Labor Movement

STRIKE: Elk River Guardian Angels Nursing Homes Workers Begin Two-Day ULP Strike

Workers make clear: “We are doing this for our residents”

ELK RIVER — Nursing home workers at Guardian Angels in Elk River began their two-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike at 6 a.m. this morning. The group of over 100 workers, who do housekeeping, laundry, dietary, health unit coordinating, nursing assistance, recreation and maintenance, are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The workers will be joined by community supporters on a picket line from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday on the public sidewalk outside of the facility (400 Evans Ave NW, Elk River). The workers plan to return to work starting on Saturday morning.

Elk_River_Guardian_Angel_Strike_rs_2Avis Lage, who works as a dietary aide at Guardian Angels, shared why she is out on strike to win a better facility for residents and staff.

“We are on strike for our residents, our jobs and our whole community. We are proud that our work has made Guardian Angels a 5-star facility, but we are disappointed that management doesn’t seem willing to listen to us and show their longtime staff the respect we have earned. We are fighting for safe staffing levels and pay that rewards the amazing work done every day in our facility so that 5-star work can continue into the future,” said Lage, who has worked at the facility for seven years.

Leading up to the strike, the group heard strong support from community and residents who understand that it is the staff’s hard work that has made the facility so well respected.

“We’re so thankful for the support we’ve already received and we want everyone to know we won’t stop fighting until management finally understands that it is the people who work here 24 hours a day that make this facility so great. It’s time they show that they value us more than padding the bottom line,” continued Lage. “We didn’t want to get to this point, but we hope those at the top finally get the message that the staff aren’t disposable and that if you don’t respect and invest in the people who’ve given decades of service to Guardian Angels, we could lose what we’ve worked so hard to achieve. We hope they’ll hear our voices.”

A recent news article noted that according to 2017 tax documents Guardian Angels made $1,806,640 in profit, with President and CEO Daniel C. Dixon being paid $226,658.

The group voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike earlier this month after their employer spent months refusing to make an offer that respects their dedicated workforce. The two sides have held over 10 bargaining sessions, with their employer unwilling to meet the group’s demands for safe staffing levels, respect for workers who want a collective voice in their workplace, and investment in dedicated staff so they can continue to make Guardian Angels a 5-star facility.

Jody Winter is CNA 30-year employee in the laundry department who spoke out about why she was out on strike.

“As someone who has worked at Guardian Angels for 30 years, I care deeply about our residents and my co-workers. It’s because I want what is best for Guardian Angels that I am taking part in this strike. We are a 5-Star facility because of the work that happens in our building, but when we have sat down over 10 times with management to try and reach an agreement on a contract, they don’t seem to want to recognize or respect the work so many of us put in,” said Winter. “The things we want — safe staffing levels, pay that honors the staff who have dedicated decades to this facility, and respect for our collective voice — are common sense requests and would be good for everyone. We had hoped that Guardian Angels management would do what is right and work with us, but they won’t budge and seem more concerned with their bottom line than listening to their staff. We wish we weren’t in this situation, but when you are fighting for what is right sometimes you have to make a stand. This strike is our stand for our residents, our families and our whole community.”

With the employer refusing to bargain in good faith, there are no new bargaining dates set.

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

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STRIKE DATE ANNOUNCEMENT: Elk River Nursing Home Workers Set Strike Dates

Workers at Guardian Angels to hold two-day ULP strike June 6th & 7th

ELK RIVER— Nursing home workers employed by Guardian Angels in Elk River filed their official 10-day notice ahead of Memorial Day weekend and have announced dates for a two-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike on Thursday, June 6th and Friday, June 7th. The group of over 100 workers, who do housekeeping, laundry, dietary, health unit coordinating, nursing assistance, recreation and maintenance, are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

Elk_River_Nursing_rsThe group voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike earlier this month after their employer spent months refusing to make an offer that respects their dedicated workforce. The two sides have held over 10 bargaining sessions, with their employer unwilling to meet the group’s demands for safe staffing levels, respect for workers who want a collective voice in their workplace, and investment in dedicated staff so they can continue to make Guardian Angels a Five Star facility.

Nicole Mellum, who has worked Guardian Angels for nearly 14 years as a nursing assistant and TMA, highlighted why the group will be taking this step next week to stand up for what is right for patients, staff and the whole Elk River community.

“I voted to go on strike, and will be out on the picket line next Thursday, because as a longtime employee I see how critical it is we stand up for our residents, ourselves and our whole community. I’ve worked at Guardian Angels for 14 years and am proud of the work my co-workers and I have done to make this a Five Star facility for our residents. But we are tired of our work not being respected and our experience being pushed aside. We want this facility to not just be a Five Star facility now, but in the future. But with the way longtime staff are being treated, and the way management seems unwilling to negotiate a fair contract with us, we are worried about that being the case. What we are asking for — safe staffing levels, pay & benefits that respect our tenure, respect for our ability to work with our union — are things that would help residents and staff. It is frustrating management continue to refuse to meet in the middle on what is best for our whole community. We care deeply about our residents, which is why we are willing to go on strike next week to fight for their future and ours.”

Pickets will take place on the public sidewalk outside of the facility both days and the community are invited to join.

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

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Minnesota Home Care Workers Bring Minimum Wage Proposal of at Least $15 to Negotiations with State of Minnesota

Proposal comes as seniors and people with disabilities in Minnesota face an ongoing care crisis that has grown to 8,000 unfilled job openings caused by low wages

SAINT PAUL – On Wednesday afternoon, at their most recent bargaining session with the state of Minnesota, the bargaining team for the home care workers with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota presented a proposal to bring all home care workers in the bargaining unit to at least $15 per hour during the next two-year contract they are currently negotiating. The home care bargaining team includes workers, clients and family members of seniors and people with disabilities who receive care services. (more…)

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105 Stillwater Medical Group Healthcare Workers Vote to Join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota

Victory Comes Just One Month After Supreme Court Case Attacking Workers, Shows Workers Won’t Stop Fighting for Better Lives for Our Families

Stillwater, Minn — Following an election Wednesday that saw 70% of the workers voting choosing to join the union, 105 healthcare workers with the Stillwater Medical Group became members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The group at the main campus in Stillwater includes CMAs (Certified Medical Assistant) (CMA), LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurse) and RMAs (Registered Medical Assistants). This victory came just weeks after the Janus ruling by the Supreme Court tried to make it harder for workers and their unions to build power in the public sector.union signs SMG pic

“I have seen what unions can do. With our Union we now will have more rights and more protections to improve our lives and the lives of our patients,” said Leah Buehler, a CMA at the clinic.

The group was part of the union until 2010 when their union was broken by a boss-driven decertification campaign. Within the last year the group came together to win a new union to help win a voice on the job, better working conditions and better care for their patients. They joined SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, one of the largest and fastest growing unions in the state.

“We don’t want management to make all the decisions and changes with no input from us anymore, or to have meetings after they have already decided something and we don’t get a say,” said LPN Satin Washington. “Half the time we don’t even get to go to those meetings because we are so busy we never get to take a break. I’m looking forward to us having a unified voice.”

Despite promises from the boss that they wouldn’t go backwards if they left their union in 2010, many in the group went from some of the highest paid in their field to having their pay and benefits fall behind other clinics.

“Every year we have been getting less and less.  When we had no union, management had all the power, and we had no voice,” said CMA Angela Peulen. “Now we have a legally binding voice as union members to win positive changes for ourselves and our patients!”

Despite getting pushback as they organized their union, the group remained united and won their decisive victory Wednesday that will set them up to make real changes in their clinic.

“Forming our union shows that we support each other,” said CMA Laura Boyle. “We were all separate before, but now we are together. We are united in our goal of winning positive change for ourselves and the patients we care for every day.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents over 35,000 healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

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Mayo’s Christmas Lockout of Albert Lea Workers Deemed Illegal by Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board

Albert Lea, Minn – Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found merit to the Union’s charge that Mayo illegally locked out employees over Christmas. (ruling attached) The union based its charge about the Mayo Albert Lea Christmas Lockout on the fact that, despite saying they were locking out over 80 workers because they needed to ‘honor contracts’ for replacement workers, Mayo in fact hired only a handful of workers – most of whom quit before the week was over. This left large chunks of essential work undone while Mayo locked out dedicated employees with decades of experience following the group’s 1-day strike, the first in the history of Mayo. The Christmas Lockout was the first time that healthcare workers had been locked out at Mayo and in Minnesota’s history. (more…)

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Mayo Albert Lea Service Workers Vote to Authorize 1-Day Strike

As Mayo continues to refuse to negotiate in good faith, workers vote overwhelmingly to send message that Mayo needs to treat workers fairly

Albert Lea, Minn — Mayo Albert Lea service workers who are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a 1-day strike if Mayo continues to refuse to bargain in good faith. The group, which includes 79 members who work as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), housekeepers, sterile processing and in utilities and materials management, provide essential services to community members who utilize the hospital. Over 92% of those voting approved the strike authorization, meaning a strike could be called at any point going forward with a 10-day notice. No strike date was set at the vote.

Mayo_clinic_stock_3_rsThe workers, many of whom have decades of experience, are simply asking for Mayo to bargain in good faith, something they have refused to do in the past few months. Currently Mayo is demanding a race-to-the-bottom clause that would allow them to take benefits away from employees at any time, regardless of the contract, something that is a non-starter for union workers. Despite recent news that 13 Mayo employees make over $1 million per year, executives are asking Mayo workers to take a step backwards so they can increase the hospital’s bottom line.

In response to Mayo’s refusal to bargain in good faith, Heather Olson, who has worked for 12 years as a housekeeper at Mayo, shared why people are willing to take this step.

“It used to feel like the focus was about our patients and community, and not just about money, but over the last few years that has changed. I used to be proud to tell people where I work, and would never have imagined voting for a strike, but for me, I voted yes to strike because it feels as if there is no other options. They want to take away everything and aren’t willing to show us we have value or meet us halfway,” said Olson. “It is hard to feel valued when they aren’t budging on issues that matter so much to families in Albert Lea. I’ve gone to negotiations and it is ridiculous seeing how they refuse to move an inch or meet us halfway. It is hard to understand and really feels like we have little to no value at all. It is definitely taking a a toll on morale. I hope this will help get them to understand that patients, employees and the community matter.”

Justin Yost, who has worked at Mayor for 14 years in the utilities department, echoed the sentiment of feeling like Mayo’s refusal to bargain in good faith has led to this vote.

“It seems like Mayo is cutting everything they can to save themselves a nickel. Doing nothing as this happens to the workers in our unit with hundreds of years experience at our community hospital just isn’t an option,” said Yost. “I voted yes to authorize the strike because when you work for a big healthcare corporation, you shouldn’t have to worry about not having or being able to afford healthcare. That could be a reality if Mayo refuses to budge on their proposal to be able to take away healthcare from employees at any time. I hope they will come back to the table and bargain in good faith.”

Service workers continue to push for Mayo to come to the bargaining table, negotiate in good faith, and do what is best for the entire Albert Lea community.

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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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Cashiers at Two Mayo Hospitals Vote Unanimously to Join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota

Rochester, Minn — A group of Mayo cashiers at Saint Mary’s and Methodist employed by Morrison voted unanimously to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The vote was counted Tuesday evening, with nearly 90% of the eligible workers casting ballots. All of the votes were to join the union. The unanimous victory was the third election of Morrison employees to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota within the last year.

The cashiers joined a wave of workers at Mayo hospitals who have joined SEIU Healthcare Minnesota following the controversial decision last year to outsource hundreds of longtime employees to Morrison, a move that was met with a pushback by workers, patients and the entire Rochester community. Since that time non-union workers have seen the power that comes with joining together to have a unified voice in the workplace.

Mayo_Clinic2_rsIda Bush, a Morrison employee who has worked at Mayo as a cashier for 23 years, shared why her group became the latest to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota following Mayo’s outsourcing move last year.

“I felt that we needed a voice at work, and I want the same opportunities that people in the union have had,” said Bush. “We all deserve to be treated fairly!”

Workers in the other new SEIU bargaining units have seen big gains and stronger workplace protections since joining the union. The new bargaining unit of 26 cashiers will send requests for bargaining dates once the election is officially certified.

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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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U of M Faculty Announce New Direction for Organizing Campaign

Faculty choose to avoid legal battle that would see U of MN spending even more taxpayer money

Minneapolis– Minnesota Academics United (MNAU) will not pursue an appeal of the Minnesota Court of Appeals September 5, 2017 ruling, which overturned the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) determination that non-tenure-track (NTT) and term/tenure-track (T/TT) faculty share a community of interest as employees. MNAU rejects the division of faculty resulting from this ruling and is pulling the union election for those faculty in Unit 8, the so-called instructional unit. Instead, MNAU is moving forward as one united faculty by forming a workers’ association.

umn_building_rs“Faculty are organizing for better teaching conditions for all faculty and better learning conditions for all students,” said Mary Pogatshnik, Senior Teaching Specialist in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.  “The university administration has opposed its own employees by spending hundreds of thousands of public dollars to miscatagorize instructional faculty at the state labor bureau and Court of Appeals.”

T/TT and NTT faculty filed for an election in January 2016 to vote as a unified community of interest and form one union on the Twin Cities campus. The U of M’s central administration objected, delaying the vote for several months by attempting to keep faculty divided. BMS held in-depth hearings to determine the proper bargaining unit for NTT positions, which make up approximately 40% of instructional faculty, and determined that NTT positions should be placed in the same bargaining unit as T/TT faculty.

“Contingent and tenure-line faculty are resolved to continue to organize as a unified group according to how education actually takes place in the University, rather than according to the priorities and norms set by economic advantages,” said Yuichiro Onishi, Associate Professor, Department of African American & Studies/Program in Asian American Studies. “This struggle of academic labor to defend and ultimately expand a truly public domain of public education is a key political challenge of our time.”

The workers’ association will bring together non-tenure-track and term/tenure-track faculty, something that term/tenure-track faculty highlighted as an exciting development in the new model.

“T/TT faculty in MNAU refuse to pursue unionization without the inclusion of their NTT colleagues. Instead, MNAU faculty remain committed to pursuing improved working and learning conditions for all students, faculty, and campus workers.” said Eric Van Wyk, Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department.

“In order to continue working as a united faculty, MNAU chooses to form a workers’ association. A workers’ association is a voluntary, dues-paying organization open to faculty members at the University of Minnesota.” said Anna Kurhajec, a Lecturer in the Department of American Studies. “Partly a response to the overwhelming attacks on organized labor in the US, workers’ associations are revitalizing the labor movement and achieving impressive victories, including at other universities. CTUL, a worker center right here in Minneapolis, for example, has won incredible gains by pushing for and winning a $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis, guaranteed sick leave in Minneapolis and St. Paul that will help over 150,000 families, and millions in back wages that had been stolen from workers through wage theft. We are excited to now be on the leading edge of labor instead of at the mercy of legal vagaries.”

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Faculty at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus are coming together to form a union for a stronger voice in shaping our University’s direction and priorities, our working conditions, and the future of higher education in Minnesota.

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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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