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It is a busy season and year for 1199, the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees and it’s president, the iconic Henry Nicholas. We are trying to provide some leadership to the fight in Pennsylvania against the Koch boys and their determination to destroy public employee unionism and therefore break the political back of organized labor in Pennsylvania. We led the massive Capitol takeover on January 28th when thousands of trade unionists overwhelmed the Capitol inside and outside when the inside was filled.

Despite current conditions we are organizing in our jurisdiction in the most politically strategic states in America. We are organizing aggressively in Pennsylvania, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Florida.

Instead of retrenching in these difficult organizing times, our executive board just moved one million new dollars into stepped up organizing and has requested more. When the resolution was put to the board with a new organizing plan, the board was quick to move and pass it.

While we step up our organizing and seek to lead in the fight against the Koch boys, we are preparing our worksite leaders and activists for a militant struggle this summer for a contract battle with Philadelphia hospitals.

And we are already engaged in the crucial struggle to defeat Radical Right-wing Republican Governor Corbett.

At 77 years old President Nicholas says he’s the same age as the Pope, and that he and the Pope have a lot of work to do.

Indeed, we all have a lot to do. With unfettered, deregulated capitalism further delegitimizing itself every day, with the growing power of the plutocracy doing all it can to destroy what’s left of democracy, and with a growing economic inequality that gobbles up more and more of the wealth of the nation and the fruit of the sweat of the brow, our union and our trade union movement cannot hide or retrench. Our people are hurtin’ and discouraged and confused. We need a proud, aggressive, righteous labor movement to lead the fight that must be joined. I am so happy to be part of it all as 1199′s national organizing director.

Photo source: a.mina on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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