Press Releases

Amidst Frustration Over Mayo’s Controversial Outsourcing Plan, Non-Union Food Service Workers at Mayo Announce They Will File for Election to Join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota

At 2nd informational picket, group announce that majority have signed cards and will trigger Union election

Rochester, Minn — Non-union food service workers announced that a majority of a group of 126 non-union Mayo food service workers in the Rochester area have signed cards, a move that will trigger an election for the group to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The move was announced at a second picket where Mayo food service workers, community supporters and elected officials came together to call on Mayo to revisit their decision to outsource food service to Morrison.

mayo picket 2_rsWes Keck, a food service worker at Mayo for 17 years and one of the card signers, shared why the group is in favor of holding the election and joining SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

“I’ve been a worker at the Harwick kitchen at Mayo for 17 years. In light of everything that has been going on with the food service workers at Mayo, my co-workers and I at Sodexo have decided to hold a vote to join SEIU Healthcare Minnesota,” Keck said. “We have a strong majority on board and we are going to file for a union election next week. Mayo is a big part of our community and we want to ensure that the patients, the hospital employees, and the community are able to be involved in the decision making processes of this hospital. We stand with the Mayo food service workers and we know they will stand with us going forward because we are stronger together!”

The announcement was met with excitement at the picket, which included Mayo food service workers, community supporters and elected officials. Joining the food service workers and speaking out in support of Mayo revisiting the decision to outsource the food service workers to Morrison were politicians including Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen, Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Erin Murphy, Rochester Rep. Tina Liebling and others.

There are two more bargaining sessions scheduled for next week on Monday the 19th and Tuesday the 20th.

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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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Security Officers at United States Office of the Inspector General Hold One-Day ULP Strike

Eagan, Minn – The security officers who are contracted to protect the United States Office of the Inspector General in Eagan are holding a one-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike today. To maintain profits, the security agency that employs the dozen workers at this high-security facility made a change in compensation that would be the equivalent of a $4.27 per hour pay cut. This move has meant dramatic cuts for the officers charged with protecting this vital building. (more…)

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SEIU Statement on Minnesota Supreme Court Ruling on $15 Charter Amendment

Minneapolis, Minn — In response to the news that the charter amendment for $15 minimum wage in Minneapolis will not be on the ballot in November, the SEIU Minnesota State Council, representing 8000 people living or working in Minneapolis, released the following statement: (more…)

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Hundreds of Mayo Food Service Workers and Supporters Hold Informational Picket at St. Marys Hospital

Rochester, Minn — Hundreds of Mayo food service workers and community supporters, including multiple elected officials, held an informational picket today in front of St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. The event comes as Mayo continues to feel heat from workers, the community and elected officials over their controversial proposal to outsource their food service workers to a multi-national corporation.

mayo picket 2_rsTheresa Burke, a food service worker for 34 years, shared why she was attending the informational picket.

“We do an important job at a very high level to make sure our patients have a good experience. If our jobs are sub-contracted, we are concerned that it will change everything,” said Burke. “We also are concerned about our families. If our health insurance doubles, will I be able to take care of health issues that come up? We are out here today because we believe the best thing for everyone would be Mayo revisiting this decision.”

The tentative agreement between Mayo and Morrison, which has not been finalized, has been met with anger and frustration from workers across Mayo and community members across Southern Minnesota. Their plan to push hundreds of loyal Mayo employees – and Rochester taxpayers — out of the company comes shortly after Mayo lobbied the state for hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build the Destination Medical Center (DMC), in no small part by claiming it will bring good jobs to the area.

Earlier this month a delegation of food service workers delivered a petition signed by over 1,200 Mayo employees to Mayo HR, and last week an ad ran in the Rochester Post-Bulletin showcasing the growing support of Minnesota elected officials who are calling on Mayo to revisit their outsourcing decision.

On Monday, during the first bargaining session between the Union and Mayo, SEIU offered a major compromise to solve this crisis. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley shared why this was a great solution to ending this crisis.

“It is clear from the overwhelming show of support today that food service workers and supporters are ready to continue our fight for what is right. We believe that our offer is a ‘win-win’ for both Mayo and the food service workers who are concerned about what outsourcing their jobs would mean for their families and communities,” said Gulley. “We hope that Mayo hears the voices of their dedicated employees and considers our offer to put this controversial decision behind us and move forward in our shared goal of making Mayo as great as possible for patients, workers and the whole Rochester community.”

Hundreds of workers throughout the Mayo system have been wearing “No Subcontracting” buttons at work highlighting that the food service workers who Mayo is trying to kick off their payroll have over 5,000 years of experience in food service at Mayo, with many bringing decades of food safety expertise to their jobs. This longevity, which most doubt would be possible if the lower pay and worse health benefits of a subcontractor were brought into the hospital, helps to ensure the health and safety of patients across the Mayo system.

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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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SEIU Outraged at Talks of Mayo Moving Backwards on Good Jobs and Quality Care in Rochester

Rochester, Minn — With news coming out that the Mayo Clinic is talking about a race-to-the-bottom plan of moving hundreds of food service jobs to a sub-contracted, out-of-state company, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley shared the outrage felt by many when they heard of this plan.

Mayo Clinic

“The Mayo Clinic has been asking for tens of millions of dollars from the state with the pitch it will help bring ‘good jobs’ to Rochester, but now they are talking about moving hundreds of good jobs to a less stable sub-contractor to help increase their profits,” said Gulley. “Workers in these jobs provide essential services to patients at Mayo, helping to make Mayo a world renowned hospital. We are outraged they are even talking about such a controversial plan, and will be fighting it at every step to ensure that Mayo patients have the best care, the hospital system is recruiting and rewarding the world’s best workforce, and the city of Rochester is a safe and healthy place to live for everyone, not just the executives of Mayo.”

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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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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.

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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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Minnesota Home Care Workers Praise Dismissal of Latest Anti-Union Lawsuit

St. Paul — This morning the United States Supreme Court refused to grant cert in Greene vs. Dayton, the latest defeat for anti-union organizations trying to undermine the right of home care workers in Minnesota to continue their democratically elected Union.

Robin Pikala, a mother from Fridley who is a home care worker, released the following statement:

“I am happy that yet another lawsuit trying to stop home care workers coming together was dismissed today. No matter how many times they try, we will not let any ideological attacks stop us from our goal of making sure ever person who wants to stay in their home receives the care they deserve,” said Pikala, a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. “While extremist groups continue their attempts to move us backwards, we will keep fighting for things like an end to the cap on hours that seniors and people with disabilities are facing right now that is causing issues for thousands of families across the state. We know that we have a lot of work to do to create the state we want to live in. We will continue that fight until we win our goals, no matter what roadblocks anti-worker groups try to throw in our way.”

 

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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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White House to Recognize Apple Valley Resident as One of Twelve National “School Support Champions of Change”

Apple Valley, Minn – On Wednesday, May 11, the White House will recognize twelve school support professionals from across the country, including Anna Angeles-Farris from Apple Valley, as “School Support White House Champions of Change.” These individuals were selected by the White House for their leadership and tireless work to ensure that students in our nation’s schools receive the support and motivation they need to be succeed.

Anna_Angeles-Farris_Lobby_Day_2016Educators, including school support professionals, often go above and beyond to meet all of the needs of students so they can achieve success both inside and outside of the classroom. The White House set up the event to honor and celebrate the incredible work of school support professionals, who make up one-third of our nation’s education workforce. The program will feature remarks by Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett.

Angeles-Farris is a member of SEIU Local 284, the union of school support staff in Minnesota, and will be heading to D.C. to accept the award. In selecting Angeles-Farris for this award, the White House released the following biography about why Angeles-Farris was selected.

As a custodian at Lakeville School District, Anna Angeles-Farris has seen first-hand the successes of early childhood education, and continues to advocate for additional support for such programs. Since 2005, Angeles-Farris has been integrally involved in the pre-kindergarten program, Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE), and has been a member of the ECFE Council in Lakeville, Minnesota. A lifelong resident of Minnesota, Angeles-Farris’ grew up a child of migrant working parents. She passionately believes in the need for a strong, nurturing educational system that helps all students reach their full potential. In addition to a variety of civic activity, Angeles-Farris is an advocate for the arts and served as a member of the Lakeville Art Festival committee. 

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event will be live streamed on the White House website at www.whitehouse.gov/live/ on Wednesday, May 11, at 2:00 PM ET. Follow the conversation at #WHChamps.

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SEIU is the workers who provide care and support for your family in public schools, hospitals, higher education, nursing homes, schools, in your homes 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 the approximately 53,000 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 five SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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