Dian Palmer: Vigil Shines Light Through Unspeakable Loss

When I first learned of the attack in San Bernardino, Calif., I was instantly worried for the seniors and people living with disabilities who were in the building seeking assistance with their care and services. I also thought back to other tragedies—Columbine, Sandy Hook, Ferguson—when we hoped and prayed these senseless attacks were isolated events. Now, we can barely get over the shock and pain of one before we learn of more men, women and children who have fallen to gun violence.

But this one didn’t just hit close to home—it hit us in our home. Of the 14 innocent lives lost, 10 were members of SEIU Local 721. This wasn’t just someone else’s son or loving partner, neighbor or co-worker. These were members of our family, our SEIU brothers and sisters, who died or were injured, and a whole community left afraid, sad and scarred. These women and men left for work like any other day, making sure community sites where families eat are clean and safe. Little did they know their goodbye kiss that morning would be their last.

As a former public health nurse, I wanted to help. However, this wasn’t an instance where I could correct or prevent a disease. Instead, I joined SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, nurse colleagues, and other SEIU members and leaders to meet with our Local 721 brothers and sisters and extend our hand. We wanted them to know their hurt was our hurt, and they were not alone.

We joined more than 1,000 co-workers, loved ones, elected and spiritual leaders at a candlelight vigil to stand in solidarity and be the light in the midst of unspeakable loss for families and our nation. President Henry inspired us to recommit to care for each other in our own families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and to act out of love that we are all each other’s brothers and sisters.

She also called upon each of us to use our individual and collective power to demand action of elected leaders at every level to build a better future. We must do whatever we can to keep our communities safe. To me, it’s a way to find hope in a hopeless situation and the best way to honor all who are suffering from this tragedy.

By Dian Palmer, RN
Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare
and President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin

Please help SEIU members and their families affected by this tragedy in San Bernardino here:

ATT: Local 721 Member and Family Support Fund
1800 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

You can also donate on-line here:

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SEIU Member Forum with Special Guest MARY BURKE, 2014 Candidate for Wisconsin Governor

Join Us For

SEIU Member Forum with Special Guest MARY BURKE
2014 Candidate for Wisconsin Governor

This Sunday January 19, 2014 1:00pm
SEIU Wisconsin State Council
260 E Highland Ave – suite 300 Milwaukee, Wisconsin

With less than a year until the Governor’s seat is up for election, now is the time to find a candidate who will be a champion for us!

The forum will be open to members to share the issues facing the hard working men and women across the state, and to hear Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke speak on how she plans to fight for the families of Wisconsin.

Members will then be invited to fill out a survey reviewing their thoughts on the candidate that will be used in the official endorsement process.

This is a free event open to all members of SEIU

Free transportation may be available from Madison and Racine—call for details
Please RSVP to Dominique Salice at 414.469.4817 or


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Fight Walker’s Plan to Kick 87,000 off BadgerCare

You’ve probably heard that the Governor turned down billions in federal funding to expand the state’s BadgerCare program that makes sure that low-income Wisconsinites have access to affordable health insurance. Walker’s been using a lot of smoke and mirrors to explain his plan, but the facts are clear, Walker’s “alternative” will kick 87,000 people off of BadgerCare, will cost state taxpayers roughly $250 million more in healthcare costs, and will increase the number of Wisconsinites without health insurance.

Walker’s policy is an out-and-out assault on low-income Wisconsinites. Tell him his “plan” is unacceptable in person. Uninsured Wisconsinites, concerned citizens, and the statewide 99% are converging on Madison, Wednesday, Feb. 20, to push back against Walker’s budget and to tell the Governor to do the right thing and say YES to BadgerCare:

4PM, Wednesday, Feb. 20
Room 415 NW, State Capitol, Madison
Rides available from Milwaukee, Wausau

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Town Hall Meeting on Protecting Our WRS (Madison)

The Fight is Not Over: A Town Hall Meeting on Protecting Our Wisconsin Retirement System.

Discussion Items:

  •  Solving the national retirement crisis with the WRS.
  • An update on what the 2012 Summer Study of the WRS said about the health of our pension and recommendations for its future.
  • What might happen in 2013?
  • Working together to keep our pensions safe from the agendas of politicians.
  • Extending the model of the WRS to private-sector workers without secure retirements.

 A question and answer session follows discussion.

Sponsored by your union and Wisconsin Coalition for Retirement Security, a joint project of AFSCME, AFT-Wisconsin, Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin, SEIU, and WEAC. Questions? or Directions: Call Paul at 1-414-520-1752 or email

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Oakwood Member Meeting

For more information, please contact Andy Harris at 608-277-1199 x 14.

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Download Your Union Contract

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We Are Wisconsin Film Viewing (MKE)

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May Day Solidarity March

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