Labor Movement

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 “” 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.


 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.



 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 Presents Food Service Workers With Comprehensive Proposal in Outsourcing Fight

Rochester, Minn – Late Tuesday evening, after 15 bargaining sessions and two informational pickets, Mayo Clinic representatives presented the food service workers represented by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota with a comprehensive proposal as part of their transition to Morrison later this year.

Mayo_Clinic2_rsThe proposal addresses most but not all of the priorities that workers have been fighting for since the outsourcing news was announced this summer. The food service workers, many with decades of experience, have been firm in their demands that these jobs remain positions that support workers, their families, and the patients and staff they serve in Rochester, Albert Lea and across Southern Minnesota.

The bargaining team will not be issuing a recommendation for how members should vote, leaving the decision to the SEIU food service workers in Rochester and Albert Lea who would be covered by any agreement. After having time to review the proposal, members will vote on Thursday, January 12th and Friday, January 13th to decide whether to accept the proposal.


 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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National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Finds Merit To Charges Against Mayo

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota filed the charges to address Mayo’s “bargaining” tactics

Albert Lea, MN – On December 5, 2016, the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel determined that unfair labor practice 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. (more…)

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After Many Years of Organizing, MSP Airport Workers Win Recognition of Union

Air Serv workers’ huge victory at MSP part of national campaign raising standards in our airports

Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) – After years of organizing, including many landmark victories along the way, hundreds of workers employed by Delta subcontractor AirServ have won recognition of their union with Service Employees International Union, Local 26. They include baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, cart drivers, wheelchair agents, unaccompanied minor escorts and lavatory and water service fillers. (more…)

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Mayo Clinic Health System-Albert Lea Hospital Workers In Washington D.C. For Hearing in Labor Dispute With Mayo

Albert Lea, MN – Two Mayo Clinic Health System Albert Lea maintenance workers are in Washington D.C. today for oral argument with the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. The Union will be sharing details about the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges SEIU Healthcare Minnesota filed against Mayo Clinic around their lack of bargaining with the maintenance workers. The maintenance workers and community supporters have held two informational pickets outside of the hospital as part of the dispute.

The group has been working without a contract for over a year as Mayo continues to demand language that would undermine the workers and move the hospital and community in the wrong direction. The unusual situation of the ULP charges being heard directly by the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board is the first time this has happened in the history of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

“The fact that the General Counsel of National Labor Relations Board is directly hearing this case is historic for our Union, but not in a good way. This is the first time a ULP brought by SEIU Healthcare MN has been in this situation, which shows how unreasonable Mayo are being in refusing even basic negotiations with a group of workers with decades of experience,” said SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley. “Because Mayo continues to refuse to bargain in good faith with these dedicated employees, we find ourselves having to travel to Washington D. C. for a hearing to address Mayo’s intransigence.”

The two Albert Lea Hospital maintenance workers, Nate Johnson and Bill Johnson, will fly out Thursday evening to be part of the hearing on Friday.

“I wish Mayo would just sit down and bargain fairly with us, but they have so far simply said it is their way or the highway. I’ve worked at Mayo for 33 years, and many of my co-workers have decades of dedication in making sure the Albert Lea Hospital stays up and running, but Mayo continues to act as if all that matters is having more control and finding ways to make more money,” said Bill Johnson. “I look forward to the board hearing what is happening, and hope that we can get back to what really matters: bargaining a contract that is good for everyone involved so we can continue our work to make the hospital the best it can be for the Albert Lea community.”

The National Labor Relations Board General Counsel will also hear and consider argument from Mayo. There is no timeline for a ruling.


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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SEIU Expresses Disappointment As Mayo Informs Union of Intention to Sign Outsourcing Agreement Next Week

Union Brings Specific Proposal to Bargaining Table Around Protections for Workers and Community to Hold Mayo Accountable to Promises

Rochester, Minn — Mayo Clinic informed SEIU Healthcare Minnesota on Wednesday that they had chosen to ignore the community outcry in opposition to their controversial plan to outsource 700 food service workers. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expressed disappointment at this misguided decision while bringing forward a proposal at the bargaining table that works to hold Mayo accountable to the promises they have made. The principles, listed below, would ensure protections for the workers, their families and the Rochester community who depend on the talents of food service workers at Mayo.

mayo picket_rsStressing that they still strongly disagree with the proposal and believe what is best for everyone involved would be to keep the dedicated workers as part of the Mayo family, SEIU President Jamie Gulley explained why it was deemed essential to do “harm reduction” so that the plan, which has already produced unintended consequences, won’t further hurt workers or the employees, guests and patients who rely on the outstanding work that is done by the food service workers.

“This is a sad day for Rochester. It seems clear to everyone except Mayo executives that this plan is wrong, but they have refused to even have a basic dialogue. So we are going to continue doing what we have done all along: fight to ensure that these remain good jobs so that Mayo patients and employees continue to receive the excellent food service they deserve,” said Gulley.

“The principles we brought today are less ‘demands’ and more basic standards to hold Mayo to their word that these will continue to be good jobs that would allow for talented, hard working and dedicated employees to raise their families and do the outstanding work that they have proven capable of doing over the last few decades,” Gulley continued. “We will work at the bargaining table to hold Mayo accountable to their public statements, and while we acknowledge that this misguided decision is moving forward, we refuse to stop fighting for what is best for workers, patients and all of Rochester and Southern Minnesota.”

The principles brought forward by SEIU include:

  1. Any agreement with a sub-contractor in the dietary department must include: recognition of the Union, adoption of the Union contract and employment guarantees for all employees at the same or higher rate of pay and FTE.
  2. Dietary jobs at Mayo are good jobs and should remain good jobs into the future.
  3. Mayo’s contract with Morrison (or any future sub-contractor) should include the same or higher operating budget per FTE as is currently in place. This will allow employees to negotiate comparable replacement benefits to support ourselves and our families into the future.
  4. Promotional opportunities within Mayo should be continued for sub-contracted employees, including new hires, on the same seniority basis, that has been in place for generations.
  5. A fair severance should be provided to employees who transition to Morrison based on their years of service to Mayo.
  6. Any changes in sub-contractor in the future, or return of work in-house at Mayo, should include an agreement that incumbent employees are retained by the successor employer.
  7. Mayo employee benefits like parking rights, access to Dan Abraham center and volunteer opportunities should be extended to all sub-contracted workers.
  8. Any agreement should include complete and accurate reporting of sub-contracted worker wages to Medicare to prevent price increases on the seniors in our community.

The two sides are scheduled to meet again next Wednesday and Thursday.


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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Airport Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Authorize ULP Strike at MSP

No date set, but workers demand action as we head towards busy Labor Day weekend

Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport –  After countless setbacks because of employer recalcitrance, airport workers fighting for $15 and the right to form a union at MSP voted overwhelmingly to authorize an Unfair Labor Practice strike if no progress is made with their employer to end retaliation and win better work conditions and the right to form a union.  Airport workers announced the results at a meeting of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), and held signs saying they were “Ready to Strike.” No date was set for a possible strike, but workers showed that they are tired of retaliation and low pay, and hope to see movement by the busy Labor Day weekend. (more…)

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Union Files Formal Complaint on Mayo Outsourcing Plan, Highlight Apparent Conflict of Interest by Executive

Call for full public investigation and reversal of outsourcing decision

Rochester, Minn — SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, the union that represents many of the food service workers that Mayo wants to outsource to a multi-national corporation, filed a formal complaint Monday regarding an apparent conflict of interest that was not disclosed when Mayo announced the plan on June 30th. The formal complaint, called a “grievance,” was filed with Mayo on Monday, August 1st. (more…)

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Home Care Workers and Clients Express Outrage That Governor and Legislature Ignore Care Crisis

St. Paul — Despite clear evidence of a crisis facing home care workers and the seniors and people with disabilities they serve, the governor and legislature chose not to fund desperately needed overtime pay for home care workers this legislative session. This failure to support families across the state came despite months of advocacy from home care workers and clients. The funding would have helped provide the care needed for thousands of families across the state to stay in their homes, since thousands of workers’ hours were capped at 40 late last year. It also was a step needed to bring the state into compliance with federal law, under new Fair Labor Standards Act rules that went into effect in October 2015.

Caregiver crisis_1463269145509_2280856_ver1.0-2Sumer Spika, a mother and home care worker from St. Paul, highlighted why ignoring this crisis is such an outrage.

“With hours currently capped at 40, many home care workers have had to cut back hours of clients we care for, creating a situation that is harmful to their care and puts them at risk of having to leave their homes,” said Spika, a member and Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota . “We do this work because we love helping people be able to stay in their homes. We also need, as workers, to be able to provide for our families. We often say that home care workers have come together to be ‘Invisible No More,’ but the governor and legislators are treating both home care workers and the seniors and people with disabilities we serve as invisible, ignoring their duty to fix this crisis.”

“This situation was created in the 1930s, when racism and sexism led elected officials to exclude care jobs, done predominantly by women of color, from the basic rights of workers established as part of the New Deal. Now, with continued inaction, thousands of families across the state will have to face the effects of this crisis. We  are profoundly disappointed by this failure of duty, and this will only serve to motivate us to fight harder against discrimination – against people with disabilities and seniors, against women, and against people of color — and for the basic rights we as workers deserve.”

Home care consumers shared the frustration of home care workers that elected officials ignored this crisis.

“I’m so disappointed that the governor and legislature refused to listen to our voices and allocate the funding needed to support families like mine. Home care workers provide the support I need so I can live an independent life, and the hour cap is making that very difficult if not impossible for me and my family,” said Nikki Villavicencio, a home care client from Maplewood. “Thousands of additional families are discovering each year the need for quality home care. By neglecting to address this crisis, elected officials have only made things worse. We will continue to advocate for making home care jobs as strong as they can be, so that everyone who wants to stay in their home gets the care they deserve.”


Home care workers will begin working this summer on priorities for their next contract, which will be negotiated beginning this fall with the State of Minnesota.


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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