Issues

Morrison Food Service Workers at Mayo Charter House Announce Vote to Join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota

Latest group of food service workers to organize following Mayo’s outsourcing move announce resounding union election victory at Labor Day Picnic
Rochester, Minn — Food service workers employed by Morrison at the Mayo Charter House have voted to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The workers voted by a 2-1 margin to join the union. Workers announced their victory at the Rochester Labor Day picnic Monday that was hosted by CURE and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The bargaining unit consists of 84 food service workers. 
 
Union_Family_rsFood service workers who led the campaign to win their union released the following statements following the vote.
Michael Roeder:
 
“In the recent years, we’ve all witnessed the rise in cost of living here in Rochester. However, with this rise should come an equally similar increase in wages, but that hasn’t been the case. People not only at the Charter House but all over the city are experiencing difficulty paying their bills because there is a disproportionate ratio of wages to the average cost of living. Because we formed our union, we are ready to join the fight to fix this problem,” said Roeder. “Even amidst management’s tactics to dissuade us from forming a union , low-balling offers and bringing in union-busters, we persevered because we all ignored their distractions. I am so glad we voted so overwhelmingly to join together and become members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.”
 
Cheryl Ouellette:
“In order for Charter House to be the preferred place to live, it first has to be the preferred place to work. We knew that the best way to make that happen after everything that has gone over the last year was to join together in the union,” said Ouellette. “I am so happy we now have a collective voice to make sure we can fight for the best for both workers and the community.”
Rhoda Mghenyi:
“Coming together in the union will unite us and lead us to real action. Our jobs will be more meaningful as we strive to make a better living and support for our families. We now have a voice to make changes at Charter which will be a better facility, if not the best campus at Mayo,” said Mghenyi. “We still have a lot of work to do, however we must remain focused on our goals. By coming together, we will enter a journey of greatness. We are stronger together and we will achieve more. Go Union!”
Bargaining dates will be set in the coming weeks.
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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 35,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.

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Following 3M CEO Stepping Down From Presidential Panel, SEIU Calls on Dr. Noseworthy and Mayo to Clarify “Advisory” Role to President Trump

Rochester, Minn — Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, released the following statement calling on Dr. Noseworthy and Mayo Clinic to make clear and public all ties to President Trump following 3M CEO Inge Thulin resigning from the Presidential Manufacturing Panel yesterday.

“CEOs from multiple corporations have made clear where they stand in regard to working with President Trump over the last few days following the horrific events in Charlottesville and the subsequent fallout. Employees of Mayo and community members across Southern Minnesota deserve to know the current status of Mayo CEO Dr. Noseworthy’s “advisory” role to the President. Dr. Noseworthy has made clear that he ‘advised’ President Trump and met with him in the months since his election. There was a deafening silence from Mayo following the Muslim ban, something that directly impacted staff, patients and community members. The power and influence Mayo has in Southern Minnesota means that they cannot be silent in the face of current events. Mayo workers and Southern Minnesota community members deserve to know the full nature and scope of Dr. Noseworthy’s advisory roles and relationship with President Trump.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 35,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.

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Mayo Food Service Workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Vote Overwhelmingly to Approve Contract with Morrison

Food service workers see gains in pay, benefits and security for families in first contract with new employer following Mayo’s outsourcing

Rochester, Minn— After multiple days of voting, Mayo food service workers who were outsourced last year in a controversial decision by Mayo voted overwhelmingly to approve a new contract with Morrison. The bargaining team of food service workers from Mayo sites across Southern Minnesota started negotiating with their new employer Morrison in March and wrapped up last Tuesday evening. The contract achieved the goals food service workers had going in to bargaining around protecting worker standards, namely winning union insurance, a union retirement plan and preserving and advancing wage rates. A summary of the agreement is at the bottom of this release. 

Mayo_Picket_20160915_rsWinning the five-year contract follows a year of activity that saw multiple pickets outside of Mayo and immense community support for the workers and their families. Food service workers stood strong through all of the tumult to make certain food service jobs remained good jobs that would support families in our community. Workers, many with decades of experience, knew that winning this fight and maintaining standards would mean patients and visitors to Mayo facilities would be able to get the service that they deserved.

Some of the largest gains were made by food service workers who were previously employed by Sodexo, a group that voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota following the uproar around Mayo’s plan for food service workers. John Predmore is a 16 years food service worker from Rochester who was one of the Sodexo workers who voted to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota last fall. After the vote, he commented on his excitement about the overwhelming “yes” vote by SEIU members approving the contract.

“I am so happy we voted to approve our contract. We hope this win shows all Mayo employees that by standing together positive changes can happen. We demanded respect and it feels good to know that we have a strong contract going forward. We went from lots of concerns when we heard the news, when things were very bleak and stressful, to joining the union and winning this great first contract. This gives our families the stability we need,” said Predmore. “We finally have some piece of mind around insurance, time off, retirement and wages. It’s a weight off our shoulders. It is good to know we are part of a union that will help watch our back. Like everyone who works to make sure Mayo provides a great experience for our patients, we know we have value no matter who signs our paycheck. This feels so good and we are so proud to have this contract passed.”

The contract will last five years.  Some of the highlights of the contract include:

  • Initial wage increases between 2.5% and 42%
  • 5 year contract duration with 2.5 % wage increases each year for existing employees and 2% increases to the start rates each year
  • Increased PTO and Holiday Pay
  • Full Union Health Insurance for both part-time and full-time members and improved dental coverage
  • Defined contribution 401K, $.50 per hour worked paid by the Employer
  • Overtime pay after 8 hours, requirements for defined shift times, and weekend shift differentials
  • Increased life insurance, Short Term Disability options and improved Bereavement Leave

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 35,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.

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After Yearlong Fight, Mayo Food Service Workers Reach Tentative Agreement With New Employer Morrison

Coming together to fight back following controversial Mayo decision to outsource hundreds of employees, food service workers see big gains in pay, benefits and security for families in first contract

Rochester, Minn— Over 500 Mayo food service workers who were outsourced last year in a controversial decision by Mayo reached a tentative agreement with their new employer Morrison Healthcare. Food service workers from across multiple Mayo facilities in Rochester, Albert Lea, Fairbault, Fairmont and Mankato were represented on the bargaining team that has worked for months leading up to the July 1st date that will see the final food service workers officially transition to Morrison. In a unique arrangement, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota food service workers joined with food service workers represented by the AFSCME Council 65 and Teamsters Local 120 unions to bargain the first contract with Morrison. Highlights from the tentative agreement are at the bottom of the release.

mayo picket 2_rsBargaining team members from across facilities and unions expressed excitement about the gains they were able to achieve in bargaining, which began in March and wrapped up Tuesday evening. Goals going into the bargaining focused on protecting worker standards, namely winning union insurance, a union retirement plan and preserving and advancing wage rates. By working together and uniting the unions together under common demands, food service workers won all three and the workers who joined SEIU Healthcare Minnesota from being previously unorganized won huge wage increases to meet the standards of workers who were already union. Food service workers fought every step of the way to ensure these jobs remained good jobs that would support families in our community while ensuring that patients and visitors to Mayo facilities were able to get the service that they deserved. The tentative agreement will go to the facilities for a vote over the next week, and if approved the contract would last for five years.

Some of the largest gains were made by food service workers who were previously employed by Sodexo, a group that voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota following the uproar around Mayo’s plan for food service workers. Barb Andrew, who has worked in catering for Mayo in Rochester for 16 years, shared the excitement of the former Sodexo workers who joined SEIU Healthcare last year in a vote following the news of outsourcing.

“I was already so happy when we voted late last year to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, but I am even more excited following the huge gains in this contract for those of us who were formerly Sodexo workers. Joining the union was the best decision we made,” said Andrew. “The security of this contract for our families means our gains can’t be taken away, which is a weight off our shoulders. Getting back holiday pay, vacation time, improving retirement protections and other increases means so much to us. Winning strong healthcare also will help me sleep better at night, especially with all the chaos in the news about changes in the healthcare industry at the national level. When all the changes at Mayo came last year we were scared, confused and nervous. What we have achieved since voting to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota is night and day.”

Other members of the bargaining team talked about how this tentative agreement, coming on the heels of such a tumultuous year for food service workers, was such an amazing victory for working families across southern Minnesota. Julie Larson has worked at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont for over two decades and is a member of Teamsters Local 120, shared her impression on the tentative agreement.

“I’m very ecstatic about the agreement that we won. I’ve been with Mayo for two decades, so seeing our benefits cut in half and our insurance skyrocket after the change, it was very scary and devastating. We live in a rural area, so this job is so important to us and our community. This contract is the best we’ve had in my 25 years and I am so proud of what we won,” said Larson. “Knowing that we have a five-year contract means we have stability that means so much to our families. After all of the stress of the last year, it was nice to find out how good of a negotiating partner Morrison turned out to be.”

Another bargaining team member, Leslie Kaup, who has worked at Mayo in Albert Lea for 3 years, shared her excitement over the gains won in the new contract.

“When they first announced this decision a year ago we were all devastated, but I am so pleased with how things have turned out. When the change first happened, we didn’t know what the future would hold. I had just bought a house and a farm and worried about my future. I didn’t know if we’d have jobs and benefits. By coming together and fighting for what we deserve, we won a contract with amazing gains that solidifies our future and gives us real security. This means so much to us,” said Kaup. “The security is so important to Albert Lea and communities across southern Minnesota, and I’m glad that we didn’t let the way Mayo treated us stop us from fighting for what we deserve. Because we stuck together, and worked with other unions facing the same situation, we won a fair contract for hundreds of food service workers as we become Morrison employees.”

Following negotiations, representatives from the employers side praised the process that led to the agreement.

“We are glad to have reached a tentative agreement with our represented food service workers in various Mayo Health locations who will now have the opportunity to approve our agreement. We value the work done by our food service workers across Southern Minnesota and are proud to have reached this five-year agreement,” said Henry Dresser, a representative with Compass Group. “We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with all three unions and building on the relationships we have started with these negotiations.”

The full tentative agreement will be shared with members of the unions in the coming days and voted on starting next week. Final results of the ratification vote are expect July 10th.

Some of the highlights of the contract include:

  • Initial wage increases between 2.5% and 42%
  • 5 year contract duration with 2.5 % wage increases each year for existing employees and 2% increases to the start rates each year
  • Increased PTO and Holiday Pay
  • Full Union Health Insurance for both part-time and full-time members and improved dental coverage
  • Defined contribution 401K, $.50 per hour worked paid by the Employer
  • Overtime pay after 8 hours, requirements for defined shift times, and weekend shift differentials
  • Increased life insurance, Short Term Disability options and improved Bereavement Leave

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 35,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.

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Adjunct Faculty at St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) File for Union Election to Join SEIU Local 284

Adjunct faculty at St. Paul university join wave of organizing in Twin Cities to improve higher education for students and faculty

St. Paul Adjunct faculty at St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) filed cards this morning to trigger a union election to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284. The election would cover around 100 adjunct faculty. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will schedule the election for this summer unless there are objections from St. Kate’s administration. (more…)

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Albert Lea Hospital Workers Speak Out Following Trial Over Labor Charges Against Mayo

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota filed the unfair labor practice charge to address Mayo’s “bargaining” tactics

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The charges were found to have merit by the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel in Washington D.C. last year, resulting in this month’s Trial 

Albert Lea, MN – A trial held in Minneapolis before a Washington D.C. Administrative Law Judge wrapped up last week following testimony regarding unfair labor practice charges alleging “bad faith bargaining” against Mayo filed by Mayo Albert Lea Hospital skilled maintenance workers.

The case is the result of a December 5, 2016 determination from the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel in Washington D.C. that the charges filed against Mayo Clinic have merit. In particular, the NLRB General Counsel found that Mayo has “failed to bargain in good faith” with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota concerning the skilled maintenance employees working at the hospital in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Albert Lea Hospital maintenance worker Nate Johnson, who testified at the trial in Minneapolis last week and has been fighting for basic respect from Mayo for the last two years — including flying to Washington D.C. to testify before the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel in 2016 about this case —  expressed satisfaction that Mayo Albert Lea workers were finally being heard.

“My coworkers and I have worked at Mayo for decades, and it is hard to believe we are fighting this hard for basic respect. I was proud to testify in front of the Administrative Law Judge and to share the frustration we feel as we simply ask for Mayo to bargain in good faith. Being able to tell our story to the judge makes me feel confident that Mayo can be held accountable,” said Johnson.

Paul Blom, who has worked at Mayo Albert Lea for 17 years, emphasized the strong unity of the workers in the bargaining unit, a majority of whom attended at least one day of the trial.

“We are all proud of the good work we do making sure the hospital stays up and running so our community has a place to go to get healthy. We aren’t asking for CEO pay, just a fair contract that supports our families and allows for these jobs to continue to be good jobs,” said Blom. “A majority of our group made the trip to Minneapolis to watch the trial because we know how important this is to the future of not just our jobs, but everyone who works in our hospital. Albert Lea, and all of southern Minnesota, have always supported Mayo, and we deserve better than the way they are treating workers, patients and our whole community.”

In the nearly two years that Mayo has refused to bargain in good faith, the maintenance workers and community supporters also have held two informational pickets outside of the hospital in Albert Lea to inform the public about Mayo’s conduct.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley said the court case getting this far shows that Mayo has lost sight of their values and respect for the longterm employees who help make the hospital one of the best in the world.

“The trial last week showed again that Mayo has lost its way. After nearly two years of this behavior, it is time for Mayo to show respect to these dedicated workers. By refusing to conduct even basic negotiations with this group, and now playing this same disrespectful game with another group of their employees, Mayo is going down a path that will harm the workers and the whole community,” said Gulley. “While Mayo pays big salaries for executives and asks for taxpayer money for their buildings, they turn around and treat people who have given their heart and soul to the organization this way. It is sad, and we hope even before a ruling comes down from the judge that Mayo comes to their senses and treats these hardworking community members with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota took out a full-page ad in the Albert Lea Tribune this week highlighting this case and calling on Mayo to do the right thing and support the workers, the patients they help serve, and the entire Albert Lea community.

There is no timetable for a ruling, and no future dates for bargaining between the Albert Lea maintenance workers and Mayo have been scheduled.

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 35,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.

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Tell Congress: Protect Our Healthcare and Medicaid

Extremists in Congress, including Minnesota GOP members, are rushing to rip healthcare from millions of Americans and end Medicaid as we know it with extreme cuts to funding healthcare for children, seniors and people with disabilities who have the least ability to pay.

This would mean weaker protections for our health security, higher costs and less care for millions of our families, patients, consumers and our communities. Lives are at risk. Care in is on the line. Communities will suffer.

On March 16th, join the National Medicaid call-in day to protect our care.

Call 866-426-2631 and tell them why healthcare matters to you & your family.

Tell them to vote “no” on the healthcare repeal bill. Tell them we can’t afford for healthcare and Medicaid to be taken away from children, seniors and people with disabilities who need it most. Tell them we can’t afford for our loved ones to lose protections for pre-existing conditions, and for monthly premiums and co-pays to go up for Minnesotans. 

Congressional leaders are rushing to push through this bill so it becomes law in as few as 30 days. Please join Minnesotans from across the state in calling your member of Congress on March 16th.

We must take action now.

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Recently Unionized Twin Cities Big Box Retail Janitors Win First Contract, Show Path Forward for Working Families in Time of Trump

The nearly 500 janitors who are sub-contracted to clean stores like Best Buy, Macys, Target and others announce historic first contract that will bring an increase of $4.5 million in wages and PTO for working families in Minnesota

Group won historic union by joining SEIU Local 26 earlier this year after multi-year fight

Minneapolis, MN – Big Box retail janitors who are sub-contracted to clean Best Buy, Macys, Lunds, Target and other stores in the Twin Cities Metro announced that they finalized a first contract with their employers as members of SEIU Local 26. The group won their groundbreaking union earlier this year after a multi-year fight that saw them go on multiple 24-hour strikes and organize the first industry-wide union of big box janitors in a major metropolitan area.

The gains in the contract via wage increases and Paid Time Off include over $4.5 million over the life of the contract for the nearly 500 workers covered by bargaining. Retail janitors will see an average increase of 18% over 3 years, with many janitors seeing an immediate $1.50 raise. The vast majority of the group are people of color, with gains from the contract helping to fight back against Minnesota’s painful racial and economic gaps.

Retail_janitor_victory_rsThe gains won in this contract are the private sector stimulus that Trump and his billionaire cabinet promised, but workers delivered on for themselves. Janitors like Maricela Flores, a mother and grandmother who works for Carlson Building Maintenance at the Shakopee Target who has been part of the bargaining sessions, shared what it meant to win this first contract and to see gains during in this current climate.

“We fought hard to get to this point, so it means so much to have won this first contract. While working people are under attack right now from the billionaires in charge of our country, we are showing that we can win if we stick together and fight. Over the years we marched, picketed, organized our workplaces and went on strike multiple times, each time growing stronger despite facing long odds,” said Flores. “Especially now, it is so important to remember something we’ve said throughout our campaign: ‘When We Fight, We Win.’ Because we stood up and fought, and didn’t let anyone tell us we couldn’t win, we now have a contract that won big gains for our families.”

Lizbet Vega Lopez, who has been employed by Carlson to clean the Cub Foods in Brooklyn Park for 12 years, talked about what these gains will mean for her family during the age of Trump. Vega Lopez is one of the many workers seeing an immediate raise from $9.50 to $11 per hour.

“This was not an easy fight, but I am so glad we stuck together and now have a union contract that moves us forward. I hope others will see our fight and realize that no matter how difficult the challenge may be, you can win positive changes if you are willing to stand up to those in power,” said Lopez, a mother of 3. “We are contracted to clean the stores of some of the biggest corporations in the world, so it was a big win just to get to the negotiation table with our employers, and now we have won gains that cannot be taken away. We weren’t waiting on Trump’s empty promises and scapegoating. We decided to fight back and win changes for ourselves, and hope others do too!”

In addition to wage increases and PTO, workers also won: one to three weeks vacation, depending on experience, stronger workplace protections and job security, and guidelines for workload conditions when covering absences. The contract goes into effect immediately and will last three years.

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Around the country, airport workers are coming together in Airport Workers United, a movement of workers and their allies, raising their voices to make our airports safe and secure for passengers, employees and our communities. Contracted airport workers from major airports serve 393 million passengers yearly. By sticking together and speaking out for change these workers have won wage increases in Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale. Today, more than 85,000 airport workers nationwide have either received wages increases or other improvements, including health care, paid sick leave and worker retention policies.

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Bureau of Mediation Services Rules with Minnesota Home Care Workers; Dismisses Efforts to Decertify Union

Saint Paul — With news today that the Bureau of Mediation Services dismissed the decertification attempt by the anti-union group “MNPCA.org” for lacking sufficient support, Minneapolis home care worker and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Executive Board member LaTanya Hughes shared her feelings about the latest attack on the union again falling short.

20151021_HCW_Federal_Court“The campaign to undermine the union we’ve worked so hard to build came up well short of the support they needed to trigger an election. This effort was never supported by a significant number of home care workers or the people with disabilities and seniors we serve. As the people actually affected, we all know that we need a powerful voice at the Capitol to address the home care crisis Minnesota is currently facing, and the only way we have that is by coming together,” said Hughes. “That voice, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, worked tirelessly to reach a tentative agreement with the Department of Human Services to raise wages and other benefits for home care workers. It is unfortunate that there are people who disagree with increasing wages and benefits for growing workforce by trying to decertify the union and hamper efforts for our second contract.”

Hughes continued, “I was proud to be part of the bargaining team that reached a tentative agreement that will, if it’s now ratified by union members and the legislature, make major strides forward in addressing the care crisis — a severe shortage of quality care workers because of low pay and few benefits — by raising the pay floor from $11 to $13, providing new funding for training and stipends to reward home care workers to improve their skill sets, more paid time off, two paid holidays for the first time ever, additional wage increases for workers providing care to the clients with the highest level of complex care needs, and more. We still have a lot of work to do to fix the care crisis facing Minnesota families, but I’m incredibly proud we didn’t let any distractions stop us from getting to this point where we are so close to improving the lives of tens of thousands of families all across our state.”

In dismissing MNPCA’s petition, the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) announced that the group had not turned in enough signatures seeking a new vote to decertify the union. Even in the unlikely event that all the cards submitted by the anti-union campaign proved valid, they at best came up over 5,000 workers short of the “Showing of Interest.”

Shaquonica Johnson, a home care worker from West St. Paul and Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, remembered the lengths home care workers had to go to get a chance to vote on their union, the same exact process that the anti-union forces just failed to achieve.

“I remember like it was yesterday the excitement I felt on the morning, back in July 2014, when we filed our petition with BMS to request a union election. We brought them boxes and boxes of cards – from over 10,000 home care workers, from every corner of the state, wanting to form our union. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done since then to make progress for home care workers and the people we serve. And after many months and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on anti-union mailings, slick videos, opinion pieces in the newspaper, and lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit, these anti-union groups still haven’t gotten through to even a third of the number of workers they would need to convince in order to get a new election. That should tell them everything they need to know about whether it makes sense to keep up their relentless attacks on a struggling workforce that is made up almost entirely of women. We want a union, we know we need a union, and we’re never going to let a bunch of lawyers and special interest groups take our union away from us.”

The next step with the tentative agreement will be a vote on it by union members. If approved, it would then go to the Minnesota Legislature for ratification and then signed by the Governor to go into effect on July 1st.

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 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 35,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.

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Home Care Union Reaches Tentative Agreement with State of Minnesota

The contract, which needs to be ratified by Union members and the state Legislature, would increase wages for thousands of home care workers from $11 to $13 per hour, boost paid time off, and provide more training opportunities and new holiday pay

Saint Paul – Home care workers and clients who have been bargaining their second Union contract with the State of Minnesota announced a Tentative Agreement (TA) Thursday morning. The TA was reached late Wednesday evening after four months of negotiations. Highlights of the TA included:

  • A $2/hour increase in the wage floor, from $11/hour to $13/hour
  • Over $1m in State support for home care worker trainings
  • New stipends to reward home care workers for taking additional trainings that enable them to provide their clients with safer, higher-quality care
  • The first holiday pay for Minnesota home care workers (many of whom provide essential care on holidays that allows their clients to celebrate with their families), with time-and-a-half pay for two holidays
  • More Paid Time Off, building on the new benefit won in their first contract in 2015
  • Additional wage increases for workers providing support to clients with the highest, most complex care needs
  • An online matching registry, to help home care clients find workers and to help home care workers find clients.


HCWMeeting1_rsJim Carlisle, a disability rights advocate who has received home care services for over forty years and was a member of the bargaining team
, said the changes agreed to in negotiations  would, if ratified by the Union and legislature, represent major steps forward in addressing the care crisis thousands of families across Minnesota currently face.

“My wife and I both rely on home care workers in our day-to-day life. As the current care crisis has grown, we’ve seen the harm to families like ours across the state because of the lack of quality caregivers. I was proud to be on the Union’s bargaining team and to have a chance to help reach this tentative agreement that would raise wages, invest in training and improve benefits  to help attract and retain the quality home care workers we need now and will need even more as our population ages,” said Carlisle, who lives in West St. Paul.

Dawn Burnfin from Chisholm, a home care worker and mother of five who was also part of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota bargaining team, talked about why the changes in this Tentative Agreement would, if ratified, be so important:

“I am passionate about my job and proud of the good work home care workers do keeping Minnesotans safe and in their homes. The gains in the Tentative Agreement would begin to make home care workers feel like our time, skills and work are just as important as other jobs,” said Burnfin. “I hope elected officials who aren’t yet affected by the care crisis understand it may not be long before you or your spouse or your parent will need someone to care for them. When that time comes, do you want someone well-paid and well-trained, so your loved one gets the care they deserve, or do you want someone who is just passing through until they can find some other job with decent pay and benefits? This tentative agreement is a step towards fixing the care crisis we have ignored for too long, to make sure every Minnesotan gets the care they deserve.”

If the Tentative Agreement gets ratified by Union members, it would then go to the legislature for their approval. The final step would be having it signed by Governor Dayton. The negotiations took place in the months preceding the state’s legislative session in order to ensure that legislators have the opportunity to review the terms of the proposed agreement and vote on whether to ratify it.  Carlisle shared why it is so crucial for elected officials to approve the proposed contract and take steps to address the care crisis in our state.

“My wife and I have seen the best of home care workers, some of whom became like family to us. But we’ve also experienced the trauma that comes when there are not real investments in care work. Everyone who wants and needs it should have access to good, safe care in their homes, and by ratifying this contract the Minnesota Legislature will be taking a strong step towards making that a reality. Having people with disabilities and seniors remain in our homes doesn’t just make our lives better; it also saves taxpayers millions of dollars, compared to having us in nursing homes or other institutional settings.”

The Tentative Agreement comes as groups funded by corporate special interests to undermine the democratically elected Union were dealt yet another setback. Earlier this week the Bierman v. Dayton court case, which aims to strip home care workers in the bargaining unit of their ability to come together and fight to improve the home care industry, was rejected in federal district court.

 

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 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 35,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota.

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