SEIU Local 1199

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Local 1199 SEIU refers to the New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Massachusetts members, otherwise known as the United Healthcare Workers East. SEIU1199 refers to the West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio chapter of the Service Employees International Union.

Communist infiltration

Founded in 1932, the union was left led from the start and was investigated in 1948 by the House Un-American Activities Committee for Communist "infiltration". Its' key founder was identified Communist Party USA member Leon H. Davis. It was called Local 1199, Drug and Hospital Workers Union until it merged with the CPUSA-influenced SEIU or District 65 in 198??.

According to information in the 1970 New Mobe Staff Study[1], Davis took the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination when asked about his CPUSA membership during a hearing before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor in 1948 (p. 3), listed as an identified member of the CPUSA on p. 40 & 44; page 50, is Footnote 61 which says: "Information on the CPUSA connection of Leon H. Davis may be found in convenient form in hearings on "Subversive Influences in Riots, Looting, and Burning, Part 4 (Newark, NJ), Committee on Un-American Activities, April 24, 1968, p. 1917"[2]

At at a March 2007 meeting to celebrate the Communist Party USA donation of its papers to New York's Tamiment Library, Steve Kramer, executive vice president of Service Employees Union Local 1199, spoke of the Communist Party’s role in building and maintaining his union.

Recounting 1199’s “disastrous” 1984 strike and internal strife in which “the union almost tore itself up,” Kramer said that but for the party’s efforts, “1199 would have been a small union” Today, with nearly 300,000 members, it is the world’s largest union local.

When the Communist Party split in 1991, several Local 1199 officials joined the dissenting faction and took many comrades into the breakaway Committees of Correspondence.

Among those Local 1199 officials signing the Communist Party dissenter's "An initiative to Unite and Renew the Party" document, which brought tensions to crisis point, were Paul Friedman (Local 1199 Vice President), Rafael Pizarro (Local 1199 organiser), Geoffrey Jacques (associate editor 1199 News) and Marshall Garcia (Local 1199 executive Vice President).

Friedman, Pizarro, Jacques and Garcia all went on to support Committees of Correspondence.

Many other 1199ers also supported Committees of Correspondence, including Lenore Colbert (Local 1199 Vice President), Pat Harris (Local 1199 Vice President), David Kranz and Socorro Laguerra (Local 1199 rank and file), Pam Mills (Local 1199 Seattle), Bruce Richard (SEIU San Francisco, now a Local 1199 Vice President), Angela Doyle (Local 1199 Vice President) and Nelson Valdez (Local 1199 Vice President}.

Doyle, Valdez and Richard still hold senior positions with the union.

In addition, leading Committees of Correspondence member Mael Apollon is involved with the Local 1199 Child Care Fund.

"Good politics"

In 1993 Democratic Socialists of America Youth Section Co- Chair Karen Marie Gibson worked for the Service Employees International Union District 1199, the health care workers union. "Because I'm in DSA, they knew I had good politics, so they hired me," she says. Gibson,who was active in the chapter at the State University of New York at Geneseo, had no previous experience with unions, but became interested in the labor movement through DSA.[3]


Local 1199 officials in 2009 were:

Executive Vice Presidents as of 2009[5].

Vice Presidents as of 2009[6].


  1. Subversive Involvement in the Origin, Leadership, and Activities of the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam and Its Predecessor Organizations, Staff Study, House Internal Security Committee, HISC, 1970, p. 3, 40, 44 & 52
  2. Subversive Influences in Riots, Looting and Burning, Part 4 (Newark, N.J.), Hearings, April 24, 1968, HCUA, p. 1917
  3. Dem. Left, Sept./October 1993, page 24