Grand Marais Members Reach Impasse

Last Thursday, the bargaining team at Cook County NorthShore Hospital and Health Center failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. Members will vote this week on management’s last offer. The bargaining team is recommending that members vote to reject the proposal and move to binding arbitration on the open issues. The open issues include: wage increases, extra shift bonuses, and call back pay, for members called back to work after their shift ends.

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Tentative Agreement Reached at Maplewood Good Samaritan

Congratulations to the SEIU members and bargaining team at Maplewood Good Samaritan nursing home on reaching a tentative agreement for a new contract! Members will have the opportunity to vote on the agreement later this week. Details include:

  • A 3-year contract with no openers, providing a 2% increase to wages and the hiring grid on March 1 of each year!
  • Changing the paid New Member Union Orientation time from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
  • Evening and night shift differential increases to $1.25.
  • Upgraded to new PTO system, with a new PTO accrual schedule which is faster and more PTO.
  • Eligible Employees can arrange to cash out PTO (once per year) up to 40-80 hours, subject to IRS rules and regulations.
  • New Military leave language includes the Employer paying the difference between the military earnings and the employees current pay rate for up to 5 years of leave.
  • New Bereavement leave called Compassionate Leave, including 3-5 days paid by the Employer.
  • New 401K plan including Employer 100% match up to Employee 4% contribution and 50% Employer match for Employee 5%-6% contribution.
  • This contract expires Feb 28, 2024.
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Twin City Hospital Employer Group Contract Extended

Respect_Protect_Pay (v4)-01Last week, the bargaining team for the Twin City Hospital multi-employer contract (including Fairview Riverside, Southdale, St. John’s, Children’s Minneapolis and St. Paul, North Memorial and Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital) made additional progress on non-economic items. The Union team also provided our economic proposals to management for the first time (after 6 days of work on non-economic issues). The Union team continues to make steady progress but needed more time beyond contract expiration to keep bargaining. As a result the parties agreed to extend the contract for another month through the end of March. For more details click here.

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Allina Hospital Negotiations Remain Stalled

While the Twin City Hospitals continue to make steady progress, Allina Health has distinguished itself apart this year. Allina has been going out of its way to be difficult and their management team has attempted to dictate everything, rather than working with the members on our committee. They refused to start after the New Year like the other hospitals. Then they would only agree to 5 bargaining dates which is less than the National Labor Relations Board expects from parties in a normal year, let alone a year when we are dealing with essential workers in a pandemic. Rather than work with us on issues of respect, health and safety, workplace violence, Hero Pay and improved wages, Allina has focused on pushing for concessions from our members.

  • They have proposed to:
    • Delete the 8 hour shift standard, so that they can schedule whatever they want without restrictions, 2 hours, 6 hours or 12 hours.
    • Cut our PTO accrual down by 40 hours.
    • Eliminate scheduling guarantee language that requires cooperation when they want to expand hours/days of work for traditionally 5-day departments.
    • Limit our ability to transfer to other jobs.
    • The right to increase co-pays and deductibles for the SEIU Allina First insurance plan mid-contract.
    • And more.

Allina has agreed to no Union proposals, has not dropped any of their concessions and left bargaining early on Thursday. Allina has so far refused our proposal to extend the contract to keep working to find areas of common ground. We bargain again on Thursday this week and will hold a member Tele-Town Hall meeting later this week to share what progress, if any, is made.

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Hospital Negotiations Continue

  • Twin City Hospitals Bargaining Updates_solidarity fist-01

Last week, the bargaining committee from the Twin City Hospitals (Fairview: Southdale, Riverside and St. John’s Hospitals, PN Methodist, North Memorial and Children’s) made progress on a number of Union priorities including significant progress on new Health and Safety language around workplace violence. We also made significant progress on language around racial justice, equity and inclusion. While we have a long way to go, we appreciate the positive engagement around the issues important to our members. This week the parties will begin working on economic items as well. We encourage all members in the Twin City Hospitals to stand behind your bargaining committee as they work to bargain the best agreement possible. For updates and copies of proposals from the Union and Twin City Hospital group please check the website here.

  • Allina Hospitals

The Allina Hospital bargaining team also met with management last week. Unfortunately, Allina management has taken a more confrontational tone in bargaining this year than they have in the past. Hospitals around the state have been working cooperatively with our members to achieve positive agreements on health and safety, workplace violence, racial justice, equity and inclusion. We have not made any progress to date on these items with Allina. So far management has been focused on advancing proposals that would move our contract backward. We hope and will try our best to change the dynamic at the table with Allina this week. The Techs from St. Francis Hospital will bargain again with Allina on Tuesday and the Master Contract Hospitals will bargain on Thursday. We encourage all members in the Allina Hospitals to stand behind your bargaining committee as they work to negotiate the best agreement possible. For updates and copies of proposals from Allina Master contract negotiations please check the website here.

  • Mayo St. Marys

Last week, the Union bargaining team spent two days preparing for negotiations with Mayo Clinic management. The team hopes to finalize proposals by the end of next week as we prepare for bargaining to kick off in March. The team includes a mix of veteran negotiators and new members to the team who are excited and eager to start bargaining for a new contract.

  • Cook County NorthShore Hospital and Health Center

This week on Thursday, the Union bargaining team will meet again with management at Cook County Northshore Hospital and Health Center in Grand Marais. We will have the assistance of a state appointed mediator for this final day of scheduled negotiations.

As a public sector facility covered by the Minnesota Charitable Hospitals Act, the members do not have the right to strike but can submit areas of disagreement to binding arbitration. We are hopeful for progress this week, but the members have empowered the committee to submit the remaining issues to arbitration if we fail to reach a favorable settlement. We will report back more next week.

  • More Negotiations to Come

SEIU Members at hospitals in Albert Lea and Cloquet, Minnesota will soon begin preparations for their next round of contract negotiations. In addition, the members at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Brainerd will open negotiations for the third-year wage increase to their contract. Members should look for bargaining surveys and bargaining committee nominations in the weeks ahead.

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Healthcare Services Group Members Win Raises and New Contract!

The SEIU members working for Healthcare Services Group under the Master Contract at nursing homes in Excelsior, Fridley, St. Louis Park, Roseville, Rochester East and Whitewater reached a Tentative Agreement on a new contract last week. The TA includes significant raises of up to 7% for those on the wage scale and 3% for workers at the top of the scale. The Tentative Agreement is subject to ratification by the membership and if approved, the off-scale raises will take effect on March 1, 2021.

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Tragedy at Allina Buffalo Clinic

Last week, there was a tragic mass-shooting at the Allina Crossroads Clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota. The clinic is located about a mile from the hospital which is represented by our Union. Our hearts go out to the workers and families who were impacted by the senseless violence. Hundreds of SEIU members live and work in the Buffalo community and we have heard from many who have been personally and emotionally impacted by what happened.

I want to thank and appreciate all the first responders as well as the care teams at North Memorial and HCMC who cared for the victims. Please take a moment of silence today to remember and honor Lindsay Overbay, the healthcare worker who died from the shooting.

If you or anyone you know needs help or someone to talk to, please reach out for EAP services through your Human Resources department or reach out to the SEIU Member Action Center for referrals.

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SEIU Member Forum: Answering questions about COVID-19 vaccines

Screen Shot 2021-02-02 at 1.40.53 PMAt this pivotal moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about vaccination abound. To help ease concerns and guide the way, SEIU is offering informational webinars that feature a doctor from the University of California San Francisco to help answer questions about the vaccine.

Register for any of these sessions using this link.

  • Monday, February 8: 7 pm Central
  • Tuesday, February 9: Noon Central
  • Wednesday, February 10: 5 pm Central
  • Wednesday, February 17: 7 pm Central
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Union Home Care Workers Reach and Surpass $15 Minimum Wage in Tentative Agreement For Contract With State of Minnesota

SAINT PAUL — Home care workers and clients with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) with the State of Minnesota early Saturday morning, after more than 18 hours of bargaining, for their fourth union contract, including winning a $15.25 minimum wage for all home care workers in the second year of the two-year contract that would begin in July of 2021.

LaTanya Hughes is a home care worker in Minneapolis, Vice President of the Union and mother of two children who rely on care services. As a member of the bargaining team, she shared what these steps would mean for thousands of caregivers across the state:

IMG_0476“By raising wages it feels like our state is finally starting to recognize the importance of this job, done mostly by women and women of color, and getting closer to paying us the living wage this work deserves. Higher pay for this critical work is long overdue so caregivers won’t have to work so many hours just to survive,” said Hughes. “Not having to spread myself so thin would mean I can give better care to my clients instead of having to take on more and more clients just to pay the bills. This wage increase would not just help me as a home care worker, but also allow me to be able to find home care workers to help care for my two daughters who require care. I am incredibly proud of our bargaining team working so hard to get this tentative agreement. I also appreciate that Governor Walz has taken the time over the last two years to learn about home care workers and the struggles we are facing and thank him for following through on his commitment to lifting up the value of our work caring for seniors and people with disabilities.”

The full details of the tentative agreement, which covers over 20,000 home care workers across the state, are currently being shared with members who will have a chance to vote on its approval in the coming weeks, but highlights include:

  • Minimum wage increased from $13.25 to $14.40 in October 2021 and to $15.25 in July 2022, a 15% increase

  • More Paid Time Off: accrual rate improved from 1 hour per 40 hours worked to 1 hour per 30 hours worked

  • Two new floating holidays paid at time-and-a-half each year, allowing home care workers to receive extra pay when their clients need care on religious holidays for the first time, and bringing the total time-and-a-half holidays in the union contract each year to 7

  • Added funding to provide trainings and $500 stipends for home care workers who complete a set of training courses to enhance the quality of care they provide to seniors and people with disabilities

  • A commitment to work together to research future options for further professionalization of the Minnesota home care workforce in the future, such as establishing a higher wage for long-time/experienced home care workers and providing better orientation to new home care workers

Dawn Burnfin, a home care worker on the bargaining team from Chisholm on the Iron Range, shared her feelings about the tentative agreement as someone who does this critical work:

“This contract gets us closer to the living wage that every home care worker – no matter where we live or what we look like – should have for doing this important work. This wage increase will mean material improvements for both the people who get the care and those of us who do this hard work every day. Lifting up this work is a win-win for both us and the state, helping to recognize this important work and also keeping people in their homes instead of expensive institutions. That was always the right thing to do, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it has become even clearer how essential it is for people to have that option to remain in their homes and communities,” said Burnfin. “I also am excited we won two floating paid holidays, allowing us to get time-and-a-half whether it is a family event or a specific religious holiday. I’m proud we fought for and won a benefit that recognizes the diversity of our membership and allows everyone to recognize whatever religious observance or other day is most important to them.”

“Every one of us will need care for ourselves or for a loved one at some point in our lives, and when that time comes we want every Minnesotan to be able to have a professional workforce that keeps them safe and healthy,” Burnfin continued. “We’re excited to reach this agreement and look forward to working with our legislators from both parties in ratifying this contract.”

If the Tentative Agreement gets ratified by Union members, it will then go to the legislature for their approval and funding. The final step would be having it signed by Governor Walz and go into effect July 1st, 2021, with some of its economic provisions taking effect on October 1st. The negotiations took place in the months preceding budget negotiations in order to ensure that legislators have the opportunity to review the terms of the proposed agreement and vote on whether to ratify it.

Lauren Thompson, a client from Champlin who was on the bargaining team, shared the importance of this contract for people who rely on home care services to live their lives:

“Our history of paying home care workers poverty wages has meant that we’ve treated people with disabilities poorly and it means not valuing our lives. By raising wages for home care workers to something closer to a true living wage, we are helping to improve the quality of life for clients like me who rely on home care workers to live our lives. This contract is a step towards showing that Minnesota values the independence of seniors and people with disabilities,” said Thompson. “The decisions our state makes through things like our budget and this contract determine whether we recognize and respect people with disabilities and our caregivers. I am glad that our bargaining team reached a deal that moves us forward and will help thousands of families. Now I look forward to the legislature ratifying and funding this contract.”

The bargaining team — made up of home care workers, clients and family caregivers — negotiated with the state over four months to reach this agreement. Even before COVID, thousands of families across Minnesota were struggling with a care crisis causing seniors and people with disabilities not being able to find workers to provide the care that they need to stay safely in their homes.


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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Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King

MLK poster 1Each year in January we work to educate all members of our Union on the special importance of Martin Luther King to our union and the labor movement. Martin Luther King fought for the rights and dignity of all people and he also made a special effort to improve the lives of healthcare workers.

During the Civil Rights era hospital and healthcare workers were left out of the labor laws. Our work was not considered “real work” by the politicians in congress. The King family campaigned for years to ensure that hospital workers won the same right to form a union as other workers. After Dr. King’s death Coretta Scott King served as the national chairwoman of the hospital workers organizing committee, which worked to change the laws in 1976 to cover hospital and healthcare workers. Without the advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King hospital work would probably still not be considered “real work” and would be known as a low paying industry with no rights under the law, even for overtime pay. We encourage all members to take time this week to remember the King family and the impact they had on our families and to volunteer, give back or contribute to your community in remembrance this week.

We also want to recognize the members who get paid time and a half for MLK Day and encourage all members who have not yet won the holiday to organize for this important contract standard at your next negotiations.

The legacy of Dr. King is alive and his work still unfinished on many fronts. Let us take this moment to reflect on our roles in continuing the struggle for justice in our day-to-day lives. Let us remind ourselves to never become complacent or defeated in the face of destruction, racism, sexism and all other forms of oppression – but to always stand together in solidarity and to always ‘give ourselves to the struggle’ – and win!

190121_MLK legacy posterBelow is a link to one of the final speeches of his life, to the members of our sister local SEIU 1199 in New York. There is also a timeline poster of Dr. King and his legacy that members are encouraged to print and post on the union bulletin boards at your workplace.

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