News

Upcoming Events: Rochester Labor Day Picnic

Enjoy free food, beverages at the Rochester Labor Day Picnic on Monday, September 2. There will be activities for kids, including a bouncy castle, clown, balloons, bike giveaway and more!

Monday, September 2nd
11:00am – 2:00pm
Bear Creek Park: 1237 Marion Rd SE, Rochester, MN 55904

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Summer Picnic Success!

Last weekend, more than 400 SEIU members attended the summer union picnic with their families at Como Park! There was plenty of food, fun, prizes and ride wristbands for kids at Como Town. St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter was on hand to help celebrate our members and all of the hard work and care that members provide to the community every day.como picnic group shot como picnic 3 Como picnic 2 como picnic

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Minneapolis Minimum Wage Increase!

piggy bank increase-01

Today, the minimum wage in Minneapolis also goes up! For workers at large businesses (with more than 100 employees) the new minimum wage is $12.25 per hour. For small businesses (with fewer than 100 employees) the new minimum wage is $11.00 per hour.

The increases to the Minneapolis minimum wage are part of the planned phase-in of a $15 minimum wage that was adopted by the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our union led the fight for a $15 minimum wage and we plan to use this upward pressure on wages to raise pay for healthcare workers statewide! One of the reasons the raise for home care workers statewide was more than 10% this contract was because of the upward pressure on wages from the Minneapolis ordinance.  And just last week, Allina finally agreed to raise pay for all workers across the system to a $15 minimum wage, regardless of whether the worker was in Minneapolis or Owatonna. As $15 becomes the new standard for minimum wage work, our members are already planning our next fights for real pay increases!

For news about the increase click here.

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Home Care Worker Contract Day!

HomeCare July 1 new contractToday, the new contract for Minnesota’s home care workers goes into effect! The new contract provides millions of dollars for raises, new benefits and training programs! Home care workers have come a long way since forming their union five years ago, when the minimum wage was $6.30 an hour with no benefits. Starting today the minimum wage goes up to $13.25 (up from $12) and new benefits include more holiday pay, PTO, paid training programs and more. Congratulations to all home care worker on this well-deserved raise and contract.

Thank you to all the members who served on the bargaining team, who came to lobby day and helped ensure the new agreement was ratified by the legislature.

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Conservative Member Committee Update

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 12.10.19 PMThe Conservative Member Engagement Committee (CMEC) met the first week of May in DC. We spent two days discussing and working through how SEIU International, and subsequently our locals needs, to discuss and work on Immigration and the upcoming presidential endorsing process. There were over 20 locals represented from all corners of the United States that SEIU represents with rank and file members all the way up to SEIU International president, Mary Kay Henry, participating.

Immigration continues to be a polarizing difficult subject to discuss. Which is exactly why we need to continue to do so. It became very apparent not enough of the immigration conversation discusses why this effects you as a member here in Minnesota compared to members in Texas, California or other more southern locals.  The simplest most succinct way of saying this is because it effects hundreds of thousands of SEIU dues paying members across the country. There are first, second and third generation immigrants as well as current individuals that have come to the US as refugees affected.

While it is hard to always see how that effects your next contract here in MN, it drastically effects these individuals’ next contracts in their work places. The International Union works towards best representing all members across the US. While we cannot fix immigration today, we have to work towards it, so the members effected by this can have the best contracts possible.  When we run into major issues here in MN with Mayo, Allina, Health Partners our Nursing homes and Homecare, the International and these same members will be here to support us win those fights as well. This would naturally require an even longer conversation than I can have in a weekly newsletter. But please know conservative voices are being involved in this conversation.

As always please feel free to reach out to me personally if this is a in depth conversation you are interested in having. I am happy to meet you or your co-workers as able to talk more in length.

I will update you on our discussion of the presidential endorsing process as we continue at a later time.

 

Sincerely,

Corey Van Denburgh

Homecare worker

Member Vice President

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STRIKE: Elk River Guardian Angels Nursing Homes Workers Begin Two-Day ULP Strike

Workers make clear: “We are doing this for our residents”

ELK RIVER — Nursing home workers at Guardian Angels in Elk River began their two-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike at 6 a.m. this morning. The group of over 100 workers, who do housekeeping, laundry, dietary, health unit coordinating, nursing assistance, recreation and maintenance, are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The workers will be joined by community supporters on a picket line from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday on the public sidewalk outside of the facility (400 Evans Ave NW, Elk River). The workers plan to return to work starting on Saturday morning.

Elk_River_Guardian_Angel_Strike_rs_2Avis Lage, who works as a dietary aide at Guardian Angels, shared why she is out on strike to win a better facility for residents and staff.

“We are on strike for our residents, our jobs and our whole community. We are proud that our work has made Guardian Angels a 5-star facility, but we are disappointed that management doesn’t seem willing to listen to us and show their longtime staff the respect we have earned. We are fighting for safe staffing levels and pay that rewards the amazing work done every day in our facility so that 5-star work can continue into the future,” said Lage, who has worked at the facility for seven years.

Leading up to the strike, the group heard strong support from community and residents who understand that it is the staff’s hard work that has made the facility so well respected.

“We’re so thankful for the support we’ve already received and we want everyone to know we won’t stop fighting until management finally understands that it is the people who work here 24 hours a day that make this facility so great. It’s time they show that they value us more than padding the bottom line,” continued Lage. “We didn’t want to get to this point, but we hope those at the top finally get the message that the staff aren’t disposable and that if you don’t respect and invest in the people who’ve given decades of service to Guardian Angels, we could lose what we’ve worked so hard to achieve. We hope they’ll hear our voices.”

A recent news article noted that according to 2017 tax documents Guardian Angels made $1,806,640 in profit, with President and CEO Daniel C. Dixon being paid $226,658.

The group voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike earlier this month after their employer spent months refusing to make an offer that respects their dedicated workforce. The two sides have held over 10 bargaining sessions, with their employer unwilling to meet the group’s demands for safe staffing levels, respect for workers who want a collective voice in their workplace, and investment in dedicated staff so they can continue to make Guardian Angels a 5-star facility.

Jody Winter is CNA 30-year employee in the laundry department who spoke out about why she was out on strike.

“As someone who has worked at Guardian Angels for 30 years, I care deeply about our residents and my co-workers. It’s because I want what is best for Guardian Angels that I am taking part in this strike. We are a 5-Star facility because of the work that happens in our building, but when we have sat down over 10 times with management to try and reach an agreement on a contract, they don’t seem to want to recognize or respect the work so many of us put in,” said Winter. “The things we want — safe staffing levels, pay that honors the staff who have dedicated decades to this facility, and respect for our collective voice — are common sense requests and would be good for everyone. We had hoped that Guardian Angels management would do what is right and work with us, but they won’t budge and seem more concerned with their bottom line than listening to their staff. We wish we weren’t in this situation, but when you are fighting for what is right sometimes you have to make a stand. This strike is our stand for our residents, our families and our whole community.”

With the employer refusing to bargain in good faith, there are no new bargaining dates set.

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

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Elk River Nursing Home Workers Announce Strike Authorization

Workers at Guardian Angels vote to authorize strike after months of contract negotiations

Elk River — Nursing home workers employed by Guardian Angels in Elk River voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike after their employer has refused to make an offer that respects their dedicated workforce. The group, who do housekeeping, laundry, dietary, health unit coordinating, nursing assistance, recreation, and maintenance, are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The two sides have held over 10 bargaining sessions, with their employer refusing to meet the group’s demands for safe staffing levels, respect for workers who want a collective voice in their workplace, and calls for investment in dedicated staff so they can invest in their community.

Elk_River_Nursing_rsThere is no strike date set. There must be a 10-day notice before any strike would begin. An update will be shared if a 10-day notice is filed. 

Jane Gardner, a nursing assistant and TMA at Guardian Angels for nearly 14 years, shared her feelings why the group voted to authorize a strike if the two sides don’t reach an agreement.

“As dedicated employees of Guardian Angels, all we are asking is for them to invest in their dedicated employees so residents can continue to get quality care. We want to feel respected and valued and we want to have a voice through our union. We become an extension of the lives of our residents through our work, and we simply want our dedication to be acknowledged. We want Guardian Angels to continue being a Five Star facility for our community. That means management actually negotiating with us in good faith to reach a contract. We voted today to authorize a strike because right now they aren’t showing us that respect.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

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Twin Ports Nursing Home Members Win Big!

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 8.28.16 AMCongratulations to the SEIU members at Twin Ports Nursing Home in Superior, Wisconsin on ratifying a new standard setting contract! The contract is a two-year agreement that reopens for wage and benefit negotiations in year 2. Details include:

  • Clarified “Failure to Report to Work/No Call/No Show” language; as well as new Health and Safety language; improved bereavement leave language; and 401(k) retirement language.
  • Wage increases listed below are retro to April 1st, 2019, and upon ratification current employees will receive at least a 2% wage increase and be placed on the experience scale.
    • All employees will receive an additional 1% increase effective October 1, 2019.
    • HK, Dietary and Laundry will have a new starting wage experience scale (up 2%) starting at $13.77 with 10 cents added to each step 1-15.
    • CNAs will have a new starting wage experience scale (up 2%) starting at $15.81 with 15 cents added to each step 1-15;
    • Activities will have a new starting wage experience scale (up 1%) starting at $15.66 with 10 cents added to each step 1-15; and
    • Cooks will have a new starting wage experience scale (up 2%) starting at $15.81 with 10 cents added to each step 1-15.
    • Current staff will be placed on the scale at the appropriate, verifiable years of experience (there will be no loss in pay rate/no placement on a step below current pay rate).
    • Any employee who is currently above the 15-year scale will get a 2% increase at ratification and another 1% increase on October 1, 2019.
  • The TA also includes “No Leapfrogging language.”
  • The TA includes shift differentials for CNAs of twenty-five cents ($0.25) for all hours worked from 2pm-10pm, and fifty cents ($0.50) for all hours worked between 10pm and 6am.
  • After one (1) year, full time employees will receive one personal holiday annually, and after five (5) years, full time employees shall receive two (2) personal holidays annually.
  • Finally, employees with one (1) or more years of service may request vacation on a regularly scheduled weekend once per year; employees with five (5) or more years of service may request vacation on a regularly scheduled weekend twice per year.
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Scholarship Opportunity for Aide or Tech Going to Nursing School

Screen Shot 2019-04-19 at 11.44.37 AMThrough the MNA Foundation the Minnesota Nurses Association has established the Mary Eliza Mahoney Scholarship, named in honor of America’s first African-American graduate nurse. This scholarship will provide financial support to a fellow union member who wants to become a nurse and a member of the MNA. This scholarship serves to recognize an outstanding union member who has begun their path to a nursing career.

The Mahoney scholar will receive $2,500 per semester of nursing school up to a total of $10,000.

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT CRITERIA

  • Must be a union member of a healthcare union in good standing.
  • Must be enrolled in an accredited nursing program and must have completed a minimum of one semester.
  • Indigenous people and people of color especially encouraged to apply.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Online Application Form (to be found on the MNA website): https://mnnurses.org/resources/mnaf/
  • Official Academic Transcript
  • An essay (maximum 2 pages) that addresses the following:
    • Describe your experience of diversity and inclusion in healthcare.
    • Why do you want to become a nurse?
    • What does being a union member mean to you?
  • 3 letters of recommendation:
    • 1 recommendation must be from your union leadership (for example: a steward, elected leader or staff person from SEIU).
    • 1 recommendation must be from an academic source, a faculty member who has taught you in class or an academic advisor.
    • 1 recommendation may be from a personal reference. This person may be a co-worker or a manager who can comment on your work ethic. This person could also be someone from your community, a religious organization, or related to volunteer work or any areas of leadership in your life.
  • Complete applications are due by June 1, 2019.
  • No incomplete or late applications will be considered.

 

If you have questions about the application process contact Linda Owens at 1-800-536-4662, ext. 122, 651-414-2822, or Linda.Owens@mnnurses.org.
If you have questions about the application requirements contact Megan Gavin at 1-800-536-4662, ext. 162, 651-414-2862, or Megan.Gavin@mnnurses.org.

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Member Involvement in SEIU Presidential Endorsement Decision

As a member of the SEIU International Executive Board, I have joined with other local leaders in advocating for a more inclusive member engagement process for national endorsement decisions. Specifically, we believe the 2020 presidential endorsement decision should be inclusive and should focus less on candidates and more on driving political support for unions and policies that support working families. I am pleased to report that I have been appointed to serve on the SEIU committee that will oversee the member engagement process for presidential endorsements. I ask for your help making this year’s endorsement process more inclusive and transparent for members than in past election cycles. Please let me know your thoughts about how we can make the process fun and transparent for all SEIU members.

As part of this process, International Union President Mary Kay Henry will host a webinar on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) to highlight multiple opportunities for members to bring issues important to our families front and center in the Presidential campaign. We will also learn more about our new Unions for All Organizing Network—a hub for SEIU members union-wide to interact and share their excitement, experiences, and thoughts with each other across our whole union. The Unions for All Organizing Network will be available in multiple languages.

Members can register for the webinar here.

While much of the attention will be on the issues and candidates competing for the Democratic Party endorsement, our Union includes thousands of self-identified conservative members as well. We plan to create an engagement process with our conservative members this year to make sure that their voices are heard and respected throughout the process. To that end SEIU Healthcare MN Vice President Corey Van Denburgh will help lead the Conservative Member engagement process at a national and local level.

We know that our union of 2 million members is unlikely to achieve perfect unity behind any decision, let alone one as big and important as a presidential endorsement, but all members deserve to be heard and respected and I am committed to using my leadership role to make that happen. Please join the webinar and email me with your ideas for making this year’s endorsement process our best yet!

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