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Who We Represent

The SEIU New Jersey State Council is comprised of unions representing 23,000 service workers throughout the state, including those in healthcare, warehouse, food service and maintenance workers.

Meet Devika 

Devika Smith is a certified nursing assistant in Jersey City and a member of 1199SEIU.  A dedicated caregiver, Devika takes pride in providing care and comfort to her elderly residents, who rely on her for all their daily needs.  As she says, “at the end of the day, we become their family, because we’re all they have.” 

A single parent of four, Devika also provides for her granddaughter, and supports her family earning just $13.43 an hour. A single parent of four, Devika also provides for her granddaughter, and supports her family earning just $13.43 an hour. Despite her financial hardship, what little money Devikahas left after paying the bills, she often uses for her patients—buying them items like soap, clothing, and perfumes to help them feel more comfortable and loved.

Over the past few years, Devika has become an incredible rank-and-file leader of 1199, speaking out about why raising the minimum wage for $15 matters to her, her family, and her patients.  While she says that winning the Fight for $15 “will never make me rich or let me go on trips around the world,” it will give her comfort in knowing that she can afford the bare necessities— “to know that my rent is going to get paid, to know that the electric company isn’t going to come and cut me off, to know that I can afford to buy chicken at the grocery store.”