I’m Sticking With My Union: 2019 Convention and Leadership Assembly

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 10.19.14 AMOn Friday, September 20 leaders from across the Union came together for a day of workshops and learning at the Delta Marriott hotel in Northeast Minneapolis. Members spent time talking about the 2020 presidential election, learned about some of the most recent decisions by the Supreme Court and the National Labor Relations Board that affect union rights and worker power and considered how best to increase workplace democracy and build union strength, attended workshops on equity and inclusion in our Union and explored the power dynamics behind framing the story we are told about unions, and who’s in control of that story.

Members also celebrated our victories from the past year, and recognized member leaders for outstanding work in their Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 10.19.20 AMrespective leaders rules. Members recognized included Lynda Moua, Grievance Leader; Khalil Hussein, Joann Palmer, Ziyad Ahmed, and Sherab Khamsakhamstang, Worksite Leaders; Karen Cullen, Orientation Leader; and Isabella Wreh-Fofana, Christina Wilson, and Teanke Tarwai, Political Leaders.

At our annual SEIU Healthcare Minnesota membership convention on Saturday, members voted to adopt six bold resolutions charting the course for the future of our Union. We committed to investing more deeply in education and leadership development opportunities for our member leaders, pledged to “stick with my union” and fight back against all the corporate and ideological attacks against us , and made specific commitments to ambitious new strategies in our hospital, nursing home, and home care sectors. And, in preparation for our next major round of collective bargaining – which starts just a few weeks from now, with 1,900 members in the HealthPartners clinic system – we took an unprecedented step as a Union. For a copy of the full resolutions go to seiuhcmn.org/member-resources/convention/.

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 12.17.56 PMHealthPartners management has told our members it will seek cuts and concessions on the health benefits those workers have won through years of collective bargaining. Our HealthPartners members have shown that they are ready to do whatever it takes to stop this cost-shifting, up to and including going out on strike. While we are proud to have over one million dollars in our Union’s strike fund, we know that if a strike involving a group this large were to last long enough, eventually those resources would be depleted. We don’t want to ever be in the position, as a Union, of not fully having the backs of any group of members choosing to strike to defend their benefits. As a result, on Saturday morning all the other members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota – working in home care, nursing homes, hospitals, and other clinic systems – took the unprecedented step of agreeing to increase their own dues if HealthPartners members have to go on an open-ended strike to defend their health benefits. As one HealthPartners member leader and nurse, Jean Pfarr, put it during this morning’s debate: “This is what true solidarity looks like.” And as another, Clinics Vice President Kate Lynch, put it in introducing the resolution: “The only way to hold the line against cuts is to hold the line against cuts.” #WhenWeFightWeWin #WhenWeStrikeWeWin


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