SEIU Healthcare Hoping to Organize 10 Million Workers
The Service Employees International Union has formed SEIU Healthcare, a new national union of nearly 1 million health care members, with the goal of organizing America's 10 million health workers. The platform is support for quality care, comprehensive health care reform, and good jobs; the chairman is Dennis Rivera, who has resigned as leader of the nation's largest local union of health care workers (New York's 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East) to take the reins.
"Dennis Rivera knows how to bring people together to change lives and lift up communities," said SEIU President Andy Stern. "Dennis has reached out to employers to create pioneering partnerships for change, he has reached out to other health care organizations and unions, and he has worked with elected leaders of both parties to bring health care to millions and improve quality care in hospitals and nursing homes. He's tough, smart, and compassionate, just what's needed to help transform health care in this country.... Dennis' decision to shift his focus to the national effort couldn't come at a better time."
Rivera spent 18 years as 1199 SEIU president, His new title is expected to become final this spring after the union's campaigns in Albany, N.Y., against budget cuts to health care services for New Yorkers proposed by the new governor, Eliot Spitzer.