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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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“Stop Rx Greed!”: Take Action at the Capitol Wednesday Morning

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 8.58.09 AMOn Wednesday, April 24 from 10-11am, we will be joining Insulin for All (led by our own member James Holt, Jr. and his wife Nicole, who suffered the tragic death of their son Alec from trying to ration his own insulin), AARP, and several other partner organizations to take action at the Capitol. We will be demanding that lawmakers take action to rein in the out-of-control rise in prescription drug costs, and that they ensure emergency access to life-saving drugs like insulin. Come join us! You can RSVP here.

Also, if you or a loved one have struggled to afford prescription drugs, we want to hear your story so we can share it with lawmakers, along with the stories of hundreds of other Minnesotans. Please email Executive Vice President Phillip Cryan at phillip.cryan@seiuhcmn.org to let him know you have a story to share.

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Stillwater Medical Group Members Hold Info Picket to Fight for a Fair Contract

On Monday, April 15th, 2019, SEIU members at Stillwater Medical Group rallied together over the lunch hour for an informational picket! The SEIU members at SMG organized their union last summer, and have been fighting for their first union contract since. Meanwhile, SMG, which is owned by HealthPartners has been dragging their feet at the bargaining table. Currently, more than 25% of the jobs at SMG are vacant, due to their low wages and unfavorable working conditions that result from chronic short staffing.

The picket line was well attended, with union supporters from across the East Metro region joining SMG members on the picket line. Stay tuned for what happens next, as SEIU members at SMG prepare full page ads in the Stillwater newspaper to highlight their campaign for a contract that treats workers right and makes sure that HealthPartners patients in the East Metro get the high-quality care the deserve.

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Minnesotans with Disabilities Fight Barriers to Inclusion Unfilled Promises

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Changes to Nursing Home Reimbursement In Gov. Walz’s Budget Raise Questions For Nursing Home Workers

SAINT PAUL—In response to the budget released today by Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan that proposes cuts for some Minnesota nursing homes, St. Charles nursing home worker and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota member Jeanne Schulz released the following statement.

 

MN Capitol Dome“Minnesotans are caring and compassionate. We believe that our family, friends and neighbors living in nursing homes like the one where I work — no matter their race, income or zip code — should be able to have what they need to live full and happy lives. Seeing a proposed cut for nursing homes in the budget, without clarity on who that cut will effect, is worrisome to those of us who do this critical work every day.

 

“We understand that the proposal says cuts would be focused on reining in ballooning costs for out-of-state management and executives, and we share a strong concern about the wave of acquisitions of Minnesota nursing homes by out-of-state companies in recent months and the impact those changes have had on nursing residents and workers. But we know that the line-item being targeted for cuts, called “other operating costs,” includes many hard-working frontline staff, not just management and administration. Members like me whose main job is to cook the food, clean the building, take out the trash, or work in the laundry are considered “other operating costs” simply because we are not doing the direct resident care a nursing assistant or nurse performs. And many of us are already making $3-$5/hour less than our nursing-assistant coworkers because the reimbursement reform passed by state lawmakers in 2015 focused only on the workers involved in direct care.

 

“We made important progress in 2015 by increasing nursing home funding all across Minnesota, but we still have a ways to go to make sure every nursing home is a world-class facility for residents and staff. A good reimbursement system needs to invest in workers, not out-of-state administrators. As this proposal moves forward we hope to get some important questions answered, to make sure the state is cutting out real waste and unnecessary expenses, not taking from the front-line employees who keep our buildings clean and our seniors fed. The lives of thousands of Minnesotans across our state depend on it.”

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The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their efforts to organize unorganized workers in critical sectors of our economy, improve wages, hours and working conditions, and build political and legislative power for all workers and their families.  The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, SEIU members and staff of the various SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota, and that board, with the active participation and input of our broader membership, determines our endorsements.

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