Brenda Hilbrich Elected Executive Vice President

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

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

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

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Virtual Union Convention Success

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

cerenity strike


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

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


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

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

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

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

  • Stopping employer plan to restrict leaves of absences


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


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


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


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


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


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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Minnesotans Protest With Cars & Wheelchairs Outside Capitol Demanding Action to Support Home Care Workers and Clients

HC caravan rallyOn national day of action, home care workers & clients demand emergency funding increase from legislators as low pay & benefits continue to hurt seniors & people with disabilities facing a“care crisis” made worse by COVID-19

As Minnesota grapples with the need to address racial disparities, protest shines a light on how racism and sexism continue to degrade the home care workforce that is 90 percent women and disproportionately women of color

SAINT PAUL – Nearly 60 cars and dozens of wheelchairs took to the streets Wednesday afternoon in front of the Minnesota Capitol demanding action on the home care crisis that is hurting thousands of families across the state. Despite bipartisan support, legislation that would provide a 15% temporary rate increase during the COVID-19 pandemic has failed to pass during the original legislative session and the subsequent special session. House Democrats passed versions of the rate increase, as part of larger COVID related packages, in both the regular and special session. In their demands for a living wage and basic benefits, workers and clients call for a change to the exploitative history of disabled people and those who care for them.

Because of the low wages and benefits, there is a “care crisis” in Minnesota that left over 8,000 unfilled positions before COVID-19, which means seniors and people with disabilities aren’t able to get the care they need to safely stay in their homes. The protest called out how the whole care system was built on racism and sexism that continues to degrade the home care workforce that is 90 percent women and disproportionately women of color as Minnesota grapples with racial disparities that are some of the worst in the nation.

One of the speakers was Brittanie Wilson, a self-advocate and a client who has received PCA services for over 15 years. Wilson talked about the frustration that inaction is causing thousands of Minnesotans and how the recent uprising following George Floyd’s murder have showcased how issues are connected.

“Societal beliefs say that we’re not worthy of accommodations because they cost too much and that we’re burdens. Societal beliefs say that PCAS don’t deserve a livable wage or access to PPE, all because those they serve aren’t worth it. But society and our lawmakers can’t hide behind these excuses anymore. If we want any chance at real change then we must make our lawmakers understand that they are hurting us and our caregivers by not doing their job and passing this bill,” said Wilson. “I’d also like to remind everyone that half of the black lives that are lost due to police brutality are disabled people. As a brown woman I am here, ‘your fight is our fight and Black disabled lives matter!’”

Another speaker at the event was Adrienne Kleinman, a Minneapolis resident who uses her voice to inspire change and bring perspective to those around her. Kleinman has used a wheelchair since she was 3 years old and at the event she shared the hurt and anger as she’s feeling from the PCA Emergency Bill not being passed.

“I use a motorized wheelchair due to having a form of muscular dystrophy. I am totally reliant on others to assist me with grooming, showering, positioning, cooking, cleaning, organizing, errands, and all of the minute and major things that you must do for yourself in a day. I can not do any of those things without another human being present. I struggle recruiting the folks to help me do any of the previously mentioned things because they don’t think $13.25 an hour is worth it,” said Kleinman. “I’m sick of being forgotten, cast aside, hidden, reduced to a body that simply isn’t worth the time or importance to help out. I’m sick of being an afterthought. Pass the PCA Emergency Bill and compensate home healthcare workers for being on the frontlines. Do your job and finish what you started!”

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota brings together over 25,000 home care workers across Minnesota. Union home care workers and the clients they work for believe that every Minnesotan – no matter our race, zip code or wealth – deserve the right to live safely in our home. But right now many home care workers who provide critical service are paid as little as $13.25 with no health insurance because our leaders have refused to act.

To start the program, as the cars circled with messages like “Do Your Job” “Fund Homecare,” “Abelsim Sucks” and “Rise Up Homecare” written on their windows circled the Capitol and honked, Home care worker and Indigenous Autistic activist Jules Edwards shared what thousands of Minnesotans have been facing as legislators continue not to act.

“Homecare has been in crisis for years. The Minnesota legislature has had a bill to provide a 15% home care funding increase sitting on their desks since February, but has failed to pass it twice, despite bipartisan support! Home care work evolved out of domestic slavery and institutional disposal of disabled people. Care labor has always been paid as little as legally possible, back to when that labor was stolen,” said Edwards. “Today we face a global pandemic where disabled people are at increased risk of severe illness and death and over 80% of covid deaths are occurring in long term care facilities. We’re facing staffing shortages due to low wages and the general public shrugs their shoulders and claims that this pandemic isn’t a big deal because only the elderly and disabled are at risk. But we are not disposable. Today, we are demanding the 15% funding increase, but we know that the work doesn’t end there.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Pride pride

The month of June 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Pride Month as we celebrate inclusion and equality. As an organization, we affirm our commitment to LGBTQ+ rights, celebrate the progress that has been achieved, and recognize that attitudes and injustice still remain. Pride Month is important because it marks the start of huge change within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the wider societal implications.

Please join me and read from our staff about Pride Month and the historical events that highlight progress within the LGBTQ+ movement, with recommendations on books/movies/podcasts.

  • Tenzin Gakyi


As of June 15, 2020,  a person’s sexual orientation is no longer a just cause of termination in all 50 states and other jurisdictions in the United States of America.

The passing of this historic supreme court judgment is a reflection point for me on the progress we have made as a country. I’m thankful for the activism of those who’ve come before me, who’ve sacrificed their lives and those who chose to come out and be visible knowing full well the consequences. You made sure we were seen. When we were seen, we were counted. Once we were counted, we became agents of change. Let’s continue to extend the support and allyship to others who remain marginalized.

Movie Recommendation:

Paris Is Burning

  • Krystal Klein

Hi co-workers. I’m bi. I’m married to a woman and open to sharing my story with any who are curious. Now and always, I’m grateful for all the brave people who came out, organized and risked so much— leading the LGBTQ movement that began before I was born and continues today. Their work has allowed me to be more freely me. We have a long way to go until all people can truly accepted as their authentic selves, free from discrimination and hate.

Here are a few reflections in honor of PRIDE month:

  1. The other day, my kid was biking circles in the driveway and randomly asked if she was going to be a man or woman or neither when she grows up. Immediately, her 9- year-old neighbor-friend (also biking) said, “you get to decide!” before Megan and I echoed the same answer. I can’t imagine such a simple conversion happening 30 years ago when I was 8. I also can’t imagine that conversation happening right now, in probably more than half the households in Minnesota. I also know that even in households like ours where this conversation can happen, we are not doing enough. Are you thinking about how you are presenting gender to your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, other kids? Here’s one resource: https://www.familyequality.org/2019/10/02/talking-trans-with-your-kids
  2. What if we assumed all people were bisexual (or pansexual)? What if we didn’t assume that because someone is in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender, that they must be straight? What if we didn’t assume our kids were going to be straight or gay, but maybe somewhere in between and they get to figure it out? It would have helped me so much if that had been my starting place.
  3. Conversion Therapy/Torture— did you know it’s still happening in Minnesota? Outfront MN is working to pass local ordinances and state legislation to stop it. You can support here: Conversion Therapy:https://www.outfront.org/public-policy#conversion-therapy and read about it here http://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/the-fight-to-ban-conversion-therapy-in-minnesota/
  4. What if those of us on staff who are White, came out as anti-racist? Not just in these few weeks while George Floyd’s murder being so fresh— but what if we came out everyday from now on—just like those of us who are LGBTQ do. Come out to all the new people we meet- SEIU members, new neighbors, new friends, acquaintances. Come out, not just to the people we feel safe with, but also to our White Supremacist aunties and cousins too. There’s always that moment when you decide to share, and you wonder- how will they react? Or you share without meaning to and see that flash of surprise, or is it judgement?, on the face of the person you are talking to before they quickly recover and the conversation moves on to what you were actually talking about. Or you share knowing that your relationship will probably never be the same. Or you share and unknowingly change someone’s perspective. Pride is power—being authentically and unapologetically proud of your identity is about taking your power. It can come with some big consequences (and that’s a good thing).

Movie Recommendation:

“Brother Outsider” a documentary about the work and life of Bayard Rustin, who organized the March on Washington.

  • Julie Boots

Historically, when we finally were able to marry.  My spouse and I were married June 21, 2014.  This was just after I was hired by SEIU Healthcare MN.  I never in a million years thought I would ever get married.  Plus, we were able to be married before Vicki’s mother passed away.  We have been married for six years but together for 25 years.

  • Elise Frieder

This pride month has been one of deep reflection. As a white, cisgendered woman, my ability to be openly bisexual is only as a result of great sacrifice from those who came before me, especially the Black and Brown trans women who fought against police violence at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969 (Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera). Every day that I live my life openly with my partner, and as myself, is owed to their courage and bravery.

June 2020, just 51 years after the Stonewall Uprising, I am so proud of how far we have come. Still, I can’t help but be reminded of how much further we have to go. Just days before George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department, Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was murdered by Tallahassee police. Tony is one of many Black trans people who have lost their lives to state and vigilante violence.

This Pride, I am proud to see so many amazing LGBTQIA+ activists who are loudly calling for the world we need to create. A world that would have kept Tony McDade safe. This is a world free from police, a world free from prisons, and a world free from violence because of the identities a person holds. This Pride, more than any Pride in my memory, another world feels possible.


Book Recommendation: Against Equality

TV Show Recommendation: “Pose” on FX (and Netflix!)

Organizations to Support: Reclaim!; Outfront; The Aliveness Project

With Solidarity,

Tenzin, Krystal, Julie and Elise






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“Enough Talk, We Need Action”

Minnesota Home Care Workers & Clients Plead for Action From Legislators In Special Session on Bipartisan Funding Increase to Address Care Crisis


SAINT PAUL – Home care workers and clients across Minnesota continued their call for Minnesota lawmakers to take action on the bipartisan bill that would provide an emergency wage and benefit increase for the workers who care for Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities. HC_enough talk-need action

The legislation would provide a 15% temporary rate increase during the COVID-19 pandemic and would help tens of thousands of families across the state. A bill was passed off the floor of the Minnesota House as a priority of the House DFL and a similar Senate bill had bipartisan support. Home care workers are overwhelmingly women and many are Black and people of color. Currently many home care workers make only $13.25 to do this critical work.

Home care workers and clients were frustrated by the inability to pass this commonsense bill during the regular session and are calling on legislators to prioritize this important bill during the special session.

Saint Paul home care client Brittanie Wilson shared why this increase would be so helpful to people with disabilities and seniors across the state who rely on home care workers to stay safely in their homes.

“Now, more than ever, we need our elected leaders to do what is right and pass this emergency increase to help support Minnesotans across the state who rely on home care to stay safely in our homes,” said Wilson. “An increase in wages during this crucial time will have a huge impact on this industry – not only for PCAs, but for clients too. Higher wages will allow me to retain and recruit more staff who I’m relying on more and more for these critical services in order to stay home.”

Deb Howze, a home care worker and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota who participated in a “Walk-A-Day” with Governor Walz last winter to highlight the important work done every day by home care workers, demanded action from lawmakers.

“With everything that has happened over the last few months, home care workers continue to put ourselves and our families at risk to make sure seniors and people with disabilities across our state can safely stay in their homes. Even with everything going on, we are doing this hard work, with many workers still making as low as $13.25 per hour. During the legislative session we appreciated the words of support for our work from the Governor and elected officials from both parties in the House and Senate talking about how this work desperately needs to see a pay increase, but we’ve heard enough talk. We need action,” said Howze. “Minnesotans who are struggling need our leaders to use the special session to pass this bill to show they care about seniors, people with disabilities and the workers who help keep them safely in their homes.”

The proposed increase would help address the state’s care crisis. Prior to the pandemic, there was a shortage of thousands of home care workers for all the Minnesotans who need them, due to the low wages and lack of benefits for this critical work. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that shortage far worse, leaving many seniors and people with disabilities without the care they need to remain safely in their homes.



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Message to Gov Walz on Extending Peacetime Emergency

SEIU HC Minnesota, Governor and Lt. Governor, 06.10.20SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 40,000 healthcare workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and self-directed home care, in every community in the state. On behalf of these essential workers providing frontline care to Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic, I am writing to urge you to extend our state’s peacetime emergency.

Many of our members are risking their lives every day of this pandemic, just by going in to work and doing their jobs. Every day we learn of more healthcare workers stuck at home because they’ve tested positive for COVID-19, and some days we get the tragic news that another healthcare worker has died as a result of their exposure at work. Just this Monday, healthcare workers gathered near North Memorial Medical Center to mourn and remember LarryDean Goodrich, a phlebotomist and longtime union member at North Memorial, who died of COVID-19. Let there be no doubt: for healthcare workers, this disease remains an emergency.

While PPE supplies in some healthcare settings have improved over the last few weeks, the overwhelming majority of home care workers continue to have no access to PPE, and in a recent Telephone Town Hall meeting of nursing home workers across the state, more than 50% reported that their facilities continue to lack adequate PPE supply. Home care workers continue to lack sufficient sick time to remain home during a two-week quarantine, sufficient pay to keep enough workers showing up to care for their clients during the pandemic, and the funding for overtime hours that’s needed for those workers still willing to come to work to put in more hours. We are a long way from the conditions that would justify an end to the peacetime emergency.

But nowhere is the continuing crisis clearer than in nursing homes and other congregate care settings. We would invite anyone with doubts about whether COVID-19 remains an emergency to visit one of the state’s many nursing homes with large outbreaks – except that, appropriately, visitors are barred from entering those facilities. For nursing home residents and workers – and especially for residents and workers who are Black and Brown – every day presents a very real chance of COVID-19 infection, and in far too many cases, death. The numbers should be familiar to everyone at this point: 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota have been among residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Black Minnesotans account for 22% of confirmed COVID cases, while making up less than 6% of the state’s population. An ending of the peacetime emergency and all the protections for Minnesotans that have been enabled by it would be an insult to the courageous work being done every day by nursing assistants, nurses, housekeepers, dietary workers, laundry workers and other frontline staff in our nursing homes – a group that includes several thousand Black and Brown immigrants. It would also disrespect and dishonor the residents those workers serve, who we have every reason to believe will continue to be the primary victims of this disease for many months to come.

If the peacetime emergency is not extended, the critical funding available to nursing homes under MN 12A.10 would soon expire. Many nursing homes have used these expedited reimbursements to pay for important anti-COVID measures like additional staffing, paid leave for suspected COVID cases, hero pay, and PPE.

The peacetime state of emergency you signed into law on March 13 allowed the state to open a toolbox of other resources and to take decisive action to protect Minnesotans, including:

  • Measures to procure, preserve, and distribute PPE
  • A 5-point “battle plan” to address the crisis in our nursing homes, including deploying the National Guard to assist with testing
  • Temporary suspension of some of the normal procedures in home care programs that were preventing people with disabilities and seniors from getting care
  • Establishing free, safe transportation for essential healthcare workers in the Twin Cities metropolitan area
  • Efforts to provide economic relief and stability to those impacted by the pandemic
  • Regulatory changes allowing state agencies to ensure fast relief to Minnesotans
  • Enhanced protections for veterans in veterans’ homes

This is just a small sub-set of the urgently needed measures undertaken under the peacetime emergency. Extending the peacetime state of emergency allows the state to continue taking those kinds of steps to make sure Minnesotans stay safe. An extension will also ensure that the Executive Orders already in place remain in effect and that we continue to have the flexibility to respond quickly to needs that arise across the state, especially among the frontline caregivers risking their lives every day when they go to work, and the patients, residents and clients they serve.

In solidarity,

Jamie Gulley, President

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PNM Courier Contract Update & Voting

We have reached a tentative contract agreement with Park Nicollet Health Services. If ratified by a majority of union couriers, the new contract agreement will go into effect with the new wages rates retroactive to April 1, 2020.

Please review the details of the agreement and cast your vote by 5pm on Monday, June 8th, 2020. We will vote via survey monkey—just click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2958L2H

The bargaining team is recommending a yes vote. We believe this tentative agreement is an important step forward towards wage parity with other union members who do similar work. We succeeded at winning an immediate adjustment to the wage scales and a commitment that SEIU Couriers will be paid at the same rate as SEIU Pharmacy Messengers/Shuttle Bus Drivers at Park Nicollet Methodist starting April 1, 2022. We also negotiated language that prevents the employer from requiring anyone to lift, on their own, packages that weigh over 50lbs, language allowing paid time for new employee union orientation, and we resolved issues regarding the lead pay rates by creating a lead pay differential. While the new agreement does not reflect everything you deserve, it is a significant step forward. During these uncertain times when employers are making cuts, the value of having wages and rights guaranteed in a union contract is more apparent than ever before.

Please look over the tentative agreements (scroll down), ask any questions you may have. The tentative agreements below lists changes to your existing contact, any language that is not listed in a tentative agreement would remain the same as the current contact, which you can view here (http://www.seiuhealthcaremn.org/files/2017/10/Park-Nicollet-Couriers-CONTRACT_3.8.2017-3.31.2020.pdf)

Please vote online here (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2958L2H) by 5pm on Monday, June 8th, 2020.

If a majority of those who vote, vote yes, this tentative agreement will go into effect. If a majority vote no, you would have to demonstrate your collective power through a strike and then try to re-negotiate. The bargaining team is recommending a yes vote.

If you have any questions, please call more, send an email or reach out to the bargaining team.

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