Press Releases

Macalester Contingent Faculty Announce Union Election Filing

Joined by students and Rep. Keith Ellison in capping off ‘Contingent Faculty Appreciation Week’

macSt. Paul, Minn – Adjunct and contingent faculty at Macalester College in St. Paul announced today that they have filed for their union election to join Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284 as part of the national Adjunct Action campaign. The faculty announced the filing at an event with students and Congressman Keith Ellison that capped off a student-led “Contingent Faculty Appreciation Week.”

Adjunct and contingent faculty spoke of why they are organizing and how a union will give them a voice to improve higher education for both faculty and students.

“We’re coming together because we love our jobs. Right now, contingent faculty are vulnerable because we have no say in determining our contracts,” said SooJin Pate, an adjunct faculty at Macalster. “We believe that having a voice in the decision-making process that affects our lives will not only make us better professors, but will also strengthen the educational mission of the college, making this a better place for our students.”

Macalester students organized multiple events this week to show their support for contingent faculty and spoke at the event Thursday as to why adjunct and contingent faculty forming a union will benefit students on campus.

“The working conditions of adjunct and contingent faculty have a direct impact on my college education – when they need to go between multiple jobs to support themselves, I lose out because the majority of my Macalester experience comes from interacting with professors outside the classroom,” said Leewana Thomas, a Macalester student who joined the faculty at the press conference. “Some of my favorite professors are contingent faculty members, so of course I support their efforts to strengthen Macalester for both students and faculty.”

At the event Congressman Keith Ellison voiced his support for the students and faculty fighting to improve higher education, and shared a public letter he wrote in support of the faculty that stated his hope that Macalester administration would “take the ‘higher ground’ by committing to a position of neutrality and non-interference” with the faculty’s decision to organize.

Adjunct faculty, now the majority of teaching faculty across the country, typically have no job security, no benefits and low pay that forces adjuncts to string together jobs at multiple colleges and universities to make ends meet. At the same time, revenues and tuition have increased steadily over the last two decades while spending on instruction has declined – and it’s adjuncts and their deeply-in-debt students who are suffering as a result.

 

 

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, their own 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 Minnesota State Council Endorses Joy Marsh Stephens for Brooklyn Park Mayor

Cite strong experience and proven history fighting for working families 

Brooklyn Park, Minn. ­- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council, including 800 members who live and work in Brooklyn Park, is excited to announce its endorsement of Joy Marsh Stephens for Brooklyn Park Mayor. Following a member-driven screening process, SEIU members chose to endorse Joy because of her extensive professional experience and her proven history fighting for working families in Brooklyn Park.

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“After our screening, SEIU members enthusiastically recommended endorsing Joy for Mayor of Brooklyn Park. She comes from the business world, but she has the instinct and passion of an organizer. Members were impressed by her work leading the fight in Brooklyn Park to hold Target accountable for the local jobs they promised when the city granted them enormous tax subsidies,” said Javier Morillo-Alicea, President of SEIU Local 26. “As Mayor, her experience bringing together diverse groups of people will benefit all the residents of Brooklyn Park.”

SEIU members are employed in a variety of occupations at facilities throughout the state, including:

  • Hospital, clinic, nursing home and in-home support workers (SEIU Healthcare MN)
  • Public School support staff and early childhood education workers (SEIU Local 284)
  • Commercial and public building maintenance employees, security officers and other property service workers (SEIU Local 26)
  •  Minneapolis Public School maintenance employees (SEIU Local 63)

 

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, in their 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 Minnesota State Council Endorses Iris Altamirano For Minneapolis School Board

Members cite commitment to closing opportunity gaps

Minneapolis, Minn. – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council is excited to announce its endorsement of Iris Altamirano for one of the Minneapolis School Board At-Large seats up for election in 2014. Around 5,000 SEIU members live and work in Minneapolis. Following a member-driven screening process, SEIU endorsed Altamirano because of her clear vision for strong public schools that support all students in Minneapolis. As Minneapolis continues to face daunting opportunity gaps, SEIU members highlighted Altamirano’s experience and passion in fighting for equity in their endorsement of her campaign. (more…)

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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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Public School Staff React to Passage of ‘Safe Schools’ Bill

Members of SEIU Local 284 praise steps to improve lives of Minnesota children

Saint Paul, Minn – Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284 members who work in public schools in Minnesota praised the passage of the “The Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools” Act, which Governor Mark Dayton will sign today after passage in the Minnesota House and Senate. Workers in Minnesota pu
blic schools recognize the damaging impacts that bullying causes every day and were pleased at this step being taken to change the climate for students. (more…)

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SEIU Members Praise Legislative Agreement On Minimum Wage

Applaud inclusion of indexing so working families in Minnesota can catch up and keep up

SAINT PAUL, MN – After legislators announced a deal this morning on increasing the Minnesota minimum wage to $9.50 and indexing it to inflation, SEIU members praised the move as a great step in helping working families in our state. Members thanked legislative champions of this effort and expressed hope that this would be just one step in our fight to increase the economic stability for all workers in Minnesota.Raise the Wage_rsv2

“SEIU members in the healthcare field have seen the damaging effects that poverty wages have on families in our state, which is why we are excited for the agreement reached earlier today to raise the Minnesota minimum wage and index it to inflation,” said Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.  “Recent studies have shown the negative health impacts of low wages, a fact SEIU Healthcare members know all too well. Our members understand that raising the wage, and indexing it to inflation so it doesn’t lose purchasing power, will improve the lives of working families in Minnesota  who have been left behind for far too long. ”

“SEIU members want to acknowledge the people-powered Raise The Wage coalition of faith, labor, and community groups who worked so hard to make this increase happen. We also thank the authors and conference committee lead negotiators, Representative Ryan Winker and Senator Chris Eaton, for their efforts to put Minnesota workers first. Their work to ensure the economic dignity of all families in our state was noticed and appreciated by the members of SEIU,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “The coalition, along with legislative champions, worked tirelessly so Minnesota workers at or near minimum wage finally have a chance to not only catch up, but keep up, guaranteeing they won’t have to fear that their wage will lose value each year.”

“Our members in publics schools around the state know that the 137,000 children whose parents will see a raise because of this legislation will have a better chance to flourish because of this bill,” said Carol Nieters, Executive Director of SEIU Local 284. “Our members know that fair wages and good benefits bring stability to families, and this victory can and should be a rallying point for a continued focus on improving the lives of working families across the state.”

The SEIU Minnesota State Council, representing the four SEIU Locals in the state, was a part of the Raise the Wage coalition, which brought together community, faith, labor, non-profit and service-based organizations in the fight to increase the state’s minimum wage.

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in hospitals, nursing homes, their own 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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MNsure Success Story

Chaleena Hogfoss, a single mom from St. Paul, says the Affordable Care Act has saved her from thousands of dollars in medical debt.

Up until August 2013, Chaleena was able to stay on her mom’s insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26. Over the past three years on her mom’s insurance, Chaleena had three major medical emergencies – one was for her gall bladder and the other two were for reproductive issues. Each time, she was really ill, nearly dying at one point.
Chaleena says without the ACA extension to age 26, she would’ve been uninsured and would now be in medical debt for life.

Chaleena’s mom, Kelly Gibbons, has insurance through her employer, SEIU Local 284, where she works as a contract organizer.

Chaleena has currently been uninsured since August when she turned 26, which she says is a scary place to be in since she’s had so many health issues over the past few years. While she has worked at Taco Bell and other fast food restaurants, she currently is unemployed and looking for work. Recently she had another health incident which put her in the hospital. While there, an advisor at the hospital helped her complete the process to sign up for MNsure for both herself and her daughter. She qualifies for MNsure free of charge, since she is currently unemployed. Chaleena says she’s currently waiting back to hear the final word that her insurance is processed.

Chaleena and her daughter live with Chaleena’s mom, Kelly. She says even when she’s working fulltime, as a low-wage worker, she can’t afford to pay rent and the rest of her bills. Chaleena is thankful she can sign up herself and her daughter for insurance through MNsure, because she doesn’t know how she would be able to afford health insurance otherwise. With her medical history, she knows how important having insurance is for her family.

 

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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 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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Community Members Protest Poverty Wages, Stand in Solidarity with Fast Food Workers on Strike Nationally

Minneapolis, St. Paul and Cambridge among the more than 100 cities that saw protests nationwide

Minneapolis, Minn. – While thousands of fast-food workers across the country went on strike today, community members in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Cambridge gathered to protest poverty wages and show support for the striking workers nationwide. Nationally, fast food workers in more than 100 cities went on strike, with additional protests in more than 100 cities. In Minnesota this came on the heels of a week of action which saw strikes, rallies and protests during the week leading up to Black Friday where workers and allies called on corporations and state legislators to raise pay for workers and end poverty wages in Minnesota.

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“We stand here today to support low-wage workers because we are tired of seeing our community and our schools hurt by low wages,” said Pastor Grant Stevensen from Spirit of the Truth in St. Paul. “When big, profitable corporations pay workers low wages, those workers are forced to rely on public assistance. When workers prosper, the whole community prospers.”

Pastor Stevensen was joined at the McDonald’s on Stinson Boulevard in Minneapolis by more than 50 community members from faith, labor and community groups, many of whom expressed concern about the damage low-wage work does to public schools. Anytrea Baker, the mother of two sons, said as a food service worker in a Minneapolis school, she’s seen first-hand how public schools are suffering.

“As all parents, I want the very best for my children, including the best education,” said Baker, an SEIU Local 284 member. “I know that tax dollars that should be going to the schools are instead going to subsidize fast food workers. As a parent and a community member, I want McDonald’s to make fast food jobs into good jobs with living wages.”

More than half of all fast food workers make so little they are forced to rely on public assistance to make ends meet. While many claim that fast-food workers are teenagers, research shows the median age in the fast-food industry is older than 29 and more than one-quarter of fast-food workers are raising at least one child.

Isaiah Campbell, a member of SEIU Local 284, spoke about his experience working for McDonald’s in the past.

“Every time I went into work I worked hard. I took pride in my work. I also know that I wasn’t being paid a decent wage for my decent work,” said Campbell. “I expect that McDonald’s – as well as all the other fast food businesses – should pay their workers a decent wage. A company that makes billions of dollars in profits should pay wages that keep people out of poverty.”

Rep. Keith Ellison was unable to attend the events in Minnesota, but did send a message to workers through the protestors in Minneapolis.

“In the richest country in the world, no one working full time should be living in poverty,” Rep. Ellison said. “The movement against poverty wages gets stronger each time a working American bravely stands up. I stand with the workers walking off the job today because too many people working at fast-food restaurants are barely able to put food on their own tables.”

The protestors demonstrated peacefully outside the McDonald’s over the noon lunch hour.

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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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