Civil Rights

Workers Praise Senate Passage of Women’s Economic Security Act

Highlight positive impacts for working families in Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minn ­– SEIU members praised the Minnesota Senate’s passage of the Women’s Economic Security Act Wednesday, highlighting the positive benefits for women and all working families in Minnesota. A majority of SEIU members in the state of Minnesota are women, and workers recognized this bill as an important step, highlighting work to close the gender pay gap, protect women from discrimination in the workplace, and help improve retirement security for workers across our state. (more…)

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As Governor Dayton Signs Bill, Workers Join Minnesotans Across the State In Applauding Passage of Minimum Wage Increase

SAINT PAUL, MN –Today, as Governor Dayton signed into law the bill to raise the minimum wage in Minnesota to $9.50 by 2016 and index it to inflation, workers praised lifting the pay floor in Minnesota as a step forward for families in our state, but acknowledged that there is still much work to do. Recognizing the hundreds of thousands of workers who will receive an raise and the benefit this will bring to our communities, workers praised the coalition who fought for the win and the legislative champions who made it happen. (more…)

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House Passage of Women’s Economic Security Act Praised As Step Forward for Working Families

SEIU Members highlight work on retirement security

SAINT PAUL, Minn –SEIU members praised the passage of the Women’s Economic Security Act in the Minnesota House Wednesday as a great step in helping working families in our state, recognizing that when women and families do better, our whole state does better. Among the numerous strong provisions in the bill, members expressed particular interest in continuing to fight for a state-administered retirement plan that will be studied by this bill.  (more…)

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SEIU Leaders Congratulate Council Member Glidden on Bush Fellowship, Call on City Council to Address Racial Inequities

Minneapolis, Minn. – Members and leaders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in the Twin Cities are pleased to hear that Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden has been selected as a Bush Fellow for 2013. The news comes as a new crop of city councilors prepare to take office, after Minneapolis voters elected a historically young and racially diverse set of representatives.

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Minneapolis City Councilor, Elizabeth Glidden

“Our members are keenly aware of the racial disparities that divide our city,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “We see those disparities in employment, wages, and housing throughout Minneapolis. They supported Council Member Glidden in her reelection bid because they know her commitment to addressing these racial disparities. We’re proud to see the Bush Fellowship Program recognize her for that commitment as well.”

“We are excited for this unique opportunity for the Minneapolis City Council,” said Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “This fellowship will allow the entire city council to address each issue through a race equity lens so we can work together to achieve a fairer, more equitable city. Council Member Glidden has proven her leadership when it comes to bringing the whole community together to find solutions to reducing disparities. We congratulate her on this continued commitment.”

“It’s encouraging to see Council Member Glidden and the Minneapolis City Council taking such a strong, proactive stance on implementing a race equity agenda,” said Carol Nieters, Executive Director of SEIU Local 284. “Our members who work in the Minneapolis public schools see the impact of the achievement gap day after day. Those gaps extend far beyond the classroom walls, and we are heartened by the investment from the Bush Foundation in the City of Minneapolis.”

 

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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Minnesota Commemorates 50th Anniversary of March On Washington

Congressman Ellison leads Minnesota March as citizens continue the fight for jobs, freedom and justice

St. Paul, Minn. – As the sun beat down on the Minnesota State Capitol on Wednesday, nearly 200 Minnesotans raised their voices in song, prayer and celebration, just as thousands did at the March on Washington this same day in 1963.

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Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis) addressing March On Washington Anniversary attendees at Minnesota Capitol.

“Fifty years ago, men and women of every race, creed and religion gathered on our National Mall to declare that the scourge of discrimination could not overpower a nation dedicated to equality and freedom,” said Rep. Keith Ellison. “They asked our country to keep the promises made in the Constitution. The problems we face today may seem different, but we are fighting for the same goal: equality for all. The bravery shown by those who came before us fuels our drive towards progress and for that we thank each and every one of them.”

U.S. Representative Keith Ellison addressed the crowd gathered at the South Mall of the Minnesota State Capitol, following a mile-long march from Boyd Park in St. Paul. Rep. Ellison spoke about the need to increase the minimum wage as a way to address disparities in wages across the country. The minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, was $9.45 in 1963. Today, it’s $7.25 nationally and $6.15 in Minnesota.

It was one of many issues addressed at Wednesday’s commemoration, which was organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) African-American caucus, the AFRAM Minnesota Chapter. All across the country, citizens celebrated the 50th anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic civil rights march. In Minnesota, social and economic justice groups including the St. Paul NAACP joined SEIU-AFRAM and Rep. Ellison to continue the fight for jobs, freedom and justice.

“There are still many obstacles we need to overcome to realize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a more just society,” said Tee McClenty, Executive Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and member of SEIU AFRAM. “There are racial disparities in education, employment, and wages. We need a just system that protects all of its citizens.”

“Faced with a broken immigration system that tears apart families and allows employers to abuse and exploit workers, we, as a country, still have a long way to go to achieve the vision of a more equal society,” said Abraham Kone, SEIU Local 26 member. “America has a chance to honor the lessons of the civil rights movement by passing true, commonsense immigration reform that will allow millions of aspiring Americans to walk the path to citizenship and become full members of our democracy. Congress must act now because without reform, millions of immigrants will be relegated to a permanent underclass.”

“The March we honor today was a major event as our nation seeks to navigate the stormy seas of racism to land on the shores of justice,” said Carol Nieters, SEIU Local 284 Executive Director. “The legacy of the march on Washington was to give us the moral compass we need for this journey. We are not there yet. At SEIU, our mission is to ‘improve people’s lives and lead the way to a more just society.’ The role of the labor movement must be to help chart the way through waters still roiled by the injustice of great wealth in the hands of the few and great struggle in the lives of the many. For if we do not have a just economy, we do not have justice.”

The program included speeches, prayer and song, in addition to the reading of the historic “I Have A Dream” speech by 11-year-old Cherrish Maxon.

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings. The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns. By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans. The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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SEIU African-American Caucus Will Join Community Partners at Today’s “Hoodies For Trayvon” Rally

Monday at 6:00 p.m.,  members of SEIU AFRAM – the African-American caucus of SEIU – will join hundreds of brothers and sisters in calling for justice at the “Hoodies for Trayvon” rally.  The event is being organized by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Justice 4 Terrance Franklin Committee, Save the Kids, Idle No More, Occupy Homes, along with many other community activists. SEIU members will stand in solidarity with those calling for an end to racial profiling, mass incarceration, police brutality and a criminal justice system that allows people of color to be victimized time and time again.

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Please Join Us:

Monday, July 15
6:00 p.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
300 S. 6th Street, Minneapolis
#HoodiesUpMN

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SEIU Leaders, Members Celebrate as Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

St. Paul, MN – Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) across the country and here in Minnesota are heralding the historic 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court this morning striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional.

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“This ruling is truly monumental,” said Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “We believe in fairness, in valuing all people. With this ruling, the federal government can’t say that some marriages are second-class. This is an enormous step toward achieving full equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters.”

“The Supreme Court’s historic 5-4 decision finding DOMA unconstitutional is a huge cause for celebration for gay and lesbian couples and for all Americans who care about equal justice under the law,” said Mary Kay Henry, International President of SEIU.

The decision means that on August 1, when same-sex couples can legally begin getting married in Minnesota, those couples will receive all the same federal benefits and protections as their straight counterparts.

SEIU members were active in the 2012 efforts to defeat the marriage amendment that would have permanently limited the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Minnesota. They were also active in the efforts to pass legislation granting the freedom to marry in 2013. Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26, served as a board member for Minnesotans United for All Families during the 2012 campaign.

“Our members know that our society depends on justice for all people,” said Morillo. “To deny legally married couples the same benefits and responsibilities as straight couples is not just. I’m proud our members played such a pivotal role in securing the freedom to marry for Minnesota same-sex couples. This morning’s decisions show just how important those efforts were.”

“All of our members should be afforded the same rights and responsibilities under the law, particularly when it comes to employment benefits,” said Carol Nieters, Executive Director of SEIU Local 284. “So many same-sex couples and their families were not given the same rights when it comes to the healthcare we provide to our members, simply because our state did not recognize those families. It’s incredible to know that our state and our nation will assure our LGBT brothers and sisters get the same protections under the law.”

Mitch Azarcon, president of the Minnesota SEIU Lavender caucus, testified at the House and Senate committees in support of the bill. She is a surgical core tech at Rochester Methodist Hospital and a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

“To me, marriage is about love and commitment,” said Azarcon. “The vow of ‘to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,’ is a vow that should not be afforded to only between one man and one woman. It should be for all couples, and that includes gay and lesbian couples who are willing to make that same commitment with their partners. As a labor leader, I believe in the dignity and worth of all workers, and I will continue to fight for a just and humane society.”

The Supreme Court also ruled to strike down Proposition 8, the California ban on marriages for same-sex couples. In its ruling, the justices said there was “no standing” for private activists  to defend the law in federal courts after the state refused to appeal its loss at trial, meaning marriages can resume in California, but upholds existing marriage bans in other states.

“If Minnesotans hadn’t defeated the hurtful amendment last November, this morning’s victories would be bittersweet for thousands of same-sex couples here in our state,” continued Gulley. “Instead, Minnesota showed that we believe love is love, and that all people should be able to marry the person they love. Because of our efforts, thousands of same-sex couples and their families truly have reason to celebrate today.”

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings.  The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns.  By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans.  The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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SEIU Leaders, Members Call on Minnesota Legislature to Pass Marriage Bill

St. Paul, MN – As the Minnesota House of Representative prepares to vote on HF 1054 Thursday, leaders and members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are calling on legislators in both the House and the Senate to vote yes to legalize the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

In an oped published in today’s Pioneer Press, Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, joined other labor leaders in calling on the Minnesota legislature to pass the marriage bills this session.

“We believe in a fair Minnesota,” said Gulley. “A Minnesota that values love, commitment, and responsibility. Everyday hard-working Minnesotans strive to build a state that is inclusive and prosperous for all, with no exceptions.”

SEIU members were active in the 2012 efforts to defeat the marriage amendment which would have permanently limited the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Minnesota. Javier Morillo, President of SEIU local 26, served as a board member for Minnesotans United for All Families during the 2012 campaign.

“Our members have put hundreds of hours into door-knocking, phone-banking, doing whatever they could to secure the freedom to marry in Minnesota,” said Morillo. “Our members know that to deny justice and freedom to some people, simply because of who they are, is not how we do things in Minnesota. Our legislators need to pass this bill so that our core Minnesota values of fairness, freedom and family are represented in our state’s marriage laws.”

“All of our members should be afforded the same rights and responsibilities under the law, particularly when it comes to employment benefits,” said Carol Nieters, Executive Director of SEIU Local 284. “So many same-sex couples and their families are not given the same rights when it comes to the healthcare we provide to our members, simply because our state does not recognize those families. Our LGBT brothers and sisters deserve the same protections under the law, and we can move toward that with this marriage bill.”

Mitch Azarcon, president of the SEIU Lavender caucus, testified at the House and Senate committees in support of the bill. She is a surgical core tech at Rochester Methodist Hospital and a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

“To me, marriage is about love and commitment,” said Azarcon. “The vow of ‘to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,’ is a vow that should not be afforded to only between one man and one woman. It should be for all couples, and that includes gay and lesbian couples who are willing to make that same commitment with their partners. As a labor leader, I believe in the dignity and worth of all workers, and I will continue to fight for a just and humane society.”Rainbow Flag in the Sky

“As a state, we’ve spent years talking about why marriage matters so much,” said Gulley. “And we’ve affirmed what we already knew to be true: Marriage is about the love, commitment and responsibility that two people share. This year, we have the chance to strengthen thousands of families by extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Now is the time. This is the year. Let’s make Minnesota the 12th state to grant the freedom to marry.”

 

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 SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, child care, and the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings.  The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the SEIU Locals in Minnesota to increase the effectiveness of their collective bargaining and new member organizing campaigns.  By building the political involvement of approximately 30,000 SEIU members throughout the state, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans.  The State Council’s board is comprised of elected leaders, members, and staff of the four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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“We Are Minnesota” Rally and Day of Action

“No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof”  — Minnesota Bill of Rights

SEIU is urging all of it’s members to vote NO on the voter restriction and anti-marriage amendments this fall. We believe they will have unintended consequences.

Why do unions care about these amendments?   We care because unions are about the dignity of all people.  We are a movement that is about dignity and respect.  We fight for the dignity of our workers and respect for the work each member does.  We stand for civil and human rights for all people, because we understand that what diminishes one, diminishes all.

The purpose of this demonstration of the labor community’s support to defeat the freedom-limiting amendments regarding marriage and voter ID.  Provide tools for attendees to take action, from immediately following the event through November 6.  Although labor-sponsored, all are welcome.

Overview of Event

Meet at Rice Park (109 4th St. West,St. Paul,MN55102)

  • 12:30     Gather:  Live music, crowd mixing; information tables for amendments
  • 1:00        Program:   Welcome: National Anthem, recognize distinguished guests; Union leader on why we are here; Brief testimonials by rank and file members on both issues; Musical guests; Mass tweet/Facebook posting; Main speech from political leader; Call to action; Closing sing-along
  • 1:45        Follow-up:  Sign-up opportunities for volunteer action (phoning, door-knocking, conversation training)
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Voter ID Amendment isn’t “A Simple Thing”

The Voter Restriction Amendment isn’t simple at all. It’s a complete overhaul of an election system that works. It creates an unfunded mandate on local governments, raising property taxes. And it places hurdles in front of eligible Minnesota voters, especially members of the military, seniors and young voters. The campaign working to defeat this amendment has put together a video to explain why you should vote “No.” Click on the story to watch the video.

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