You are covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) if you are in the “bargaining unit.” The bargaining unit is defined in state law.
Workers Who ARE in the bargaining unit:
- PCAs and support workers providing State-funded personal assistance services where the participant is the employer, along with the state of Minnesota, through the following programs:
- PCA Choice
- Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS)
- Consumer Support Grant (CSG)
- New Community First Services and Supports (CFSS) Budget Model (currently in development )
Workers NOT in the bargaining unit:
- PCAs and support workers who provide State-funded, agency-employed personal assistance services through the Traditional PCA program
- PCAs and support workers who provide services that are not funded through the state’s Medical Assistance program
The thousands of home care workers in the collective bargaining unit voted in August 2014 to authorize SEIU Healthcare Minnesota as our bargaining unit’s representative. This means that our Union, which is governed and led by its members, represents the unit in negotiations with the State of Minnesota. All workers in the bargaining unit are entitled to Union representation and to the benefits negotiated by the Union. Some of the benefits in our first CBA include paid time off, a minimum wage of $12/hour, new training programs, and a grievance and arbitration process to protect against wage theft. Click here for a summary of our contract. (http://www.seiuhealthcaremn.org/files/2017/06/HCMN-2017-2019-Home-Care-Contract.pdf)
If I am in the bargaining unit does that mean that I’m automatically a Union member? Am I required to be a Union member?
Joining together with thousands of other home care and healthcare workers in your Union gives you greater strength in collective bargaining, resulting in better wages, benefits, and training opportunities in the future. We keep our union strong by paying our Union dues, getting involved in Union leadership, talking to other home care workers, and sharing our stories with our communities and with our elected leaders. As a member you have all the benefits of membership, including the right to participate fully in the internal activities of the Union. This includes the right to vote to accept or reject the collective bargaining agreement which establishes your wages, benefits and training opportunities. It includes the right to shape contract proposals, the right to vote on changes in Union direction and policies, and the right to vote in and run in elections of Union officers. In addition to these rights to participate in the democracy and direction of your own organization, Union members can participate in no-cost trainings in CPR and other job skills offered by the Union and receive the benefits available through Union Plus, such as better rates and deals on credit card, travel, and insurance benefits.
Home care workers who join the Union contribute 3% of our gross income in Union dues. This means that for each dollar we earn, we contribute 3 cents to keep our Union strong. A committee of home care workers and other members of our Union’s Executive Board proposed the 3% dues rate after researching the experiences of home care Unions across the country. The home care Unions that have won the strongest standards (affordable health insurance, wage floors as high as $15 an hour, paid training opportunities, even retirement benefits) pay dues of 3% or higher. On June 13th, 2015, Union members from around the State who attended our membership meeting voted to approve the new 3% home care dues rate.
For all SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members (in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes around the state, in addition to home care workers), members have established a $79 monthly maximum for dues. Very few home care members work enough hours per month at a high enough wage to reach that maximum, but for those few who do this is an important exception to the 3% rate.
How can I join the Union?
To become a Union member you can sign and return the membership card that you may have received in the mail, or you can join online by filling out the form here.
How do I pay my Union dues?
Our contract allows us to pay our Union dues through payroll deduction. Your membership card includes an authorization for the PCA Choice Agency or Fiscal Support Entity that you are paid through to deduct your dues from your regular pay check.
I work for both PCA Choice participants and Traditional PCA participants. Am I still in the bargaining unit?
The work you do for PCA Choice participants is bargaining unit work and covered by the CBA. Your work for Traditional PCA participants is not covered by the CBA. You can be a member of the Union that represents you in your PCA Choice work. If you do join the Union, your Union dues will be 3% of the wages you make working for PCA Choice participants. The wages you earn working for Traditional PCA participants will not be used to calculate your dues payment.
I provide both homemaking and PCA Choice services to the same participant. Am I still in the bargaining unit?
The work you do as a PCA for PCA Choice participants is bargaining unit work and covered by the CBA. Your homemaking work is not covered by the CBA. You can be a member of Union that represents you in your PCA Choice work. If you do join the Union, your Union dues will be 3% of the wages you make providing PCA services to PCA Choice participants. The wages you earn providing homemaking services will not be used to calculate your dues payment.
A request to resign Union membership must be in writing and include your full name, address, signature, and the name of your fiscal intermediary (Fiscal Support Entity or PCA Choice agency). Such a request must be mailed to: Executive Vice President Jigme Ugen, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, 345 Randolph Avenue, Suite 100, St. Paul, MN 55102. When we receive such a letter, we inform the fiscal intermediary that you have resigned membership.
Your responsibility for Union dues depends on the membership agreement you authorized when you became a member:
- If your membership agreement did not include a commitment to continuing to pay dues for one year after becoming a member (which is true for the overwhelming majority of current members), then you are only responsible for paying dues as long as you remain a member of the Union.
- At our June 2015 membership meeting, Union members (including hospital, clinic and nursing home workers, in addition to home care workers) voted to update the Home Care membership application cards so that they match the membership applications used by all other SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members. These membership applications include a commitment to pay dues for one year (assuming you continue working in the bargaining unit) from the date the card is signed. This one-year commitment allows the member-leaders of our Union to plan for the future and budget responsibly. This commitment also protects the democracy of our Union by preventing workers from signing up as members just or to vote on a contract or in a Union election, or to attend a free Union-sponsored training, and then drop their membership the next day. If you want to cancel dues-deduction at the end of that one-year commitment, you must notify the Union of your desire to revoke your dues authorization within the time period stated on the card you signed. (Again, if you are a member and want a copy of the card you signed, please just call our Member Action Center at 651-294-8100 or 800-828-0206.) The notification should be sent in writing to: Executive Vice President Jigme Ugen, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, 345 Randolph Avenue, Suite 100, St. Paul, MN, 55102.
No. If you are no longer working, or no longer working in the bargaining unit, dues-deduction automatically stops.
Joining the Union and paying your Union dues is not about receiving the benefits of the current CBA. Home care workers across the state have already fought for and won this first agreement with the State. The cost of that fight was paid for by our Union brothers and sisters across the state and around the country, who have paid their dues and committed their hard-earned money to help us win everything we’ve won so far.
Now it’s time for us to make sure we build a strong Union for ourselves. You shouldn’t join the Union and pay your dues because of what we’ve already won. You should join because you want to fight together with other home care workers for the respect, pay and fair treatment we deserve. You should join because you know that counting on other people to fight for us doesn’t work. You should join because you want to fight alongside the elders and people with disabilities that we work for, to make their lives better. You should join because care work like ours, done predominantly by women and often by women of color, has been undervalued and under-appreciated for generations. You should join because you have a vision for how home care services can work better and you want to join other home care workers and participants to make that vision a reality.
Home care workers and the people we care for have been invisible for far too long. Joining your Union, paying your dues, and building power with other home care workers is the only way we can be sure that we will finally be Invisible No More!