National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees
District 1199NM
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  • About US
    Jul 20, 2009

    Our Mission

    • To protect all workers
    • To promote and safeguard the economic interests of our members and their families
    • To achieve for our members higher wages, shorter hours, health and pension benefits and improved working conditions

    In response to an urgent need for organization among health care, nursing home and other related workers, the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees will devote all of its energies and resources to the task of organizing all employees in this field, and others as requested. NUHHCE strives to organize and bring about significant improvement in wages and other terms and conditions of employment.

    NUHHCE is dedicated to bringing the benefits of organization and unity of purpose to all workers: professional, technical, clerical and service and maintenance employees, and all employees in health care institutions such as medical centers, hospital, nursing homes, pharmacies and other related services.


    1. To organize and unite the workers within its jurisdiction regardless of sex, race, color, age, religion, national origin, political belief, sexual orientation or affiliation.

    2. To achieve improved working conditions, shorter and better scheduled hours, health, pension and other benefits and higher wages.

    3. To protect and advance the technical and professional status of its members, to aid and encourage members to acquire greater knowledge and skill in the health care field and to help achieve quality care for all people regardless of economic status.

    4. To educate workers in trade Union principles.

    5. To foster and extend democratic procedures in our country.

    6. To defend civil liberties and rights and to abolish all forms of prejudice and discrimination and to support and advocate legislation to promote these ends.

    7. There shall be full respect for all difference of opinion and all members shall have the freedom of expression.

    Jul 20, 2009

        The Beginning of District 1199NM

    The Foundation

    The roots of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFSCME, AFL-CIO go back to June 7, 1932, when a group of pharmacists founded the Pharmacists Union of Greater New York, which later acquired the name 1199. It was in 1958, when Leon Davis, then President of Local 1199 and Elliot Godoff, a pioneer hospital organizer, gave a proposal to organize hospital workers to the Drug Store Union.

    Hospital workers were forgotten people: There was no minimum wage law, no unemployment insurance, no disability benefits, no collective-bargaining rights and virtually no job protection. It was, in fact, illegal for hospital workers to join a Union. Local 1199 voted to commit their Union’s money to help the hospital workers win their Union rights, and in 1958, Montefiore Medical Center was the first hospital organized by Local 1199. The organizing of hospital workers spread around the country, but most of all to the workers of what is now District 1199NM.

    The Beginning

    In the summer of 1974, poor working conditions at St Vincent hospital in Santa Fe incited a group of nurses to organize a nurses club. This group of nurses’ voices has evolved into an influential union whose voice now resounds throughout the Rio Grande Valley and New Mexico. District 1199NM has become an institution that provides for unity, camaraderie, and most of all social action.       

    In 1974 a group of RNs, lead by Billie Rose and Annette “Pete” Kingsbury met everyday at lunch to discuss how bad the working conditions at St. Vincent had become. These nurses decided to have a meeting to organize a RN club in an attempt to develop policies that would improve patient care at St. Vincent Hospital.

    Amongst issues that concerned patient care, the nurses had complaints about the working conditions. Conditions such as: no weekends off unless you had worked 14 consecutive days, no paid maternity leave, no wage increase for tenure or experience, poor shift differentials, and lack of notice in schedule postings and changes. Overall the working conditions had left the nurses feeling overworked and unable to provide the best standard of patient care.

    Meanwhile the Taft-Hartley Act of 1974 had been signed. This new legislation gave nurses the right to organize and collectively bargain around the country. In an attempt to take full advantage of the new legislation Billie Rose had gathered addresses in order to organize her co-workers. She was accused of using her position as nurse supervisor to collect hospital information, and as a result was terminated.

    The whole hospital was shocked and upset at the termination of Billie Rose. They decided to call a meeting at Palin Hall to discuss what could be done to reinstate her position. To their amazement all different types of workers had come out to support Billie Rose, from nurses to housekeepers. With a petition full of supporters the nurses had drawn enough attention that Billie Rose was reinstated at St. Vincent.

    This was a pivotal point in the organizing of St. Vincent. It was the first time the group of nurses had realized the power of solidarity and a united voice. The initial intention of the nurses club was to develop policy that would improve patient care and working conditions, but the hospital did not want to listen or take their suggestions. This demonstration had given the nurses the strength to move forward, they would organize a union.

    The nurses continued to meet outside of the hospital to develop a Professional Performance Association.The nurses knew that it would be a difficult campaign, and despite the administrators and lawyers attempts to intimidate the nurses, they decided to petition for an election. 

    On November 7th 1974 the LPNs and RNs had the election to establish the Professional Performance Association. They were voting on two separate issues: whether to have the union, and whether or not the RNs and LPNs would be represented as one bargaining unit. The union had won the vote 113 to 23 and the RNs and LPNs would indeed be a single bargaining unit. The nurses at St. Vincent were the first nurses for over a thousand miles around to have submitted a petition to organize a union. When their first contract was implemented working conditions, wages and patient care improved dramatically.

    The Professional Performance Association was a great beginning to the formation of the union at St. Vincent, but in order to gain more support against the hospital in contract negotiations, they decided it was time to seek national representation. An election was held to determine whether the nurses had wanted to affiliate with the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare employees.

    The nurses at St. Vincent had voted in favor for national representation, but St. Vincent fought hard against it. St Vincent had filed charges against the decision and the National Labor Relations board ruled in favor of the Professional Performance Association, and we officially became District 1199NM.

    It has now been almost thirty years since the first group of nurses decided to organize on the principals of patient care and to improve the working conditions and lives of health care workers. Today District 1199NM represents: St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, The University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, all Dietary workers at Highlands University, Los Alamos Medical Center, and the struggle continues at Alta Vista Regional Medical Center in Las Vegas New Mexico.

    The enormous strides made by our Union have come about through the unity of our membership. In these days of division and discord in our country, the members of our Union have demonstrated that working people, differing in race, religion and political beliefs, can respect each other and work together for the benefit of all New Mexicans. Today District 1199NM continues to expand and grow stronger every day. 

    Jul 01, 2009

    Unions: The folks that brought you the weekend
    Since the rise of industrial society labor unions have been at the forefront of the fight for better working conditions and treatment in the workplace.  As more workers moved from agricultural work into factories and mines, many faced horrible working conditions including long hours, low pay, child labor, and health risks. Many children and women worked in factories, earning lower pay than men. The government was not helpful - actually doing little to protect workers and limit these injustices.
     Labor unions fought and won battles against child labor, long hours of work, the lack of breaks and lunchtimes, unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, and fighting for overtime pay. The labor movement has led to reforms in the minimum wage, paid holidays, equity with regard to wages, the right to Union representation, and the achievement of the eight-hour workday and two-day weekend. Labor Unions in the United States represent solidarity among the working class, bringing people together to fight for better rights, wages, and benefits. Unions are a powerful influence in the United States. Unions not only continue to ensure that workers continually receive the respect and treatment they deserve; they also work to achieve goals that benefit the broader society.
    Collective Bargaining Agreement: One United Voice
    The largest difference between Union and non-union workplaces is the collective agreement, which is your contract. Non-union workplaces usually operate under the At-Will doctrine. This means that an employer can manage any way that they want including firing employees without just cause and giving employees no rights, benefits, privileges, considerations, and much more. Without a collective bargaining agreement, employees have little to no employee input in regards to their working conditions. You are at the mercy of managers who may play favorites and change the terms and conditions of your employment at a whim.
    A Union environment provides workers a written and legally binding contract that has been collectively written and agreed upon by the workers themselves! Collective agreements cover areas such as wages, benefits, and the conditions that govern their workplace. With a contract is negotiated there are enforcement procedures that allow employees to assure that the agreement is honored. Collective agreements give Union workers rights and protections that are not available to other workers.

    Dec 16, 2015

                                     Frequently Asked Questions   

    Who is District 1199NM?

    • District 1199NM, The Nation Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, represents all levels of health care employees. We are nurses and pharmacists, radiologists, housekeepers, respiratory therapists, clerical, maintenance, social workers, and dietary aides. We represent a large number of licensed, technical, and support staff employees across New Mexico.

    What is a union?
    • Labor Unions are made up of working people working together to solve problems, build stronger workplaces and give working families a real voice. Unions give workers a voice on the job about safety, security, pay, benefits—and about the best ways to get the work done. Union workers earn 30 percent more each week than nonunion workers and are much more likely to have health and pension benefits. Unions give working people a voice in government. They represent working families before lawmakers and insure politicians are aware that working families voted them into office.

    Who runs 1199NM?
    • You and your co-workers are the Union. You elect your own representatives and officers and you decide what you want your Union to do by a democratic process.  

    How does District 1199NM work for me?
    • More important question:  What do I do for District 1199NM? You are your Union and through the strength of rank and file members, 1199NM looks out for members in many ways; the first and foremost goal is to empower health care employees by making their workplaces more democratic.

    • 1199NM helps negotiate for better wages and benefits through a legally binding Union contract and also represents you when you encounter problems on the job.

    • The Union can be your best job protection, and remember the union is stronger with greater membership.

    Why join District 1199NM?
    • By joining together you and your co-workers have the collective strength to make sure you get decent contracts and fair treatment on the job. Joining the union gives you a voice at work involving issues such as scheduling, working conditions, safety issues, patient care and whatever issues concern you the most. Remember, our strength comes from you, our members.      

    How can I join District 1199NM?
    • Please visit our Join tab to locate the digital Union Membership Card. Complete the information and select "submit."

    • Contact us if you have any questions or concerns by calling the Albuquerque office at 505.884.7713 or the Santa Fe Office at 505.780.8272. 

    How much are dues?
    • Dues are 2% of your base pay. Union dues are calculated on base pay and according to the employee’s FTE status. The members of District 1199NM vote on the dues structure. The maximum amount any member will pay is $37.50 dollars per payday.  

    What do my dues pay for?
    • Dues pay for the functioning of the union including:  maintaining your contract, legal counsel, contract negotiations, publications and newsletters, grievances, salaries for union staff and organizers, office space, supplies, equipment, and more.  

    How can I get involved?
    • There are many ways to become active in your Union and many different levels of involvement. Some great ways to get started are attending Union meetings, volunteering your time on special projects and campaigns, or introducing new employees to the Union.

    • One of the best ways is to get involved is to become a delegate in your department. Call the Albuquerque office (505) 884-7713 or the Santa Fe Office at (505) 780-8272, when you are interested in becoming more involved in your Union.


    Do I have to pay union dues?
    • Being a union member is critically important. Your support and membership provides you the opportunity to vote on important changes to your contract. YOU have a voice in what governs your working conditions. Everyone benefits with greater membership.

    • There is great strength in numbers. Each member adds negotiation power and gives you and your Union a stronger voice for positive change. 

    • However, not joining the union is not a benign act.  Though all employees receive the benefits, only the members shoulder the economic burden of maintaining those benefits.  Non-paying dues members stifle the voice of the union. If you are not a part of the solution you are part of the problem and employees who don't pay dues hinder progress in many ways.

    What is Collective Bargaining?
    • Collective Bargaining is the right of employees to be represented in negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment. Before a collective bargaining agreement is in place employees have little to no employee input in regards to their working conditions.

    • Collective Bargaining gives employees one united voice. It requires that management meet with the employees and negotiate "in good faith". This means there is a genuine effort to reach an agreement. Once a contract is negotiated, there are enforcement procedures that allow employees to assure that the agreement is honored.   

    What does AFSCME stand for?
    • AFSCME is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. AFSCME primarily represents public employees at all levels of government, and with 1.7 members they continue to be one of the fastest-growing Unions across the country. AFSCME not only fights for fairness and justice in the workplace but also at the ballot box and the halls of government.

    • In 1989 NUHHCE joined forces with AFSCME in order to increase its political power and commitment to organize new members. 

    What is the AFL-CIO?
    • The AFL-CIO is the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, is a coalition of 56 major labor unions which exists to support the work of the labor movement.  The AFL-CIO’s mission is to bring social and economic justice to our nation by enabling working people to have a voice on the job.

    • In October 1984, the National Union received a direct charter from the AFL-CIO and became the only health care Union with such a charter.

    What is the NLRB?
    • The NLRB stands for the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that administers the National Labor Relations Act. This law governs relations between unions and employers in the private sector. This statute guarantees the right of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers and to engage in other protected activity with or without a union, or to refrain from such activity.

    Jul 20, 2009

    The Union Difference: Facts from the AFL-CIO

    Union workers get more benefits and earn higher wages than workers who don’t have a voice on the job with a union.
    Union workers participating in job-provided health insurance 79%
    Nonunion workers participating in job-provided health insurance 52%
    Union workers are 52 percent more likely than nonunion workers to have job-provided health care.
    Union workers without health insurance coverage 2.5%
    Nonunion workers without health insurance coverage 15%
    Nonunion workers are five times more likely to lack health insurance coverage.
    Union workers participating in guaranteed (defined-benefit) pension plans 77%
    Nonunion workers participating in guaranteed (defined-benefit) pension plans 20%
    Union workers are 285 percent (nearly three times) more likely than nonunion workers to have defined-benefit pensions.
    Union workers with paid personal leave 57%
    Nonunion workers with paid personal leave 38%
    Union workers are 50 percent more likely than nonunion workers to have paid personal leave.
    Union workers’ average days of paid vacation 15 days
    Nonunion workers’ average days of paid vacation 11.75 days
    Union paid vacation advantage 28%.
    Union workers’ median weekly earnings $886
    Nonunion workers’ median weekly earnings $691
    Union wage advantage 28%
    Union women’s median weekly earnings $809
    Nonunion women’s median weekly earnings $615
    Union wage advantage for women 32%
    African American union workers’ median weekly earnings $720
    African American nonunion workers’ median weekly earnings $564
    Union wage advantage for African Americans 28%
    Latino union workers’ median weekly earnings $733
    Latino nonunion workers’ median weekly earnings $512
    Union wage advantage for Latinos 43%
    Asian American union workers’ median weekly earnings $902
    Asian American nonunion workers’ median weekly earnings $852
    U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Union Members in 2008, Jan. 28, 2009; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
    Statistics, National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industry in the United States, March 2008, August 2008; Economic Policy Institute;
    Employee Benefits Research Institute, May 2005.
    AFL-CIO website:

    Page Last Updated: Sep 14, 2016 (15:01:00)
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