More Than a Half-Century of Struggle

September 6, 2013
1199SEIU retiree Clifton Broady can attest to the victories of our nation’s civil rights struggles. He has been fighting on the frontlines for more than half a century.

“I became involved in the fight for civil rights when I was in my teens,” Broady recalls. Around the same time, he left his hometown, Rockingham, NC, for New York City. “I knew that I would have a better chance to find a good job and continue my education in New York,” he says.

He was working at Harper & Row Publishers in 1963 when he took time off to go to the March on Washington. “I was 22 at the time and I had grown up during segregation – separate restaurants, schools, water fountains, movie entrances. I wanted to help change that,” he stresses.

“I think we’ve made great strides, but the march to full justice is not over,” Broady says. That is why he helped to organize two buses from North Carolina, where he is now retired--to the August 24 commemoration of the 1963 march. The August 24 action, attended by thousands of 1199ers, was called to continue Dr. King’s dream of justice and equality.

“One difference between 1963 and 2013 was my 1199 membership,” Broady says. After he became an 1199 member in 1970, much of his involvement for people’s rights was guided and aided by his Union membership. And although he retired and moved back to Rockingham with his wife, Josephine, a retired RN, that did not end his activism.

“1199SEIU has become a place for retirees in North and South Carolina to get involved in the struggles for workers’ and people’s rights,” Broady says. “In fact, folks look to us for leadership. When we in 1199SEIU call, folks respond.”

Broady says that people look to 1199SEIU for leadership because many of the 1199SEIU retirees are experienced organizers who continue to have the support of the Union. “On our buses to the Washington commemoration we had T-shirts, badges and information about the march,” Broady says. “People are impressed by our operation and organization.”

The reputation of the 1199SEIU retirees also has been built by what they do locally. Many, for example, take part in North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” demonstrations in Raleigh against regressive state government policies.

Broady, who is acting president of the local Philadelphia United Methodist Church, has helped initiate an organization of African American men that counsels youngsters and fights for much-needed community programs. “We’ve made great strides, but we’ve also lost our sense of community,” Broady laments. “We seemed to have lost some of the discipline and strict upbringing that kept young people on the right path. We’re just not as close knit.”

Broady also argues that North Carolina’s anti-union environment and policies has held back progress. “TV and the papers constantly attack unions and our accomplishments, like pensions,” Broady remarks. “They resent retirees like the 1199ers who have returned to the South with pensions and benefits and they try to use that to divide us from other working people.”

Broady is not pessimistic. “I think we can make a great difference,” he stresses. The people are ready to move. Now is the time to help organize them.”


  • Luis Santiago walked into a strike on the day he started as an HIV/AIDS counsellor at Jamaica Hospital in New York City. Service workers wal Read More
  • Since its inception in 1965, The Anne Shore Camp program has been sending eligible 1199ers’ children who are between the ages of nine and Read More
  • In the American labor lexicon, apprentices are generally more associated with hammer and nails than blood sugar checks. Read More
  • When Hurricane Irma hit the U.S. island of Puerto Rico, it took the lives of three people and left 70 percent of the residents without power Read More
  • On Thursday November 2, 2017, the 1199 family welcomed more than 100 new members from three Hudson River Healthcare (HRH) community health c Read More
  • Healthcare workers in Watertown have chosen to assert their collective strength by organizing and voting to become members of 1199SEIU. Wat Read More
  • A statement from Ken Spurgeon, R.N. at Auburn Community Hospital and 1199SEIU Vice Chair: Read More
  • 1199SEIU denounces the actions of Jack Martins, candidate for Nassau County Executive, who is standing by a divisive and hateful campaign st Read More
  • GOOD NEWS! After over a year of negotiations and numerous set-backs, Rite Aid workers have accomplished what sometimes felt unachievable: th Read More
  • One would think President Donald Trump would tire of trying to enact a travel ban against visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries. Read More
  • Over 170 healthcare workers represented by 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, currently involved in contract negotiations at Fort Hud Read More
  • Boston, MA (October 17, 2017) – Tyrék D. Lee, Sr., Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, issued the follow Read More
  • 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest, fastest-growing, most progressive healthcare union in the country, and we are lookin Read More
  • Background: The workers at Baptist Nursing Home dedicate their lives to the care and comfort of the nursing home’s ill, injured, frail and Read More
  • The 300 solar-powered lamps in these boxes are bound for Puerto Rico as part of the on-going 1199SEIU relief effort for the island in the wa Read More
  • 1199 healthcare workers are taking action in response to the crisis in Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Ma Read More
  • 1199 healthcare workers are taking action in response to the crisis in Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Ma Read More
  • With the Afya Foundation, 1199SEIU Secretary-Treasurer, Maria Castaneda arrived in Puerto Rico last week to help deliver medical supplies p Read More
  • Background: More than seven hundred 1199SEIU members are employed at 5 upstate New York nursing homes owned by The Grand Healthcare System; Read More
  • More than 100 are expected at the rally, including neighborhood and community activists, elected officials, clergy, members of several labor Read More