SOLIDARITY RESOLUTION – Adopted by SEIU HCMN Executive Board on June 1, 2020
Whereas we mourn the death of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police, and
Whereas our members have joined in peaceful protests of his death as well as the pattern of police brutality against members of the black community in our state and our country, and
Whereas alongside those peaceful protests there were also significant incidents of vandalism, property damage, fires and destruction (both by those who were legitimately outraged by George Floyd’s death and those who were motivated by other impulses, including a desire, by some, to undermine the lawful expressions of protest, grief and rage in our community), and
Whereas the destruction of our grocery stores and pharmacies, the shutting down of public transportation, and many related health and environmental impacts urgently need to be addressed, and
Whereas our Union is at our best when we pull together across our state, across difference of race and gender to help our members and community in need,
Therefore, be it resolved:
SEIU HCMN Members will provide leadership, resources and staff support for our members in affected areas of our community to identify needs and to provide material support, assistance, and service for the members of our union and community in need of assistance and
Therefore be it further resolved:
SEIU HCMN will allocate $5,000 immediately to this effort and will report back any additional needs and areas for support to the Executive Board at our next meeting on June 15th.
Listen to the recording of the TeleTown Hall with Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, SEIU Healthcare MN members who work in nursing homes and UFCW members.
1st half of recording:
2nd half of recording:
Last month, SEIU members across Allina Hospitals and Clinics ratified a furlough agreement providing an opportunity for members to furlough in areas with reduced work-load for a week at a time. The furlough program allowed members to be removed from work for a week at a time in order to provide opportunities for members to apply for unemployment and the additional stimulus money provided by Congress. It was also a way to provide members a chance to take time away from work and possible exposures during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
That furlough agreement expires this weekend on Saturday, May 9th.
For the past two weeks, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota leaders have been discussing an extension of the agreement and I am pleased to report that a copy of that extension is attached with this email (click here).
The extension of the furlough agreement is different in several respects from the original version and required a membership ratification in order to be adopted. Members Wednesday, May 6th during a Tele-Town Hall meeting to accept the agreement.
Teletown hall recording (1st half)
Teletown hall recording (2nd half)
Summary of Changes:
May is “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.” Throughout the month join us in celebrating the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
We strongly condemn any and all forms of racism and discrimination against the Asian American Pacific Islander communities due to COVID-19. This virus has the potential to affect all communities, regardless of race, nationality or ethnic background. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma.
Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health asked for public comment on the return of elective procedures to Minnesota hospitals and clinics. Currently, our union represents nearly 2,000 workers who are experiencing low need or furlough as a result of the temporary halt to elective procedures. While our union wholeheartedly supports resuming surgeries for urgent and critical matters, we continue to oppose a full return of elective procedures…..for now. The key criteria for our support will be adequate supplies of PPE in all areas of the healthcare industry.
Currently, SEIU Nursing Home workers are in many places caring for residents in paper masks they were given a week ago and the gowns we are provided sometimes consist of nothing more than raincoats. We have yet to receive any PPE for home care workers, even for those caring for the clients at greatest risk of exposure. In addition, the PPE supplies on hand in our hospitals are not enough to last through a surge of COVID-19 cases. Our state has made significant progress on preparing for a surge but we are not yet ready for a full return of elective surgeries. Our whole union looks forward to returning to full surgery schedules as soon as we can do it safely.
On Friday, four unions representing Essential workers in Minnesota held a candle-light vigil at the State Capitol. After placing 1,000 candles on the steps of the Capitol to represent the healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store clerks, and meat processing professionals, representatives of each of the unions spoke about the unsafe conditions workers continue to face in Minnesota. 20% of the 5,000 current positive COVID-19 cases in Minnesota affect Essential workers like us.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Executive Vice President Lisa Weed attended the vigil and spoke on behalf of SEIU members. Her comments focused on the need for PPE, training and safety measures for nursing home workers and long-term care providers. For more news about the vigil click here.
On Friday, an emergency 15% pay increase for home care workers who are working during the pandemic passed out of the key Ways and Means Committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The bill is scheduled for a vote on the House floor this Thursday. This advancement puts us closer to winning a temporary rate increase for home care workers during the state emergency. We are hoping the companion bill will make similar progress in the state Senate this week! We will continue to provide new updates on this important legislation in the days ahead.
Last week, members at the M Health Fairview facilities voted to ratify an agreement providing benefit security and furloughs for members in lieu of layoffs. They also won backpay for the mandatory low needs issued to workers last March for the time period when Fairview abruptly cancelled shifts, March 23-April 5. The agreement covers SEIU members at Bethesda, Lakes, Riverside, Southdale, St. John’s, and St. Joseph’s Hospitals. Members also ratified furlough agreements last week with Mayo (SMH, RMH, and Albert Lea). Congratulations to the members and leaders at Mayo and M Health Fairview!
In addition, workers at Providence Place nursing home in Minneapolis reached an agreement for an additional $5 an hour in hero pay for members, on top of the $2 per hour that was already in place. Hero Pay at Providence Place is now $7 an hour!
At Villa St. Louis Park, extra shift bonuses in the isolation wing were increased by $5 an hour for nursing aides and $10 an hour for nurses picking up extra shifts.
Meanwhile, most of our hospitals and clinics continue to push back on Hero Pay proposals and have rejected any additional pay for taking care of COVID-19 patients. This week we are launching a digital petition for members to sign that will be shared with our employers! All healthcare workers deserve Hero Pay during this time of emergency. Show your solidarity with SEIU members on the front lines of the pandemic by signing our public petition for Hero Pay. Feel free to ask your family members and loved ones to sign on too. We plan to submit the petitions to our employers on Friday! Sign the petition here.
And thank you to the hundreds of members who have already contacted our U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith to push them for emergency federal funding for healthcare-worker hero pay. If you haven’t had a chance to contact them yet, you can do so here.
SEIU members who work at Mayo in Rochester voted to accept the Memorandum of Understanding to allow for temporary furloughs/reductions.
If you have any questions about the agreement, please contact a leader at your facility.