Convention Resolutions

Member Leadership Roles

WHEREAS we know that strong, diverse leaders are necessary to address the crisis we face and that SEIU Healthcare Minnesota is dedicated to providing more leadership opportunities to members in order to achieve its mission and vision;

WHEREAS SEIU Healthcare Minnesota believes that more members will take on leadership roles in the Union if they are able to focus on and develop skills in an area of individual interest;

WHEREAS SEIU Healthcare Minnesota wants to establish a path for leadership development of members regardless of their prior level of experience with the Union;

WHEREAS the Member Political Leader role has been established to improve the lives of members and the people we care for in three major ways: help inform and educate coworkers about issues and candidates that affect them; lobby political leaders on SEIU issues and volunteer to door-knock and phone-bank to hold them accountable; and work with staff on plans to create active roles that suit their political interests;

WHEREAS the Member Grievance Leader role has been established to uphold the standards of our collective bargaining agreements and commit to advocating for the membership from pre-grievances to arbitration, through personal growth in the grievance process and in partnership with the Member Action Center for guidance, support, and resources;

WHEREAS the Member Orientation Leader role has been established for members to take ownership of welcoming new members to the Union by sharing the vision of the Union through meeting with new members, educating the members on the benefits of and opportunities within the Union, and building a strong connection and sense of pride between our newest members and the Union; and

WHEREAS having a variety of leadership roles expands the diversity and power of the Union, creates a flexible and responsive organization, and prepares SEIU Healthcare Minnesota for the future;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT SEIU HEALTHCARE MINNESOTA WILL:

 

  • Continue to commit to an organization-wide leadership development system that is integrated in all our daily work and can adapt to the new challenges ahead.
  • Build a united, integrated model to capture the leadership potential of all our members, making sure that our leadership-development programs reflect our commitment to organizational equity and inclusion.
  • Establish, develop and provide training and support for Member Leadership Roles in our political program, grievance and advocacy, welcoming new members, leading home care Circles, growing the Union, strengthening our worksites, communications, and additional roles as identified.
  • Ensure that these programs are designed to empower and to build leaders at the highest level to lead the fight and win for working people and uphold the core values of our Union. These values include: organizing, accountability, integrity, and teamwork.
  • Develop and utilize innovative technologies to engage more members in all aspects of the Union and continue to track and report member leader and activist data.
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Building Our Retiree and Young People Programs

WHEREAS our movement must harness the shared energy of our retirees and our youngest members to win economic, racial, environmental, and immigrant justice and equality for women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA people;

WHEREAS in 2015, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, making up one-third of the electorate in the 2016 election, and yet the majority of the jobs they can find are underpaid and part‐time, and many millennials start working in massive student loan debt and can’t work themselves out of it, causing many to not be able to achieve the American Dream;

WHEREAS we now engage with new technologies to connect with one another, and those rapid developments are also reorganizing how work is done, transforming our industries, politics, our organizing drives, and communications;

WHEREAS retirement-age people are often anchors of their families and communities as well as a political force, and as the fastest-growing segment of our society, the power and influence of seniors and retirees is reaching new heights;

WHEREAS the vast majority of retired people do not have the pensions and retirement savings required to sustain them for the rest of their lives, and a report by AARP found that nearly half of Americans over the age of 50 have $25,000 or less saved for retirement;

WHEREAS working-age adults continue to work longer hours and more years, but low wages limit families’ ability to save, private sector pensions are all but gone, and public sector pensions are cut every year, as political extremists continue to campaign to defund and dismantle programs that provide some hope of retiring with dignity, namely Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; and

WHEREAS as each generation prepares to pass the baton to the next, we recognize that their combined leadership, energy and wisdom will be critical in building a wider movement for justice to create the kind of state and country we all want;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT SEIU HEALTHCARE MINNESOTA WILL:

  • Establish and develop powerful Retiree and Young People programs.
  • Provide opportunities for all members to remain active in the Union after retirement through programs that meets their needs and interests, enhancing our capacity to retain and activate retiree members with a $5 membership dues rate per month.
  • Increase the influence and visibility of our retirees and young people to maximize their potential as powerful voices in our movement through participation in local and national political, organizing and issue-campaign work, including the Fight for $15 and the fights for retirement security, racial equity, environmental justice, and comprehensive immigration reform.
  • Build and deepen partnerships with other retiree and young people organizations, including not-yet-Union young workers and grassroots community activists in local campaigns led by young people, and with other community organizations around issues important to our retiree and young members.
  • Actively pursue new and emerging approaches to become a more technologically advanced organization where the perspectives and energy of our younger members enhance all the work of the Union
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Building a wider movement for racial and economic justice

WHEREAS at our 2015 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Convention we adopted a resolution that committed us to fight discrimination and oppression in all their forms, in our workplaces and communities and also in ourselves and our own organization;

WHEREAS our Union has a long and proud history of linking arms with other social-justice movements to spark something far greater than what would be possible acting alone, and we understand that to build and wield real power for working people, we need the strength of a wider movement that can win on multiple fronts – mobilizing in the streets, disrupting the structures that hold us all back, building worker power, winning elections, and holding the people we elect accountable to our values – and that it is by doing all these things together that we make the impossible possible;

WHEREAS the same billionaires fighting to keep people of color marginalized and oppressed are also fighting to keep wages down and to divide us based on being women, where we were born, where we live, how we worship, and whom we love, using these divisions to keep working people and our allies from building and wielding real power;

WHEREAS those same forces of division and exploitation have spent millions trying to convince us that climate change isn’t real, even as we watch extreme weather events destroy communities across the country and the world, with droughts and other weather-related problems occurring with much greater frequency here in Minnesota, and scientists warn that time is running out for us to avert a global climate crisis whose burden will fall hardest on the poor;

WHEREAS the Fight for 15 has won extraordinary victories throughout the country, with tens of millions of workers getting huge wage increases, sparked by courageous fast-food workers who started striking even though they had no Union and no clear path to form one – and yet 64 million workers in the U.S. still make less than $15 an hour, many forced to string together two or three jobs to make ends meet for their families;

WHEREAS we understand that it’s no coincidence and no accident that the recent poisoning of the water supply of hundreds of thousands of people in Flint, Michigan affects mostly Blacks and immigrants, or that children struggling with asthma because of pollution are mostly children of color, or that new voter-restriction laws like the one we helped lead the fight to defeat in Minnesota overwhelmingly disenfranchise people of color – just as it was no coincidence and no accident that the founding labor laws in this country excluded domestic workers, who were mostly Black women;

WHEREAS over the last year, since passing the “Our Fight Against Discrimination and Oppression” resolution, our Union’s officers, Board and staff have begun intensive training and discussions about how to become a more equitable and inclusive organization, with a new committee created to advise the local’s President on further actions needed to advance toward that goal;

WHEREAS our International Union, at its May 2016 convention, adopted a resolution acknowledging the painful history of structural racism in our country, from genocide against Native Americans and enslaving Black people to today’s institutional biases against Blacks and other people of color, seen with particular clarity in our criminal justice and policing systems, and committing SEIU in no uncertain terms to fight anti-Black, historical and structural racism in all our work; and

WHEREAS we recognize that we simply cannot achieve economic justice without racial justice;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT SEIU HEALTHCARE MINNESOTA WILL:

  • Continue, deepen and redouble the efforts made since our last Convention to build and wield independent political power in Minnesota and to fight discrimination and oppression in all their forms, in our workplaces and communities and also in ourselves and in our Union.
  • Build a wider movement for justice on multiple fronts (women’s, LGBTQIA, disability, immigrant, environmental, and racial justice, along with the Fight for 15 and other worker-focused fights), one where we at times lead, at times join in partnership, at times follow the lead of others.
  • Engage, together with our International Union, in a sustained process of education and engagement that supports our transformation to become an anti-racist organization, committing to fight anti-Black and structural racism in all our work, and evaluating our programs and strategies for their impact on dismantling racism.
  • Actively partner with people-of-color-led organizations to fight for issues like criminal justice reform that are of central importance to many of our members of color, and in doing so deliberately focus on supporting the development of the organizational infrastructure needed for issues of racial equity to become lasting priorities in our state.
  • Seek to lift up, in the core fights we engage in as a Union to win and enforce great contracts, the connection between those fights and the wider movement for justice we are part of, the impossibility for many of our members of separating the struggle for justice as a worker from the struggle for justice in other aspects of their identities.
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