Show #41: 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East–Florida

Posted: 2013/07/16 by Punkonomics (@dearbalak) in Podcasts, Uncategorized

Punkonomics2013-7-15 1199SEIU final

My guests were Coyuca Jones and Vera Nelson from the Florida local of the 1199 Service Employees International Union

It was great to talk with representatives of this legendary union with an amazing history that has recently started working in Florida (a very hostile terrain to say the least).

Here’s some background info on the 1199SEIU. Make sure you watch the short video to get an idea of who they are and how important they were and continue to be. MLK called them his “favorite union.” ,

1199 50th Anniversary Video from 1199SEIU on Vimeo.

Here are some of the things we discussed on the air:

    • Important role in the civil rights struggle: MLK called them his “favorite union.”
      • Successful recent history in both: Confrontation and Cooperation with employers.
      • The 1199 nationally and in Florida over the past 10 years.
    • What actions is the 1199 taking locally and nationally right now:
      • Campaign for Medicaid Expansion
      • Struggle for worker’s rights in healthcare industry workers contracts
    • More generally Coy and Vera talked about:the difficulties they encounter in advocating unions in a hostile environment
      • solidarity between many organizations with different agendas
      • how the union is helping in communities
      • seeking dialogue with employers and government and trying to reach reasonable agreements by persuading them to represent their constituents
      • the Trayvon Martin verdict
    • Finally, I asked about how they themselves found their way to doing what you do

left: Coy; right: Vera

Note: we closed the show with Which Side Are You On? a song written by Florence Reece the wife of Sam Reece, a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1931. The song was made famous in the late 60s by Pete Seeger and we played a recent cover by the political hip hop trio Rebel Diaz


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