Labor Movement

SEIU Members at HealthPartners Ratify Tentative Agreement

SAINT PAUL – Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota at HealthPartners ratified their Tentative Agreement (TA) Wednesday with a strong majority after 15 hours of voting. The agreement came after a strike vote for a 7-day ULP strike, which was averted when the TA was reached early in the morning of Tuesday, February 18th.

UNION_members_rsThe contract saw wage increases of 7.5% over the three years, protection of union members’ excellent “Classic” health plan benefits, and overtime pay provisions protected from all cuts and changes.

Angela Knutson, a nurse at HealthPartners and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, shared why members are excited to win this contract and get back to providing quality care for all Minnesota families.

“We were able to win this contract, protecting our healthcare and increasing the pay for our important work, because we stuck together and were willing to go on strike to protect the care of thousands of Minnesota families,” said Knutson. “I am so proud of this group of dedicated caregivers who showed that we would do whatever it takes to win a fair contract that respects the frontline caregivers who make HealthPartners a world-class organization. We remain committed to standing up so that every family – no matter our job – has the healthcare they need to make sure our families are healthy and safe.”

The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, midwives, lab techs, physicians assistants, and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at more than 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier.

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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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SEIU and HealthPartners Reach Agreement, Strike Called Off

Union Members To Vote on Proposed New Contract Next Week

Saint Paul, MN – Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and HealthPartners management reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) at 3 a.m. this morning after 17 hours of negotiations. The 7-day ULP strike that was to begin Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. has been called off. The agreement came after a strike vote that saw 95% support for a 7-day ULP strike. The TA now will be reviewed and voted on by the 1,800 SEIU Healthcare MN members next week.
The full details will be shared with the membership before being fully released, but gains include:

  • Wage increases of 7.5% over the three years
  • Protecting union members’ excellent “Classic” health plan benefits
  • Overtime pay provisions protected from all cuts and changes

UNION_members_rsNancy Wickoren, a 31-year LPN at HealthPartners and member of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota bargaining team, shared the feeling of the bargaining team following the final marathon session. 
“Together, as a team, we worked long and hard to stand up for the health benefits and wages our families deserve. After months of negotiations, and an overwhelming strike vote, we were able to land on a strong tentative agreement for a new contract that maintains excellent healthcare benefits,” said Wickoren. “As in any negotiation, we didn’t get everything we wanted. But we are very proud of how our membership stood up together and fought back huge cuts and cost-shifts to healthcare and overtime pay that management had insisted on for months. The final agreement also includes improved wage increases in each year of the contract. The bargaining team is encouraging our members to vote ‘Yes’ to approve this agreement. They will have the next few days to review the terms of the tentative agreement in detail.”
Christina Bolk, a CareLine RN for 6 years, also shared her thoughts following the agreement.
“The members of our bargaining team want to express our deep appreciation for the support we have received from the public and our patients in this fight. It has been truly inspiring seeing how the whole community has come together to show support to HealthPartners caregivers. To other union members, especially fellow healthcare workers, we hope we have shown that by sticking together and organizing we can protect what we’ve won and win gains that allow us to get back to what we really want to be doing: provide world-class patient care to Minnesota families.”
The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, midwives, lab techs, physicians assistants, and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at more than 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier.

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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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Despite Overwhelming Strike Vote, HealthPartners Refuses to Budge on Demands For Healthcare Cuts In Multiple Sessions This Week

Union Members Begin Strike Preparation

Saint Paul, MN – Talks stalled between HealthPartners and the 1,800 employees who are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. Following a strike vote that saw 95% support for a 7-day ULP strike, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at HealthPartners returned to the table twice this week, including Friday for over 11 hours. Despite SEIU members’ willingness to reach a fair deal, HealthPartners lawyers and management refused to move off their demands to roll back healthcare coverage for the 1,800 frontline healthcare workers and their families.

The union members are now working to prepare for their 7-day ULP strike scheduled to start the morning of Wednesday, February 19th. The members will hold a sign-making session Tuesday night at Awaken West 7th Church in St. Paul, ahead of the walkout that is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning. (Formal advisory on Tuesday sign-making event to come.)

Cindy Sutherlund, a 20-year LPN at HealthPartners and member of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota bargaining team, shared the frustration members felt after management refused to budge:

“If HealthPartners doesn’t take care of their employees, how can we take care of our patients? We are the frontline caregivers who make sure our communities are healthy, but they are trying to roll back our healthcare,” said Sutherlund. “We don’t want to be forced to strike, but we know that if we go backwards on healthcare coverage now we will never get it back in the future, which will hurt employees, our families and our patients. We’re ready to strike if HealthPartners won’t take their healthcare cuts off the table.”

Nancy Wickoren, a 31-year LPN and member of the bargaining team, talked about how the Union was working to reach a deal.

“We came to bargaining this week open to make changes to get this deal done, but management are not willing to reach a fair deal. It makes me angry and sad. We want to be able to give good care and remain healthy,” said Wickoren. “I am not doing this for myself, but  for the frontline caregivers behind us. I didn’t realize how strong the younger people are in standing up for good care. I want to leave the next generation of caregivers in a place where they can continue giving world-class care for Minnesota families. We are united and ready to do whatever it takes to make sure we stand up for Minnesota families.”

The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including physicians assistants,midwives, RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, lab techs and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier. The strike vote was held on February 6th for 15 hours at five locations across the Twin Cities. The contract between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expired on January 31st.

HealthPartners executives have proposed huge cuts and cost-shifting to the health benefits caregivers have won over the years. The cost-shifting measures come after the Star Tribune reported that HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh received over $2 million in pay last year, while the company earned a record-breaking $7 billion in revenue.

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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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HealthPartners Employees Overwhelmingly Authorize 7-Day ULP Strike with 95% Support

Union files 10-day notice; strike would begin Feb. 19th if no agreement is reached

(Saint Paul, MN) – SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at HealthPartners voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a 7-day Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) strike for 1,800 members by a vote of 95% to 5%. Union members announced that a 10-day strike notice would be filed Friday and that if no agreement is reached, workers would begin their 7-day ULP strike on the morning of Wednesday, February 19th.

HP_Strike_Vote_rs“I have mixed feelings about today’s news. I am so happy to stand with my fellow union members who overwhelmingly voted to authorize this strike in our fight for what we need for ourselves and our families, and what is best for our patients. But as a 31-year employee and 9-time member of our bargaining team, after years of good relationships these negotiations felt incredibly disrespectful. I’ve been proud to work here all these years, but now it feels like they are putting profits over patients. We are making clear to HealthPartners management today the fact that we are united to win for what is right for our families and ready to get back to the table whenever they are ready to negotiate a fair contract,” said Lynch. “Over our four months of bargaining, HealthPartners has insisted on harmful cost-shifting and cuts to our benefits, while offering a measly wage increase that doesn’t keep up with inflation while HealthPartners made $7 billion in revenue last year and our CEO made over $2 million in compensation.”

Clara Boykin, a 30-year HealthPartners employee and also a member of the bargaining team, shared why she voted “Yes” to authorize a strike:

“I have always been so proud to work at HealthPartners. The health insurance we have won over the years has been so important to me and has allowed all of us to provide award-winning care. But these proposed rollbacks would change that. I voted yes to strike not for myself but for the next generation of SEIU members who deserve the quality healthcare we’ve won over the years to take care of their families,” said Boykin. “I work with so many SEIU members who I know want to build on the award-winning care we’ve always provided here at HealthPartners. But I know the great health benefits for ourselves and our families attracted many staff here and I’m afraid of losing talented caregivers if we allow these cuts to happen. We are united in protecting the healthcare benefits we’ve earned so we can get back to serving our patients. And we deserve a wage increase that honors the hard work we do every day. We are the people HealthPartners patients come through the doors every day to get care from, and we deserve to be treated with respect.”

The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, midwives, lab techs, physicians assistants, and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier. The vote was held Thursday for 15 hours at five locations across the Twin Cities.

HealthPartners executives have proposed huge cuts and cost-shifting to the health benefits caregivers have won over the years. The cost-shifting measures come after the Star Tribune reported that HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh received over $2 million in pay last year, while the company earned a record-breaking $7 billion in revenue. The contract between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expired on January 31st.

Joining the group was a local pastor and workers from other unions, including Kelsie Anderson, the Vice President of OPEIU Local 12 and 3-year HealthPartners employee. Anderson spoke about how the nearly 1,200 OPEIU members at HealthPartners are allowed and will be encouraged to honor any picket lines, a right they have won in their own union contract.

“We at OPEIU Local 12 love our caregivers and colleagues at HealthPartners. We are encouraging our members to honor the picket line and not cross.” This solidarity from OPEIU Local 12 members will bring the total number of workers not showing up for work February 19-25 at HealthPartners to over 3,000, if no agreement on a new contract is reached between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members.

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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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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Members at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Reach Tentative Agreement for New Contract

Agreement comes just days after members rejected previous contract offer and held a strike vote

Crosby, Minn – Just days after a majority of members voted to authorize a one-day ULP strike, members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and the management team of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center reached a tentative agreement late Monday evening. The agreement now will be voted on by the members in all 3 bargaining units over the coming week, with voting wrapping up November 6th. Full details are currently being shared with membership, but some of the main highlights include:

  • Across the board wage increases of 2% per year of the contract and numerous increases for overnight work, certifications and more.
  • Increases in holiday pay
  • Improved sick leave and vacation policies

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President and lead negotiator Jamie Gulley commented on the TA, which the bargaining team recommended for a “yes” vote by membership.

“The work SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members do every day to make sure CRMC patients get the quality care they deserve is second to none. Our members are the reason for the ongoing success of CRMC. We are glad we were able to move forward in many regards and know that the 600 hard working members deserve everything they won and much more. I’m proud this group pushed to win the gains they won for CRMC workers, patients and the whole community.”

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents 600 healthcare workers working at the hospital, nursing home, assisted living center and the ambulance crew. SEIU members perform nearly every job at CRMC except Registered Nurse, including: RadiologicTechnologists, Medical Lab Techs, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified SurgicalTechs, Paramedics, EMTs, Sterile Processing workers, Skilled Maintenance workers-carpenters/electricians, Business Office Clerical workers, Admissions,Environmental Services, Dietary and more.

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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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Elk River Nursing Home Workers Set 10-day ULP Strike to Start Oct. 5th as Contract Negotiations Continue to Stall

ELK RIVER — Nursing home workers at Guardian Angels in Elk River announced today that they have voted to hold a 10-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike beginning October 5th as their employer continues to refuse to bargain in good faith. 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 Union filed the formal 10-day notice of the strike Monday.

Elk_River_Guardian_Angel_Strike_rs_1Jane Gardner, a nursing assistant and TMA at Guardian Angels for over 14 years, shared why the workers again voted to go on a ULP strike to win what is right if management won’t work to find an agreement.
“Despite all we have gone through, we remain united in our values and committed to winning what is right for ourselves and our residents. After our two-day strike we thought we would see a breakthrough with management, but things just haven’t changed despite over 20 hours of bargaining. All we are asking is to be respected and valued and to be able to have a voice on the job through our union,” said Gardner. “We care deeply about the lives of our residents and work hard to make Guardian Angels the Five Star facility that it is our residents. We are just asking for that hard work to be acknowledged and respected. We want to feel heard and we want a fair deal. It has become clear that we needed to authorize another, longer strike to show that we won’t back down in our fight for what is right for workers, residents and the whole Elk River community.”
This same group went out on a two-day strike in June. They continue to push their demands of safe staffing for residents, union access to ensure a voice on the job and pay that helps recruit and retain the best staff for the facility. Despite over 20 hours of bargaining since the two-day strike, management continue to refuse movement on important issues the workers have highlighted. 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.
Before the two-day strike the two sides had met for over 10 bargaining sessions, with their employer unwilling to meet the group’s demands. The only bargaining session scheduled between now and October 5th is this Thursday, September 26th.

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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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Hundreds Attend MAC Hearing in Support of $15 Minimum Wage at MSP Airport. Not One Person Spoke in Opposition. 

Every single testifier at two hour hearing supported clean $15 minimum wage with no carve outs, exemptions or delays

Bloomington — Hundreds of Minnesotans came to the Bloomington Airport Marriott hotel Monday evening to support the proposed plan of increasing the minimum wage at the MSP Airport to $15 per hour. The speakers made clear their support for raising wages and also highlighted their opposition to any carve outs or exemptions like a tip penalty or CBA exemption. Over 50 people from the crowd chose to speak and every single speaker supported a clean $15 minimum wage.

UnionAdvocate_AirportBefore the hearing a group of airport workers hosted a press conference where they shared why they took time to be at the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) public hearing tonight in support of $15 minimum wage with no carve outs and no exemptions.

Roosevelt Muhammad, a single father, member of SEIU Local 26 and a cart driver for Prospect at MSP where he has worked for five years, shared what this would mean to airport employees.

“Despite being great at my job where I’ve won multiple customers service awards and working for an airport that wins national awards while bringing in billions in profits for airlines, myself and my co-workers are paid less than $11 per hour. With a more fair slice of the pie, I could expand what is possible for myself and my daughter,” said Muhammad. “We need $15 for all MSP airport workers, and we need it now. No carveouts, no exceptions. No more delays.”

Another worker sharing his thoughts on the proposal was Herbert Lubega, cook at MSP for Midfield and member of UNITE HERE Local 17.

“To make ends meet I have to work two jobs. Because of this reality I am rarely able to see my kids and family,” said Lubega. “One job should be enough. That’s why we need $15 for ALL workers at MSP!”

It is expected that thousands of workers would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $15 at the airport, pumping tens of million into the Twin Cities economy through wage increases. The city of St. Paul passed a phased-in $15 minimum wage last year, following the city of Minneapolis passing a similar ordinance in 2017. The MSP Airport is its own jurisdiction, so the minimum wage laws passed by the cities that border the airport do not cover it. Neither city included a tip penalty or CBA carve out in their ordinance.

Groups represented at the hearing included SEIU Local 26, UNITE HERE Local 17, IAM Delta Workers Unite, Teamsters Local 120, Jewish Community Action, TakeAction Minnesota, Faith in Minnesota, ROC MN, elected officials and more. MSP workers at the hearing do various jobs that make sure the airport runs, including: cart drivers, ramp workers, wheelchair agents, cabin cleaner, servers, bag runners, servers, car check agents, cooks and more.

The hearing came shortly after the MAC introduced a draft ordinance that would follow the lead of Minneapolis and St. Paul and raises the wage floor to $15 to help the airport address the chronic challenge of understaffing at MSP.

 

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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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