Members and supporters hold informational picket at Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis to highlight need for safer staffing levels, other health and safety measures
Minneapolis — Over 500 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members employed by Allina Health held an informational picket outside of Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis on Wednesday to highlight the need for safer staffing levels and other health and safety measures after drastic cuts made by Allina in recent years have led to over a thousand staffing emergencies in recent years.
“Allina has cut staff at every hospital in the last three years, but we are still working the same or more hours and it means we are constantly understaffed,” said Kalsang Dickey, a Nursing Assistant at the Mother Baby Center at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital. “Every night, I have up to 48 patients and only one of me, and it means I have less time to spend with each patient. That puts patient safety at risk when calls go unanswered for too long,” continued Dickey.
Allina defines a staffing emergency as any time in which staff work over 120 hours in a two-week pay period, and that has occurred nearly 1,200 times in the last two years, with hundreds of thousands of hours of overtime and other unplanned hours across eight hospitals.
“Allina could add hundreds of full-time positions just to fill the extra hours we’re all working,” said Dawn Akkaya, who has worked at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital for sixteen years as a Nursing Assistant and Patient Assistant Coordinator.
Workers and supporters, including members of the Minnesota Nurses Association at Allina hospitals, also informed the public about the demand by Allina executives to be able to subcontract hospital jobs and what that would mean for workers and the patients for whom they provide care.
“If Allina executives subcontract hospital jobs like Dietary and Environmental Services to the lowest bidder, I think there will be higher turnover, less training, lower standards, and all of that will harm patient care,” continued Akkaya. “We want to work with Allina to invest in our healthcare workforce, not drive a race to the bottom.”
Over 3,000 Allina hospital workers, including Nursing Assistants; Environmental Services staff; Cooks and Dietary staff; Licensed Practical Nurses; X-Ray, Surgical, and Sterile Processing Technicians; and many others are working without a new contract after their last agreement expired on March 1. Allina Health hospital workers are calling on the non-profit health system to work with them on important issues like the health and safety of patients and workers. Despite negotiating for months, Allina executives continue to demand changes that will hurt workers and make it harder to provide the outstanding care that Minnesota families deserve.
“We are committed to reaching a fair settlement on a new contract that moves forward on critical issues like workplace health and safety and opportunities for advancement,” said Pam Bundy, a Holter Monitor Tech at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital. “We hope that Allina executives will work with us on these issues and drop their demands to be able to subcontract our jobs to the lowest bidder and eliminate the 8-hour work day, which would negatively impact patient care.”
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 43,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.
Saint Paul, Minn – SEIU members praised the Minnesota Senate’s passage of the Women’s Economic Security Act Wednesday, highlighting the positive benefits for women and all working families in Minnesota. A majority of SEIU members in the state of Minnesota are women, and workers recognized this bill as an important step, highlighting work to close the gender pay gap, protect women from discrimination in the workplace, and help improve retirement security for workers across our state.
“Through my work with students and families in our public schools, I know that giving women a fair shot in the workplace can help strengthen working families in our state. I am glad to see the Minnesota Senate taking a step to address this today by passing the Women’s Economic Security Act,” said Valerie Rolstad, a member of SEIU Local 284 who lives in Fridley. “Things like equal pay, protection from discrimination, and a chance for retirement security should not be things women have to struggle to achieve.”
“Women in the healthcare field know the work we do should be treated equally, and we’ve fought through our union for many of these same measures. I am glad to see the Women’s Economic Security Bill passed to begin the process to level the playing field for women and all workers in Minnesota,” said Crissy Hanson, a Scrub Tech from Brainerd and a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “When women in Minnesota are given a fair shot, it will help to rebuild a strong middle class where all Minnesota families can succeed.”
SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, their own homes, schools, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2013
Contact: Phillip Cryan, 651-269-4821
SAINT PAUL, MN – Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota expressed confidence in new interim MNsure Chief Executive Officer, Scott Leitz.
“Scott brings valuable leadership skills to MNsure as well as extensive knowledge of MNsure and demonstrated success in management,” said Jamie Gulley, president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “He’s a good choice to help MNsure navigate the transition period.”
Leitz brings to the position more that 16 years of high-level operational experience managing large and complex programs and projects, and he led DHS’s coordination with MNsure on the enrollment of more than 700,000 people in public healthcare programs. He also has a track record of successful collaboration with consumer groups and other public organizations, and a proven commitment to ensuring that state programs truly serve the public interest.
Outgoing Director Todd-Malmlov had been the top executive at MNsure since its creation in 2011. “Minnesota has one of the best-functioning exchanges in the country, which is largely due to April’s expertise and leadership over the last two years,” said Philip Cryan, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Director Of Organizing. “But MNsure needs to do better and will benefit from new leadership and vision.”
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites 15,000 hospital, clinic, nursing home, and homecare workers in Minnesota’s acute and long term care industries. Our union is dedicated to ensuring quality, affordable healthcare for every American and improving the lives of all of Minnesota’s working families.