Frequently Asked Questions about membership status

 


Am I in the bargaining unit represented by SEIU Healthcare MN and covered by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)?

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 client/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


What does it mean to be in the bargaining unit and covered by the CBA?

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 democratically 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 third Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) include Paid Time Off, Holiday Pay, a Minimum Wage of $13.25/hour, an additional enhanced wage rate for qualifying caregivers, access to new member-designed, free training programs, a $500 training stipend, and a grievance and arbitration process to protect against wage theft.

Click here for a summary of our contract. (http://www.seiuhealthcaremn.org/files/2019/06/190531_Home-Care-3rd-Contract-Booklet.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?

No. If you are in the bargaining unit that means you can choose to become a Union member and help the rest of us push for dignity and respect in our home care programs.  No one is automatically a Union member.


I’m in the bargaining unit. Why should I become a Union member?

Home care workers, family caregivers and clients are coming together to fix our home care crisis and build a sustainable future in Minnesota for ourselves, our clients and our loved ones. Joining 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, skill-sharing with other home care workers, and taking our stories to our communities and 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 agreements which establish 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 receive the benefits available through Union Plus and the SEIU Member Benefits program, such as access to a free online college education and better rates and deals on credit card, travel, and insurance benefits.


How much are Union dues? How was the dues rate decided?

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 $16 an hour, paid training opportunities, even retirement benefits!) pay dues of 3% or higher. Union members from around the State 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 per-pay-period maximum for dues. Not many home care members work enough hours per month at a high enough wage to reach that maximum, but for those who do this is an important exception to the 3% rate. The maximum is listed below:

Pay Frequency Pay Periods/Year Max Dues Per Pay Period
Bi-weekly 26 $36.46
Weekly 52 $18.23

 

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. If you’d like to have a conversation about your Union and its impact on you, please feel free to call our Member Action Center at 651-294-8100 or 800-828-0206 and ask for a Home Care organizer to return your call. The Member Action Center is open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, except on major holidays.


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 Financial Management Service (FMS) Provider that you are paid through to deduct your dues from your regular paycheck.


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 Collective Bargaining Agreement (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, and your Traditional PCA work cannot be covered by our CBA.


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, CDCS and CSG participants is bargaining unit work and covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Your homemaking work is not covered by the CBA. You can be a member of your Union that represents you in your PCA work. If you do join your Union, your Union dues will be 3% of the wages you make providing PCA services to PCA Choice, CDCS and CSG participants.  The wages you earn providing homemaking and other services will not be used to calculate your dues payment, and cannot be subject to our CBA.


I think I might have signed a membership card in the past but I’m not sure. How can I find out if I’m already a Union member?

For this or any other question about your membership status, call our Member Action Center at 651-294-8100 or 800-828-0206.


I would like to resign my Union membership. How can I do that?

A request to resign Union membership must be made in writing and include your full name, address, signature, and the name of your fiscal intermediary (Fiscal Management Service (FMS) provider 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.


Can I resign my Union membership at any time?

Yes. You can resign your membership following the instructions above.


When I resign my membership, will I still be responsible for paying Union dues?

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, 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 our 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 to vote on a contract or in a Union election, or to attend a free Union-sponsored event or 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.


What happens to my dues payments if I stop working in the PCA Choice, CDCS, or CSG programs? Do I have to notify the union to stop dues payments?

No. Since dues payments are made through deductions from union members’ paychecks for work in the PCA Choice, CDCS or CSG programs, dues-deduction automatically stops when you stop working in those programs.


I will get all of the benefits of the CBA without joining the Union. Why should I join the Union and pay my dues?

Joining your Union and paying your Union dues is not about receiving the benefits of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Home care workers across the state have already fought for and won this 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 your Union and pay your dues just because of what we’ve already won. You should join because you want to fight together with other home care workers, family caregivers and clients for the respect, pay and fair treatment we truly 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!


I just care for my child or family member. How does this affect me?

Paid Parents and Family Caregivers make up a large portion of our active membership! We acutely understand the need for our Home Care programs to have our voices at the table when decisions are made by politicians and state agencies. We recognize that, for many of us, our loved ones’ care needs will continue beyond our ability to provide that care on our own. Whether its years, months or days away, the time will come when we – or our loved ones themselves – will need community help to cover their care to remain independent. While we may be willing to provide this care for the relatively low wages and benefits associated with these programs, a trained and reliable workforce likely will not.

Our Union is our seat at the table in Minnesota’s home care decision-making. We can use our direct experience to decide for ourselves what constitutes adequate resources for our current or future care staff. Those of us who have used these programs for many years know that this improvement does not happen on its own; it takes passion, advocacy and political savvy – and our growing community has that and then some!

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