Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Interview with Dennis Rivera

Labor adapts to service economy
Boston Globe

Dennis Rivera, president of the New York-based 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, recently rose to the job of chief of all SEIU healthcare workers in the country. He spoke with Globe reporter Christopher Rowland about the union's efforts to organize workers at Boston's teaching hospitals.

Q Why are you having success organizing healthcare workers when other unions are having trouble increasing membership?

A The American economy right now is basically going to a service economy, and we are in areas where the economy is growing. By this time next year, we will have 2 million members in our union, and that will be a milestone -- 1.1 million to 1.2 million will be healthcare workers. There are about 10 million healthcare workers in the United States that could potentially be organized. We believe this year we are going to organize around 100,000, including, we hope, 22,500 personal care attendants here in Massachusetts.


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