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Tentative Agreement Reached with HealthPartners – Strike Called Off

After another marathon session of negotiations, the Bargaining Team reached a Tentative Agreement overnight. The strike notice has been withdrawn and the strike that was to begin ‪on Wednesday has been called off. Please watch the video from the Bargaining Team for a full update. More details will be coming about the tentative agreement and the vote. Check the seiuhcmn.org/hpbargaining page for more info.

Full details will be shared with the membership for review, before the vote next week.

TA summary:
* Wage increases of 7.5% over three years, retroactive.
* Protecting the Classic health plan benefits
* Overtime pay provisions protected from all cuts and changes

Membership Town Hall Meeting:

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 6:15 PM – 7:45 PM
  • AWAKEN WEST SEVENTH: 506 View Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102
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Despite Overwhelming Strike Vote, HealthPartners Refuses to Budge on Demands For Healthcare Cuts In Multiple Sessions This Week

Union Members Begin Strike Preparation HP Barg Team 2020 (2)

(Saint Paul, MN) – Talks stalled between HealthPartners and the 1,800 employees who are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. Following a strike vote that saw 95% support for a 7-day ULP strike, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at HealthPartners returned to the table twice this week, including Friday for over 11 hours. Despite SEIU members’ willingness to reach a fair deal, HealthPartners lawyers and management refused to move off their demands to roll back healthcare coverage for the 1,800 frontline healthcare workers and their families.

The union members are now working to prepare for their 7-day ULP strike scheduled to start the morning of Wednesday, February 19th. The members will hold a sign-making session Tuesday night at Awaken West 7th Church in St. Paul, ahead of the walkout that is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning. (Formal advisory on Tuesday sign-making event to come.)

Cindy Sutherlund, a 20-year LPN at HealthPartners and member of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota bargaining team, shared the frustration members felt after management refused to budge:

“If HealthPartners doesn’t take care of their employees, how can we take care of our patients? We are the frontline caregivers who make sure our communities are healthy, but they are trying to roll back our healthcare,” said Sutherlund. “We don’t want to be forced to strike, but we know that if we go backwards on healthcare coverage now we will never get it back in the future, which will hurt employees, our families and our patients. We’re ready to strike if HealthPartners won’t take their healthcare cuts off the table.”

Nancy Wickoren, a 31-year LPN and member of the bargaining team, talked about how the Union was working to reach a deal.

“We came to bargaining this week open to make changes to get this deal done, but management are not willing to reach a fair deal. It makes me angry and sad. We want to be able to give good care and remain healthy,” said Wickoren. “I am not doing this for myself, but  for the frontline caregivers behind us. I didn’t realize how strong the younger people are in standing up for good care. I want to leave the next generation of caregivers in a place where they can continue giving world-class care for Minnesota families. We are united and ready to do whatever it takes to make sure we stand up for Minnesota families.”

The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including physicians assistants, midwives, RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, lab techs and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier. The strike vote was held on February 6th for 15 hours at five locations across the Twin Cities. The contract between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expired on January 31st.

HealthPartners executives have proposed huge cuts and cost-shifting to the health benefits caregivers have won over the years. The cost-shifting measures come after the Star Tribune reported that HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh received over $2 million in pay last year, while the company earned a record-breaking $7 billion in revenue.

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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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HealthPartners Employees Overwhelmingly Authorize 7-Day ULP Strike with 95% Support

Union files 10-day notice; strike would begin Feb. 19th if no agreement is reached

(Saint Paul, MN) – SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at HealthPartners voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a 7-day Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) strike for 1,800 members by a vote of 95% to 5%. Union members announced that a 10-day strike notice would be filed Friday and that if no agreement is reached, workers would begin their 7-day ULP strike on the morning of Wednesday, February 19th.

Kate Lynch, an LPN for 31 years at HealthPartners who is an elected Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and part of the bargaining team, announced the results outside of the HealthPartners Neuroscience clinic, backed by the bargaining team and community supporters, many holding signs saying “We’ve Earned Our Healthcare”:

“I have mixed feelings about today’s news. I am so happy to stand with my fellow union members who overwhelmingly voted to authorize this strike in our fight for what we need for ourselves and our families, and what is best for our patients. But as a 31-year employee and 9-time member of our bargaining team, after years of good relationships these negotiations felt incredibly disrespectful. I’ve been proud to work here all these years, but now it feels like they are putting profits over patients. We are making clear to HealthPartners management today the fact that we are united to win for what is right for our families and ready to get back to the table whenever they are ready to negotiate a fair contract,” said Lynch. “Over our four months of bargaining, HealthPartners has insisted on harmful cost-shifting and cuts to our benefits, while offering a measly wage increase that doesn’t keep up with inflation while HealthPartners made $7 billion in revenue last year and our CEO made over $2 million in compensation.”

Clara Boykin, a 30-year HealthPartners employee and also a member of the bargaining team, shared why she voted “Yes” to authorize a strike:

“I have always been so proud to work at HealthPartners. The health insurance we have won over the years has been so important to me and has allowed all of us to provide award-winning care. But these proposed rollbacks would change that. I voted yes to strike not for myself but for the next generation of SEIU members who deserve the quality healthcare we’ve won over the years to take care of their families,” said Boykin. “I work with so many SEIU members who I know want to build on the award-winning care we’ve always provided here at HealthPartners. But I know the great health benefits for ourselves and our families attracted many staff here and I’m afraid of losing talented caregivers if we allow these cuts to happen. We are united in protecting the healthcare benefits we’ve earned so we can get back to serving our patients. And we deserve a wage increase that honors the hard work we do every day. We are the people HealthPartners patients come through the doors every day to get care from, and we deserve to be treated with respect.”

The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, midwives, lab techs, physicians assistants, and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier. The vote was held Thursday for 15 hours at five locations across the Twin Cities.

HealthPartners executives have proposed huge cuts and cost-shifting to the health benefits caregivers have won over the years. The cost-shifting measures come after the Star Tribune reported that HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh received over $2 million in pay last year, while the company earned a record-breaking $7 billion in revenue. The contract between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expired on January 31st.

Joining the group was a local pastor and workers from other unions, including Kelsie Anderson, the Vice President of OPEIU Local 12 and 3-year HealthPartners employee. Anderson spoke about how the nearly 1,200 OPEIU members at HealthPartners are allowed and will be encouraged to honor any picket lines, a right they have won in their own union contract.

“We at OPEIU Local 12 love our caregivers and colleagues at HealthPartners. We are encouraging our members to honor the picket line and not cross.” This solidarity from OPEIU Local 12 members will bring the total number of workers not showing up for work February 19-25 at HealthPartners to over 3,000, if no agreement on a new contract is reached between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members.

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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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Gov Walz Attends SEIU Home Care Quarterly Statewide Meeting

200201_HC WalzOn Saturday, home care workers and clients gathered from around Minnesota at the SEIU Union office to strategize plans to improve our state’s long-term care system at the Capitol this year. Members told compelling stories about the need to raise pay and lift the hours cap on caregivers in the interest of those we serve.

Governor Tim Walz attended the meeting, listened to member stories and pledged to continue supporting and championing our efforts to improve the long-term care system in Minnesota. Governor Walz also mentioned that in the event of a state budget surplus, this year, he hoped to include our work in a supplemental budget bill at the capitol this year.

The Governor stayed longer than planned to make sure members and clients were able to get photos. Thank you Governor Walz for being a champion for home care workers.

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SEIU remembers long-time leader Pearlie Dean

Last week, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota union sister Pearlie Dean passed away.200204_Pearlie Dean

Pearlie was a long-time union leader at North Memorial and served on the Executive Board for over a decade. She had a magnetic presence, and brought joy to so many member’s lives while fighting tirelessly to give all members a voice.

Remembering Pearlie, former SEIU HCMN President Julie Schnell said, “Pearlie had a larger than life presence. She was passionate about the union, making sure that members’ rights were protected and the employer followed the collective bargaining agreement.  She loved life and always had a smile on her face with a great sense of humor and adventure. She was bold and her laugh contagious.”

Please take a moment to remember Pearlie and keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.

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1,800 SEIU Members at HealthPartners to Hold Strike Vote Thursday as Management Continues Push for Cuts to Healthcare for Frontline Staff

SAINT PAUL – After four months of negotiations, including a final push of five straight days of bargaining capped by a 14-hour session Friday that lasted into Saturday morning, talks between HealthPartners management and 1,800 members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota broke down as the company continues to insist on massive concessions to members’ health benefits. The current contract expired Feb. 1st. The members work at over 30 locations doing over 80 jobs including nurses, dental assistants, CMAs, nurse practitioners and midwives.

84342651_10157573841036928_5474729271010263040_oBecause of management’s continued insistence on taking away healthcare from frontline staff, the SEIU bargaining team are calling for a vote to authorize a seven-day Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) strike. The vote will be held Thursday starting at 6 a.m. across multiple locations in the Twin Cities, with results of the vote set to be announced Friday at 10am outside the HealthPartners Neuroscience Center in St. Paul. The bargaining team is unanimously recommending a “YES” vote to membership. (Note: the vote only authorizes a strike. A 10-day notice would be needed before a strike could happen.)

Kate Lynch, a 31-year Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at HealthPartners who is on the bargaining team, shared why frontline healthcare workers are so incensed by management’s proposed changes to their healthcare:

“Minnesotans are caring people. We believe that all of our families should have what we need to be healthy and happy. I am proud to be part of a group of frontline healthcare workers who spend every day caring for Minnesotans. We are voting to strike because we know if a rich healthcare corporation like HealthPartners – who made $7 billion in revenue last year – can cut our care, it will move our whole state backwards when we need to be moving forward toward affordable care for all,” said Lynch. “I’ve been a part of our bargaining team for nine contracts, and I’ve never seen HealthPartners treat us with so little respect or push for such huge cuts. For four months management has refused to move off their demand to roll back healthcare for 1,800 caregivers and our families. We are united and ready to fight for the healthcare that Minnesota families deserve.”

Clara Boykin is a 30-year lab tech at HealthPartners and member of the bargaining team:

“At a time when millions of Americans are struggling with skyrocketing healthcare costs, HealthPartners should be working to help make sure more people have quality, affordable healthcare, not attempting to weaken the coverage their frontline employees have won over the years. SEIU members are united in fighting for what is right, and I’m confident we will do whatever it takes to show management that we won’t accept sending nearlty 2,000 Minnesotans and their families towards a more uncertain future, said Boykin. “I’m voting to strike to show HealthPartners executives that we are serious when we say “Hands Off Our Healthcare!”

Phillip Cryan, Executive Vice President of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, laid out why these cuts are so outrageous and why members now will be voting to strike to stand up for what is right:

“There is no reason a $7 billion organization that gives its CEO an $800,000 pay-raise should be taking one dime out of the pockets of its frontline caregivers to pad the corporate bottom line. HealthPartners members in Minnesota are fighting for everyone’s right to great healthcare. When health workers have to potentially go on strike to guarantee access to quality health care, you know our healthcare system is broken.”

SEIU members are ready to continue bargaining, but no dates are currently scheduled.

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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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Job Posting: Internal Organizer (Jan 2020)

Job Posting: SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Internal Organizer (2)

OVERALL JOB STATEMENT

Internal Organizer at SEIU Healthcare Minnesota carries out a variety of job functions.  An Internal Organizer “IO” will be asked to participate in organizing, legislative and political action, training of members, building worksite leaders, contract negotiations, and other tasks as the need arises.  Any candidate must be willing to work long and irregular hours including weekends and evenings when called for.  The IO must also be willing to travel with some possible overnight stays.

The Union IO shall be required to perform services in accordance with the needs of the Local and at such times and places as are necessary.  The Union IO must have a dedication to improve the position of our members and strengthen the role of our Union in every venture.  There must be a willingness to become educated in health care issues, and a desire to lead and inspire our member leaders and rank and file.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Continuous work on internal organizing within facilities.
  • Identify, recruit, train and develop member leaders; assist in defining member leader roles (New Member, Work Site, Political, Grievance); assist in developing plans for work-site campaigns.
  • Create and implement an onsite visit schedule to be posted on the internal shared calendar
  • Support the member leaders in developing a process for new member orientation
  • Develop a program for COPE
  • Support member leaders in processing grievances and carrying out investigations.
  • Create or assist members in creating communication systems; write and edit leaflets, proposals, newsletters, etc.
  • Negotiate contracts and assist other staff in negotiating contracts – from proposals through strike preparation.
  • Train Member leaders to ensure accordance of collective bargaining agreements at your work-sites by management; meeting timelines and procedures related to labor contracts.
  • Participate in organizing campaigns when requested, lead residual organizing campaigns in existing jurisdictions.
  • Monitor policies in work sites, concerning members, ensuring contract compliance.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED

  • High School Diploma or GED, Secondary Education preferred.
  • Previous work experience in Union setting required.
  • Ability to communicate well in writing and orally.
  • Good personal organizational skills; good record keeping.
  • Must be computer literate; advanced computer skills a plus.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license and vehicle in good working condition.  Must have proof of auto insurance.

SKILLS NEEDED

  • Knowledge of labor rights and contract language.
  • Ability to negotiate collective bargaining agreements and develop and execute contract campaign plans.
  • Ability to gather, analyze and present statistical data.
  • Ability to establish rapport with members in widely diversified ethnic, social and economic groups.
  • Ability to mobilize membership around issues.
  • Ability to maintain a commitment to educating the members on the Union and their contract.

BEHAVIORAL QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED

  • Good judgment and ability to discern priorities when faced with many important tasks.
  • Ability to handle very negative situations where in fact, you may be the target of the negativity; and turn the situation around to have the best outcome.
  • Manage conflicting demands.
  • Maintain rapport with members.
  • Show extreme amounts of patience.
  • Reassure members, by your actions, that you are for them and will not take management’s word over theirs or “favor” management.
  • Work under pressure independently.
  • Maintain HIGH degree of confidentiality, both for your members and internal Local issues.
  • Show professional demeanor at work-sites and in the community.
  • Maintain respectful, professional relationship with Union member leaders; monitoring and supporting them in their roles.
  • History of high level of proven leadership.

Candidate will be assigned to meet the needs of SEIU Healthcare and management may alter assignment as those needs change.

Compensation and benefits as set forth in contract with USW Local 7263-21 for “Union Representative and Organizer.”

Qualified Applicants may send resume and cover letter to Brenda.hilbrich@seiuhcmn.org or fax to 651-294-8200.

 

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Nursing Assistants at TCH Hospitals Demand a 5% Wage Increase

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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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Frequently Asked Questions for Fiscal Intermediaries

Click here to download a PDF of this FAQ.

 

General Questions/Definitions

 

Union Neutrality

 

Orientation

 

Paid Time Off (PTO)

 

Wages and Payroll

 

Data Tracking

 

Union Membership

 

Voluntary Dues

 

Participant Rights

 

CDCS/CSG

 


 

General Questions/Definitions

What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)?

Collective bargaining is a process where workers, after voting to join together in a labor union, negotiate an agreement with their employer over the terms and conditions of their employment. Home care workers who are represented by SEIU Healthcare MN have negotiated with the State of Minnesota over the parts of their work that the State controls — specifically pay, benefits and training opportunities. The collective bargaining agreement that was reached between the State of MN and the workers represented by SEIU Healthcare MN was ratified by the members of the union, approved and funded by the legislature, and signed by the Governor. A CBA is also sometimes referred to as a “contract” or a “labor agreement.” It is a legal document binding both parties (in this case, the state of MN and SEIU Healthcare MN). You can find the current CBA here.

 

Which workers are represented by SEIU Healthcare MN and covered by the new CBA? What is an Individual Provider?

The workers represented by the union and covered by the CBA are those in the Bargaining Unit as defined in state law. In the CBA these workers are referred to as Independent Providers (IPs), because that is the term in state law defining all workers in the Bargaining Unit.

Workers Who ARE in the bargaining unit: PCAs and support workers providing State-funded personal assistance services where the participant is the employer, through the following programs:

    • PCA Choice
    • Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS)
    • Consumer Support Grant (CSG)
    • Community First Services and Supports (CFSS) Budget Model (in development)

Workers Who Are NOT in the bargaining unit: PCAs and support workers who provide State-funded, agency-employed personal assistance services through Traditional PCA or any other agency-controlled program, and PCAs and support workers who provide services that are not funded through the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program.

 

What if a PCA participant chose some of their workers and other workers were recruited by the PCA Choice agency?

Workers who are included in the bargaining unit are defined by the program used by the participant they serve. If a participant has chosen PCA Choice, for example, all of the workers who work for that participant are in the bargaining unit.

 

What does it mean to be represented by the union and covered by the CBA?

The home care workers in the collective bargaining unit voted in August 2014 to authorize SEIU Healthcare Minnesota as their exclusive bargaining representative. This means that the union, which is led by its members, represents these workers in negotiations with the State of Minnesota. All workers in the bargaining unit are entitled to representation and to the benefits negotiated by the union.

 

What is a Fiscal Intermediary?

The Fiscal Intermediary (FI) is the Financial Management Service provider (FMS) or PCA Choice Provider Agency that provides support to participants and participants’ representatives with regard to employing Individual Providers. FIs include PCA Choice Provider Agencies and Financial Management Service Providers who serve CDCS and CSG participants.

 

Will each Fiscal Intermediary be required to sign an agreement with the union?

No. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is between the State of Minnesota and the workers represented by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

 

What happens if home care workers go on strike?

Home care workers are not allowed to go on strike. The law specifically prohibits strikes for this group of workers.

 

Union Neutrality

Can I share my thoughts about the union with home care workers? – or – Can I encourage workers to sign up for the union (or not join the union)?

No. PCA Choice Agencies and FMS Providers are required to remain neutral on the question of whether or not workers should join the union. That is something for the workers themselves to decide, without interference by the state or their Agency or FMS. If a home care worker wants more information about joining the union, they can simply be directed to SEIU Healthcare MN at www.seiuhealthcaremn.org, or 855-282-3769.

 

Orientation

A communication we received from DHS said that we needed to distribute SEIU membership applications and orientation materials to new workers. When will we get those materials?

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota will make membership applications and orientation materials available to all PCA Choice Agencies and FMS Providers on an ongoing basis.  They can be downloaded directly from our web site at: http://www.seiuhealthcaremn.org/files/2019/11/190701_Home-Care_3rd_FI-Welcome-Digital-Copy-compressed.pdf

 

Paid Time Off (PTO)

How should we calculate Paid Time Off?

IPs earn one hour of PTO for every 40 hours they work. So, for each pay period the FI should take the total number of hours an IP worked for a participant in PCA Choice, CDCS or CSG and divide that number by 40 to determine the total amount of PTO earned for that pay period.

 

How many hours does an IP have to work before they can start using their PTO? Can they use it as soon as they earn it?

IPs started earning PTO on July 1, 2015, when our first union contract went into effect. They must have worked a total of 600 hours or 6 months, whichever comes first, in covered programs before they can start using their accrued PTO. Hours worked before July 1, 2015 do not count toward those 600 hours.

 

I heard there is now an option to waive PTO in CDCS and CSG. How does that work?

Note: this option does not apply to IPs working in the PCA Choice program.

For IPs in budget-model programs (CDCS, CSG, or CFSS), as of July 1, 2019 there is now an annual option for workers to waive their right to accrue PTO. FMS Providers must receive a written request from the IP and the agreement of the client (or their responsible party) before pausing PTO accruals for that IP. Once processed, the client being served will be able to decide how to use the waived PTO funds. Each IP in CDCS and CSG will be given the option to either waive or accrue PTO at each renewal of the client’s service year.

 

Who approves time-off requests?

The CBA states that IPs “must obtain the express consent of their participant/client in order to use PTO.” This means that workers cannot take their PTO without the permission of the participant they work for.

 

What happens to PTO hours IPs accumulate but don’t use?

Workers can carry over up to 80 hours of unused PTO from one year to the next.

 

What happens to unused PTO if an IP stops working for participants served by our FI?

When a worker stops all work through a PCA Choice Agency or FMS, that Agency or FMS must cash out the unused PTO the worker has earned, up to 80 hours.

 

Wages and Payroll

What are the minimum hourly wage rates?

As of July 1, 2019, workers must be paid at least $13.25 per hour.

 

How are PCA Choice agencies supposed to pay more from the same rate?

The workers represented by the Union win  reimbursement rate increases for all PCA services in order to fund their contract increases.

Reimbursement rates increased by 2.37% on July 1, 2019 to fund wage and PTO increases as part of our 3rd contract.

Reimbursement rates increased by 1.642% on August 1, 2017 to fund a wage increase, PTO increase and holiday pay as part of our second contract.

 

How can CDCDS or CSG participants afford to pay workers more and give PTO?

A budget increase will accompany all increases to the wage floor and benefits, and any remaining funds can be used for other services and supports. The goal of our Union’s contract efforts is to create better wages and benefits in Home Care, but never at the expense of participant self-direction or care.

Budgets in CDCS and CSG increased by 2.37% on July 1, 2019 to cover the cost of wage and PTO increases. If contract minimums are met, any remaining funds can be used for other services and supports chosen by the participant.

Budgets in CDCS and CSG increased by 1.642% on August 1, 2017 to cover the cost of increased wages, increased PTO and holiday pay. If contract minimums are met, any remaining funds can be used for other services and supports chosen by the participant.

 

Do PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs need to change their pay period schedule in order to comply with the CBA?

No. PCA Choice Agencies and FMS Providers may continue to follow their own consistent, established payroll schedule.

 

Who sets wages in the PCA Choice program?

Wages are set by the participant employer. Wages must be set at or above the minimum wage set in the CBA.

 

What are the requirements for payment of overtime hours?

Policies regarding number of overtime hours worked by IPs are set by Choice Agencies and FMS Providers. However, any hours worked beyond 40 in a 7-day week must be paid the overtime rate of 1.5x the worker’s regular hourly wage. The regular hourly wage must not be less than $13.25.

 

Data Tracking

What information will we be required to provide to SEIU Healthcare Minnesota?

PCA Choice Agencies and FMS Providers must provide information to the Union in order for the State to meet its obligations under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A full list of current requirements can be found in Article 15** of the active CBA: http://www.seiuhealthcaremn.org/files/2019/06/190531_Home-Care-3rd-Contract-Booklet.pdf

Among other requirements, Article 13**, Section 2 of the CBA states: “The State shall require the Fiscal Intermediaries who provide PCA Choice, CSG, CFSS, and CDCS services [PCA Choice Agencies and FMS Providers] to provide to the Union on a pay period basis, in a sortable electronic format, the following information on Individual Providers [home care workers in PCA Choice, CFSS, CDCS and CSG]:

  1. full name, with separate fields for first and last names;
  2. full home address, with separate fields for address, city, state, and zip code;
  3. telephone number
  4. Unique Individual Provider ID number;
  5. hours paid in the previous pay period;
  6. hourly wage rate (or rates, if providing services to multiple recipients);
  7. gross pay in the previous pay period;
  8. Fiscal Intermediary name and mailing address;
  9. PTO account balance;
  10. amount of dues deducted in previous pay period; and
  11. any other Individual Provider information in accordance with state law.”

** NOTE: Article 15, item B of the CBA mistakenly directs FIs to Article 14, Section 2.

 

Will we be asked to send the Union private information about clients/participants?

No. Information about program participants is protected by law.

 

What if a worker turns in several pay periods worth of time sheets all at once? How should I record that on the spreadsheet?

All hours that are paid during a pay period should be reported, even if they are for work performed in a previous pay period (for instance, because the worker turned in their time-sheet late). If this is the case, it is very helpful for the Fiscal Intermediary to include a note on the spreadsheet to clarify that hours entered on the sheet were worked over multiple pay periods. This will avoid the illusion of unpaid overtime for the worker.

 

What if a worker works for more than one participant through our PCA Choice Agency or FSE and each participant pays a different wage?

You should fill out separate rows for each different wage rate the worker earned during the pay period.

 

We have a PCA who works for one participant on PCA Choice and another participant on Traditional PCA. How do we track that PCA’s hours?

Only hours worked for participants on PCA Choice, CFSS, CDCS and CSG should be tracked on the spreadsheet.

 

Union Membership

Are all workers represented by the union and covered by the CBA automatically members of the union?

No. All workers who are in the bargaining unit represented by SEIU Healthcare MN decide for themselves whether to become members of the union..

 

How do workers become members of the union?

To become a union member a worker signs a membership card or otherwise formally communicates (e.g. by signing an online membership form) their desire to become a member of SEIU Healthcare MN.

What if an IP doesn’t want to be in the union?

Each IP can choose whether or not to become a member of the union.

 

Voluntary Dues

How much are union dues?

Dues rates are set by, and can be changed by, a vote of the union’s members. Union members have voted to set a Home Care dues rate of 3% of gross wages.

 

How will we know which workers have joined the union and agreed to pay dues?

PCA Choice Agencies and FMS Providers will receive a list of union members who have authorized dues deduction from SEIU Healthcare MN, as stated in Article 13 Section 2 of the CBA.

 

What is the process for collecting and submitting dues?

PCA Choice Agencies and FMS Providers will simply deduct 3% of the gross wage from each union member’s pay, and remit the total amount of dues for the pay period to SEIU Healthcare MN by check or transfer.  

 

A worker told me they don’t want to pay dues any more. Can I stop collecting dues?

If a home care worker wants to cancel their union membership they must contact SEIU Healthcare MN directly to withdraw their membership. Dues must be collected from all members included on the list received from the Union, unless the Union informs the PCA Choice Agency or FMS Provider of a change.

 

Participant Rights

Can a participant choose to only hire workers who join the union? OR: What if a participant doesn’t want their workers to be members of the union; can they choose to only hire workers who aren’t members of the union?

Workers have the right to choose whether or not they become members of their union. Participants in PCA Choice, CFSS, CDCS and CSG have the right to choose who they hire.

 

Will participants get in trouble if they need to terminate or cut the hours of their home care worker? Will workers be able to file a grievance against participants if they are unhappy?

No. Both the law and the union contract say that no agreement between the state and the workers in the union shall interfere with the rights of participants or participants’ representatives to select, hire, direct, supervise and terminate the employment of their home care workers. Participant employers are still required to follow general employment laws, but the CBA changes nothing about those requirements.

 

CDCS/CSG

How can participants pay workers more and give PTO if their budget stays the same?

The workers represented by the Union win budget rate increases in order to fund their contract increases. A budget increase will accompany all increases to the wage floor and benefits, and any remaining funds can be used for other services and supports. The goal of our Union’s contract efforts is to create better wages and benefits in Home Care, but never at the expense of participant self-direction or care.

Budgets in CDCS and CSG increased by 2.37% on July 1, 2019 to cover the cost of wage and PTO increases. If contract minimums are met, any remaining funds can be used for other services and supports chosen by the participant.

Budgets in CDCS and CSG increased by 1.642% on August 1, 2017 to cover the cost of increased wages, increased PTO and holiday pay. If contract minimums are met, any remaining funds can be used for other services and supports chosen by the participant.

 

How does this CBA change a CDCS or CSG participant’s ability to set wages for my support workers?

Participants still have the right to set wages as long as they are set at or above the wage floor. A budget increase will accompany any increases to the wage floor and benefits, and any remaining funds can be used for other services and supports. The goal of our Union’s contract efforts is to create better wages and benefits in Home Care, but never at the expense of participant self-direction or care.

 

 

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