September 1, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Baltimore, MD – Workers at Chase Brexton Health Care, a chain of clinics specializing in care for gay, lesbian, and transgender people, voted overwhelmingly Aug. 25 to be represented by 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.
The vote was 87–9, with another 15 ballots challenged, the union said. “I think the workers at Chase Brexton sent a clear message that patient care matters and they are willing to fight for it,” said 1199 organizer Brian Owens. Chase Brexton, opened in 1978 as a clinic for gay men, has expanded to a wider population in the last few years and now serves almost 10,000 Medicaid recipients. Workers say the expansion has hurt the quality of care, by forcing them to work longer hours and treat larger numbers of patients. “I voted for the union because there has been a history over the last three years of providers’ inability to have a say in the decision-making at Chase Brexton, and that has adversely affected staff wellness and patient care," psychologist Donna Yaffe said. The SEIU also complained to the National Labor Relations Board that Chase Brexton had fired five managers who sympathized with the union. Read more