SEIU MN State Council
Media Relations Coordinator
St. Paul, MN – An Administrative Law Judge has ruled in favor of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota and Minnesota Nurses Association for joint Unfair Labor Practices the two unions filed against North Memorial Medical Center. The ruling, on behalf of the National Labor Relations Board, found the Robbinsdale hospital unlawfully infringed on protected concerted activity by union members and union representatives.
As part of the sweeping ruling, North Memorial was ordered to reinstate Melvin Anderson, a SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Executive Board member and worker in the Sterile Processing Unit at North Memorial, who was fired after a June 24, 2014 informational picket outside of the hospital. As part of the ruling, Anderson will be “made whole” by receiving back pay for all of his time lost over the last year.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley praised the ruling and commended Anderson for not giving up in the fight for safe patient standards in hospitals across the state.
“I am incredibly happy that the Administrative Law Judge corrected the wrong that North Memorial committed by firing Melvin for Union activity. By giving him his job back and paying back pay for the time they took from him, this ruling shows that workers can stand up for what is right for patients and workers and not have to fear for their job,” said Gulley. “Melvin, and all of the members of SEIU and MNA who continue to stand up for patient safety, should take pride that this ruling only reinforces their fight.”
As part of the extensive ruling (full list of the orders for North Memorial are at the bottom), the judge found that Union staff are entitled to have conversations in public areas and may not be intimidated or surveilled to prevent them from speaking to members. In addition, it states that union organizers cannot be banned from the property if they are not being “disruptive” nor can union members or representatives be prevented from wearing union shirts.
Per the judge’s order, North Memorial must also post the fact that they have been found to have committed these unfair labor practices and that they will halt them immediately.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota unites more than 42,000 healthcare and long-term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care throughout the state of Minnesota. SEIU represents more than 60,000 members across Minnesota and is a powerful voice working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans.
My name is Linda and I live in Crosby, Minnesota. I have been a home care worker for over eight years, and I am part of a statewide movement of home care workers and clients who are working to get our first contract ratified by the State Legislature.
I know how important home care workers are to seniors and people with disabilities across Minnesota. One client I had for four years asked me to spend time with them when they were passing away from their illness. For another client I was able to save their life by being there when they went into a coma.
But home care work is much deeper than these exceptional moments. I’ve worked incredibly hard to ensure that people who otherwise would be in an institution were able to stay in their homes and have the dignity and comfort that they deserve.
I believe all of my clients would tell you I am great at what I do, but home care workers like myself face a constant struggle because of the low pay and lack of benefits. I love the work, but sometimes I don’t get to take care of my family or myself because I have to work so many hours just to make ends meet.
I’ve had clients that I’ve had to drive 40 miles, each way, to take care of without being reimbursed. When my husband was injured recently, we were stretched incredibly thin just to pay our bills. My fifteen year old son wants to go to drivers ed, but we can’t afford the classes.
I would like enough pay and a chance for retirement, so I don’t have to work until I’m 100. I’d like benefits like sick days so I can take care of my family if something happens. It is a scary situation to be one sickness or missed paycheck away from losing everything. I recently had knee surgery and was supposed to rest for 2 weeks, but because we needed the money, I went back to work after only three days.
This has to change.
That is why we believe that home care workers and the people we serve deserve to live the lives we choose.
That is why we fought at the Capitol in 2013 to have the chance to vote for a union, and why this last summer thousands of home care workers voted yes to joining SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. Now, we are negotiating a contract with the State and need the Minnesota Legislature to ratify our contract.
We’ve fought so hard to make this work more visable, but we need to get our first contract to begin seeing the changes we so desperately need in our field.
I don’t want any more home care workers to have to quit because of low pay and lack of benefits and stability, and I don’t want any more home care clients to have to suffer from the fear that the instability caused by these conditions could undercut the support they need to live independently.
Join me in urging our legislators to ratify a strong first contract so home care workers and the people we serve can live the lives we choose!