states eventually picking up 10 percent of the costs. Healthcare opponents, determined to see the law fail, have blocked the funds from coming into many state coffers.

See the effects of blocked Medicaid funds in Florida and Texas.


Gadley doesn't buy arguments opponents of Medicaid expansion have been touting in Richmond--that the program could end up costing Virginia too much money in the long term. "If people had access to preventive care now, they could get problems taken care of early--instead of costly visits to the emergency room down the road which taxpayers end up paying for," she said. "If you can save lives and save money at the same time, it's a no-brainer."

Gadley traveled to Richmond recently and spoke to a crowd in front of the Capitol in support of expanding Medicaid. She says it's important to stand up to elected leaders who cave to tea party pressure and look for reasons to block the Medicaid funds. "They are putting people's lives at risk," she said.

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10:31 AM Eastern - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire anniversary means #default

Valarie Long, SEIU Executive Vice PresidentValarie Long, speaking at the 103rd Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire commemoration.

I was honored to take part in the commemoration of the 103rd anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire yesterday. 103 years ago, 146 women, men and children were killed in a factory fire that could have been prevented. Fire exits were blocked, the fire escape buckled. 

The triangle fire occurred over a hundred years ago, but it lives on in our minds and hearts.

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4:48 PM Eastern - Monday, March 24, 2014

Town Hall Unites Adjunct Faculty, Launches Network #default

Adjunct faculty joined SEIU president Mary Kay Henry and House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) to launch the Adjunct Action Network and talk about the future of adjunct faculty organizing at a town hall at Georgetown University today.

"Imagine if brick-by-brick adjuncts work to build a new model," Henry said as she led a discussion about how the growing adjunct organizing victories from Los Angeles to Boston can be leveraged into even larger movement both online and offline.

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