News

Our Vote is Essential

Election Day-Paid time off-01Election Day, November 3rd, is only two weeks away! All members who are able to vote early or by mail are encouraged to do so. Make sure your voice is heard in choosing the elected officials who will make key decisions about our future.

If you are scheduled to work on November 3rd and need time off to vote, remember: state law provides you with paid time off to vote! Let your supervisor or manager know as soon as possible if you will need paid time to vote and call our Member Action Center if you experience any issues being released to vote on Election Day!

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Minnesota Home Care Workers & Clients Praise Minnesota Senate Passing Emergency Rate Increase for Critical Care Work

Following rallies Saturday in the streets and Wednesday in front of the Capitol, care workers and clients one step closer to getting long-overdue COVID-19 emergency funding for this critical work 

85926Home care workers and clients with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota celebrated the Minnesota Senate joining the Minnesota House in passing the emergency wage and benefit increase in the omnibus special session bill Thursday by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. The rate increase, when signed by the Governor, will be available to help support the workers who have been on the front lines of caring for tens of thousands of Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities through over seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Home care workers, who are almost all women like me, and many of whom are women of color, have stepped up throughout this pandemic, working to keep seniors and people with disabilities living safely in their homes and with their families. We’ve put our lives on hold to ensure we are being safe for those we care for, but we haven’t gotten any support at all for this critical, life-saving work. By passing this emergency rate increase, and doing so on a strongly bipartisan basis, the Senate joins the House in taking an important step to finally showing that our elected officials value and appreciate the work we have been doing every day during this pandemic,” said Robin Pikala, a home care worker and member-leader with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota from Fridley. 

“But this temporary support during the peacetime emergency is just a stopgap. We have so much work left to do as a state to fix the care crisis that has been hurting workers and clients for many years even before the pandemic, by finally providing a living wage and real benefits and professional standards to this critical workforce,” Pikala continued. “We are looking forward to addressing those long-term challenges and injustices in the contract negotiations we’ll be starting with the state of Minnesota in just a couple weeks. But for today, with these votes, I’m glad to feel like our work, which has been praised by everyone as essential, is finally getting some real, needed support as we work on the frontlines of this pandemic.”

The Senate vote comes just days after care workers and the seniors and people with disabilities they care for shut down the road outside the Capitol to showcase the urgency of needing support for this critical work during COVID-19. A delegation also rallied outside the Capitol Wednesday when the House was in session, to make sure elected officials didn’t leave behind this essential workforce.

Because of years of underfunding, thousands of Minnesotans are currently struggling to find quality care they need. Home care workers make as little as $13.25 per hour, with few benefits despite the critical nature of their work. The temporary rate increase for home care workers that was approved by the House as part of the bonding bill, when signed into law by Governor Walz, would be a huge boost to Minnesotans all across the state.

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HERO Pay at Mayo

HERO PAY-01On Monday, Mayo Clinic announced a $1,000 HERO pay bonus for all workers including more than 3,000 SEIU members. Mayo also reversed the pay cuts that were imposed on salaried staff earlier this year and paid back the difference. SEIU celebrates this announcement of HERO pay for essential healthcare workers who have been caring for the community throughout the COVID-19 emergency. Prior to Mayo’s announcement only one other hospital – River’s Edge in St. Peter, Minnesota has provided any HERO pay to its workers. We call on all other hospitals in Minnesota to follow this lead!

In addition, our union has negotiated a mid-contract increase to the wage scale for Surgical Techs, that will be submitted to the membership for approval.

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Arbitration Win for Abbott Techs

200922_ARB WIN_SOLIDARITY FIST-01Last week, Arbitrator Lundberg, issued a decision in a long-anticipated grievance related to hours of work and the eight-hour workday. Radiology Techs for more than 30 years have had the ability to combine their two 15-minute paid breaks into a half hour in the middle of their shift. They would then work a straight eight-hour shift without a half-hour unpaid meal period. Any member who wanted the half hour unpaid meal period could have one.

Last December, Allina unilaterally changed member schedules to require the half hour unpaid meal period, but they did not consistently provide the paid breaks. This amounted to a longer work day without added compensation. On Friday the arbitrator sustained our grievance and Allina has been ordered to reinstate the old schedules as a result. The decision affects the work schedules of more than 100 Radiology Techs. Congratulations to the members on this victory!

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Brenda Hilbrich Elected Executive Vice President

BKH EVPCongratulations to Brenda Hilbrich on her election by our Executive Board to serve as Executive Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota! Brenda was unanimously elected to this officer position after the membership voted at the convention to reinstitute the fourth Executive Vice President position in our Constitution and Bylaws on Saturday. Brenda has served the local in many roles during her career including Organizer, Director and Chief of Staff. Brenda has helped hundreds of workers organize to join our union, bargained dozens of standard setting contracts, helped create our pioneering Member Action Center to improve our contract defenses, and established new leadership roles and opportunities beyond the traditional “steward” role for our members to grow in their leadership of our union. Leslie Frane, International Union Executive Vice President joined our board meeting to swear Brenda Hilbrich into her new position.

As Executive Vice President, Brenda will be leading the Allina and Twin City Hospital sectors of our union as we prepare to open contract negotiations for a new three-year contract.

Please join us in celebrating Brenda Hilbrich on her election as Executive Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota!

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Virtual Union Convention Success

On Saturday morning, our union convened our annual member convention virtually for the first time! Members joined from across Minnesota and Western Wisconsin for a few hours of celebration, discussion, debate and fellowship. Thank you to all members who joined us on Saturday! The theme for our convention this year was “Justice, Power and Unions for All!”

At our convention this year, members committed to an ambitious agenda to Win Justice, Build Power, and win Unions for All working people. Members also approved a special dues assessment in the event of an open-ended strike and approved a change to our bylaws to increase the number of officers to five. For more information about the convention or the program that was adopted please see the convention page of our website: seiuhcmn.org/convention2020

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Allina Healthcare Workers Strike Postponed After Management Threatens Novel Legal Challenge Based On The Creative Theory That Picketing By Striking Workers Would be Illegal

Healthcare Workers On Front Line of COVID-19 Vow to Continue Fight For Safe Hospitals for Workers and Patient,  New Strike Date TBD

Minneapolis & Shakopee – Just days after healthcare workers announced they overwhelmingly voted to authorize an unfair labor practice strike, Allina declared that it will take legal action regarding any picketing during the strike. In other words, Allina is now arguing that the frontline, essential healthcare workers going on strike cannot legally picket. Although the Union believes that Allina’s legal theory defies common sense and has no merit in any event, the Union is postponing the strike out of an abundance of caution.  A new strike date will be announced in the near future.

In response to the news, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley released the following statement:

“We have never seen an employer use this tactic before. It is stunning to see the lengths Allina is apparently willing to go to stop frontline healthcare workers from standing up for safe working conditions for healthcare workers who take care of Minnesota families. This would be beyond the pale during normal times, but seeing how far they are seemingly willing to go to stop healthcare workers from standing up for what is right during a global pandemic is hard to fathom,” said Gulley. “Out of an abundance of caution we are postponing this strike, but these ridiculous stall tactics are only serving to motivate these amazing healthcare workers to stand stronger for what is right for both the workers and the patients they serve.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 40,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota

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The Member Action Center (MAC) is in the process of upgrading our phone system.

The Member Action Center (MAC) is in the process of upgrading our phone system. The transition should be completed and working soon. Thank you for your patience as we work quickly to finalize the details.
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SEIU Members Tell HealthPartners, “Closing Clinics Hurts Communities!”

HealthPartners is closing 8 clinics across the state and laying off hundreds of healthcare workers in the middle of a global pandemic. The closure of the Cedar-Riverside Clinic will deeply and permanently impact one of Minnesota’s most racially diverse and lowest income neighborhoods.
On July 30, union members from SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and OPEIU Local 12, along with allies from labor and communities joined for an informational picket outside the Riverside clinic.
JOIN THE FIGHT & TAKE ACTION:
  1. Call HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh at 952-883-7605 and tell her not ro close the clinics, and stop putting people before profit.
  2. Sign the petition against the clinics closure: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdlJYySaKup0zIX_AaVosD3yBFf78jMpkvnwNiOXQ_gCr8JZA/viewform
  3. Call your elected leaders and ask them to take a stand against the closure.

 

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St. Paul Nursing Home Workers Announce 24-Hour ULP Strike for July 20th

Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota at Cerenity Humboldt Care Center in St. Paul voted to authorize a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike after months of bargaining and employer refusing to workers’ pay and benefit demands during COVID-19 pandemic

cerenity strike

 

SAINT PAUL — Healthcare workers employed by Cerenity Humboldt Care Center in St. Paul have voted to authorize a 24-hour ULP strike starting at 7 a.m. on July 20th as talks have broken down for a new contract. Despite employees working around the clock to keep residents and staff safe, management continues to push for proposals that not only don’t respect the essential work being done by workers, but actually in some cases would move people backwards.

A majority of members voted to reject the employer’s proposals and hold a 24-hour strike on July 20th starting at 7 a.m.. There are currently no bargaining dates set between now and July 20th. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents 85 healthcare workers who do work as Cooks, Housekeepers, Janitors, Nursing Assistants, Laundry Aides, Dietary Aides, and Restorative Aides.

 

The two sides bargained 7 times over six months and remain divided on key issues like:

  • Healthcare workers demand for 5.25% pay increase to respect this critical work (workers currently start under $15 per hour)

  • Protecting sick pay for healthcare workers on the front line of a pandemic (employer proposal to roll back sick pay)

  • Respecting long-term employees (union proposes workers with over 30+ years experience not having to work weekends)

  • Stopping employer plan to restrict leaves of absences

 

Rhonda Little, who has been a cook at Cerenity for over 5 years and is a member of the SEIU Healthcare MN negotiating team, shared why she voted to strike.

 

“We’ve been bargaining for six months and management just doesn’t seem to want to negotiate. During this pandemic we’ve kept COVID away from our patients and it is time our facility steps up to respect our work. We only can put up with so much. We have lost so many employees because of turnover but they don’t want to give us a fair raise and they are talking about taking away paid sick time,” said Little. “My department lost 17 people in the last year, many because our pay is some of the lowest around for our work. St. Paul minimum wage is going up towards $15 and people starting here don’t even make $15. Enough is enough. We want them to realize that we are tired of not being taken seriously. By going on strike, we are standing together and standing up for ourselves.”

 

The strike will come on a national “Strike for Black Lives” day of action that will see action in over 25 cities from the essential workers – including fast-food, hospital, airport and nursing home workers – who are putting their lives on the line every single day during a global pandemic. These workers are risking it all without being provided enough PPE, sick days or other protections, many for less than $15/hr. Workers are standing up because they have to report to work even as they watch co-workers get sick, terrified they’ll bring the virus home to their families, because they can’t miss a paycheck.

 

The day will see working people from all backgrounds — Black and white, Latino and Asian, First Nations and immigrants — coming together to demand justice and make this a place where all of us have our rights respected.

 

In Minnesota the nursing home workers will join together with airport workers at MSP who are fighting for a $15 minimum wage at MSP. The Cerenity members will hold a rally at the picket line (public sidewalk outside 514 Humboldt Ave, Saint Paul) at 10 a.m. before joining a car caravan to MSP, highlighting workers in different sectors joining together in the fight for economic and racial justice. A formal advisory with exact time and location for the two events will be sent out in the coming days.

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 40,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota

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