1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Location 498 Seventh Ave, New York, NY
Project Size 570,000 SF
JRM Construction Management completed work on the new headquarters for 1199SEIU United Health Care Workers East, a 15-story project spanning 570,000 SF at 498 Seventh Avenue with offices for both the 1199SEIU Union and Funds. As the nation’s largest healthcare union with a storied 88-year history, 1199SEIU needed the gut renovation of its new office space to showcase its history, from its early roots in championing labor rights to the diver se types of work done today by its 450,000 medical professionals.
The entry-level lobby opens with a replica of a mural by Anton Refregier, the famous painter who was active in President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, a piece that was featured in the union’s original Downtown headquarters. Past the lobby, JRM built out the 4-story public members space, which celebrates the ethos of 1199SEIU, which Martin Luther King, Jr. once referred to as “the authentic conscience of the labor movement.” The space features quadruple-height walls cast in murals depicting Hospital, Guild, and Drug division workers and ascending to an image of King giving his “Salute to Freedom” speech to 1199ers in 1968. Quotations in bronze from King and poet James Oppenheim scroll the ceramic tiles across all member spaces. Vaulted barrel ceilings of glass fiber reinforced gypsum cement accentuate the floor heights. The renovation also includes two escalators, an auditorium, enrollment spaces, office spaces, training rooms, classrooms, a reception, cafes and seminar rooms.