The temporary agreement regarding furloughs was ratified by an overwhelming majority on Saturday and is in effect starting today.
If you were not able to join the telephone townhall meeting this past Saturday, you can listen to a recording below:
First Half of Meeting:
Second Half of Meeting:
Will I be offered a furlough? How will that work?
It is up to the hospital to determine if and how many furloughs are needed in each department/shift. If furloughs are offered, it will be done on a rotational basis starting with the highest senior and going down the list in seniority order. For example: on a unit with 10 employees where the employer has decided to offer three furloughs for the two-week period beginning April 26, the three most senior employees in that area would be offered first. If any of them decline, a furlough would then be offered to the next most senior employee. If the employer then decides to offer three furloughs for the two-week period beginning May 3, the offers will be made to the most senior employees who were not offered the furlough for the previous two- week period. Once the seniority list as applied to the functional unit is used, the rotation will start from the top of the list. If there are not enough volunteers, the hospital may mandate furloughs starting with the least senior.
What does it mean to be on furlough?
- SEIU members on furlough would not work and would not be paid, but would maintain insurance benefits (health, dental, life and short-term disability). SEIU members would be responsible for paying their regular insurance premium contributions, which could be paid upon return to work through payroll deduction.
- SEIU members on furlough would be encouraged to apply for unemployment insurance benefits through the State of Minnesota. For most, unemployment insurance would replace lost wages. You can learn more about unemployment here: (add link)
- SEIU members on furlough would not accrue compensated hours for vacation accrual, pension contributions, length of service increases, or for any other purpose.
Could my scheduled be changed due to this furlough agreement?
Yes, it may be necessary to rebalance or change work schedules after it is determined who would be on temporary furlough. To accomplish this, the hospital would first ask for volunteers to change their schedule, and then determine mandatory schedule changes taking seniority into account, as well as personal hardships, skill mix, etc.
What about Hero Pay or Hazard pay?
SEIU Healthcare MN is avoiding the use of the term “Hazard Pay” because we do not want to imply that we are willing to work unsafely or without the full, appropriate PPE. Our proposal to the healthcare industry on premium payments and bonuses to reward our “Essential” work during the COVID-19 pandemic is as follows:
- Hero Pay: A dollars-per-hour premium for workers taking care of COVID-19 patients in any setting.
- Retention Bonus: A bonus in the form of cash money or employer paid health care costs for staying through the pandemic.
- Extra Shift Bonus: A bonus paid for in-demand professionals who pick up extra shifts or agree to an increase in their FTE.
We have invited all SEIU employers to engage in a discussion on our Essential Worker Payment Program. Most of our employers, including Methodist, are not yet ready to negotiate with us on this subject or have been focused on bargaining income and benefit security for members experiencing reduced hours, furloughs and lay-off. Now that a furlough agreement has been reached, we can focus our efforts on advocating for a premium pay agreement.
In addition, we are working to advance legislation in Congress around PPE and Hero Pay for Healthcare workers. We will be sending an action update on that later this week.