Press Releases

Adjunct Faculty at St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) File for Union Election to Join SEIU Local 284

Adjunct faculty at St. Paul university join wave of organizing in Twin Cities to improve higher education for students and faculty

St. Paul Adjunct faculty at St. Catherine University (St. Kate’s) filed cards this morning to trigger a union election to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284. The election would cover around 100 adjunct faculty. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will schedule the election for this summer unless there are objections from St. Kate’s administration. (more…)

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Minnesota Custodian Wins RISE (Recognizing Inspiring School Employees) Award, To Be Honored at Ceremony in Washington D.C.

Award winner will join school staff from across the nation today at a ceremony held at U.S. Botanic Garden

Washington D.C – Mike Poke, a custodian in the Wayzata Public Schools and member of SEIU Local 284, will be honored in Washington D.C. today as one of the 2017 Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award winners. The award is being given to five individuals from across the country who are doing extraordinary and inspirational things in their schools and communities to promote quality education, foster positive learning environments, and ensure student success.

mike_poke_NCCESEU_20170503Poke is joining four other award recipients, along with distinguished guests, at a ceremony in Washington D.C. at the United States Botanic Garden later this afternoon.

Mike Poke is a custodian in the Wayzata Schools in Minnesota. He is a member and elected officer on the Executive Board of SEIU Local 284, a union of almost 9,000 school staff across Minnesota. Mike began as what he calls a “regular custodian,” working the overnight shift to make sure the school was ready for students in the morning. But that changed about eight years ago when he was moved to the day shift and began having the chance to interact with students in the school.

He got to know the kids, especially those he saw struggling, and became a mentor to many of them. Students and parents called him when things were bad to see if I could help get students back on track.

“I didn’t have someone to keep me motivated when I was a young student, so now I work hard to be that support system for students who need a helping hand,” said Poke. “My mother told me it is important to always give back, and I bring that mindset every day in my job. These kids are our future, so we need to invest in them any way we can. I do the work beyond my job duties because it makes me feel good to see people I help achieve their goals.”

The National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions (NCCESEU), a coalition of state and national unions that together represent a million school support employees, gives the award. The award highlights the individual contributions of school staff and recognizes the essential role that all education professionals play in shaping our public schools.

There are more than 2.8 million classified education support employees in our nation’s public schools, colleges, and universities and they make up one-third of the public education workforce.  They ensure students achieve at their highest levels. They keep students fed, emotionally and physically healthy and safe, engaged and connected to the larger school community, and provide instruction and support that leads to academic success.

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The National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions (NCCESEU) is a coalition of state and national unions that together represent a million school support employees, including clerical and administrative staff, custodians, food service workers, health and student services workers, paraeducators, technology services employees, transportation workers, and security and skilled trades staff.

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SEIU Announces Third Wave of Minneapolis City Council Endorsements

Highlight candidates support of $15 Minimum Wage with No Tip Penalty amidst growing consensus on issue

Minneapolis — The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council, who bring together nearly 8,000 people represented by SEIU who live or work in Minneapolis, are proud to announce the third wave of endorsements for Minneapolis City Council. This follows their earlier endorsements in Wards 2, 5, 8, 9, 11 and Ward 10.

SEIU mn LogoAs with previous endorsements, strong support for a $15 minimum wage with One Fair Wage (no tip penalty) was a deciding factor in the endorsement as it shows whether candidates will stand up for working families in Minneapolis.

The Executive Board of the SEIU Minnesota State Council endorsed in the following races:

  • Steve Fletcher in Ward 3
  • Council Member Abdi Warsame in Ward 6
  • Council Member Andrew Johnson in Ward 12

SEIU Minnesota State Council President Jamie Gulley released the following statement about the latest round of endorsements, highlighting the wave of momentum for $15 and One Fair Wage.

“In screening potential candidates, SEIU members, like a majority of Minneapolis residents, have made abundantly clear their desire to see the minimum wage increased to $15 with no one left behind by carveouts like the tip penalty. Minneapolis winning this important fight would be a powerful step towards addressing the low wages facing too many working people, especially women and people of color.

“As we announce these endorsements, recent events like SEIU-endorsed Jeremiah Ellison winning the Ward 5 DFL endorsement are highlighting the new reality for Minneapolis candidates. It is clear that those who don’t strongly and publicly support this commonsense plan to address the racial and economic disparities in our city will struggle to find support from Minneapolis voters. Our families are tired of corporations and the wealthy getting everything they want from self-interested politicians, and people are standing up and fighting back. If elected officials aren’t ready to address what is needed in this moment, they should know that voters will find someone who will.”

SEIU is turning out members to Ward Conventions across Minneapolis to support SEIU-endorsed candidates and to push for the Council and Mayor to pass a $15 minimum wage ordinance with no tip penalty this summer. More endorsements in Minneapolis will be released this spring.

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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 workers SEIU represents 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 Announces Second Wave of Minneapolis City Council Endorsements Ahead of Precinct Caucuses

Minneapolis — The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council, who bring together nearly 8,000 people represented by SEIU who live or work in Minneapolis, are proud to announce the second wave of endorsements for Minneapolis City Council. Following their endorsement of Council Member Lisa Bender, five additional endorsements were announced today just ahead of the Minneapolis DFL precinct caucuses on April 4th.

SEIU mn Logo“In the age of Trump, working families in Minneapolis need progressive champions who will be fighters for positive, progressive change and will stand up to attacks on our families if and when they come. We are proud to roll out our second round of endorsements for the Minneapolis City Council for five outstanding candidates. We look forward to working hard to elect these champions so we can work together to address the harmful income and racial disparities in the city and make Minneapolis a city that works for all families, not just the rich and well-connected,” said Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Minnesota State Council.

The Executive Board of the SEIU Minnesota State Council endorsed in the following races:

  • Council Member Cam Gordon in Ward 2
  • Jeremiah Ellison in Ward 5
  • Andrea Jenkins in Ward 8
  • Council Member Alondra Cano in Ward 9
  • Council Member John Quincy in Ward 11

SEIU is turning out members to precinct caucuses across Minneapolis on April 4th to support endorsed candidates and to push for the Council and Mayor to pass a $15 minimum wage ordinance with no tip penalty this summer. More endorsements in Minneapolis will be released this spring.

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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 workers SEIU represents 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 Healthcare Minnesota President Urges Governor Dayton to Veto Reinsurance Bill

St. Paul – Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, released the following statement urging Governor Dayton to veto the reinsurance bill following its passage in both the Minnesota House and Senate.

“The reinsurance bill that is headed to Governor Dayton’s desk is simply a $542 million taxpayer-funded giveaway to insurance companies with no guarantees of lower premiums for working families in Minnesota. Our members working in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and home care all across the state know that we need to lower healthcare costs for Minnesota families, but a bailout for corporate insurance companies is not a solution to the problem of rising healthcare costs.

“Why have the insurance companies refused to provide even the basic assurances Governor Dayton asked them for, promising to pass these taxpayer funds along directly to policy-holders and promising that they won’t just take the money and run from the individual health insurance market? Why aren’t we extending affordable, high-quality MinnesotaCare coverage as an option to the Minnesota families facing high premiums and deductibles? SEIU Healthcare Minnesota urges Governor Dayton to veto this bill and for lawmakers to go back to the drawing board to find a real solution to the rising healthcare costs in 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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SEIU Endorses Council Member Lisa Bender

Minneapolis — The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council announced today the endorsement of Lisa Bender, who currently is serving her first term as Council Member for Ward 10 in Minneapolis.

LisaBenderWard 10 voter Kevin Chavis, who is a security officer in Minneapolis, member of SEIU Local 26, and an elected delegate to the State Council, shared why SEIU decided to offer an early endorsement to Bender.

“We are proud to offer a early endorsement to Council Member Lisa Bender because she has proven to be a true champion for working families in our Ward. She fought tirelessly for and helped unanimously pass earned sick and safe time for tens of thousands of families in Minneapolis, held the first “Workers’ Day” in Minneapolis that offered working people the chance to have their voices heard at City Hall, and she is a strong advocate for $15 minimum wage with no tip penalty, something we know will be a huge step to addressing the racial and economic disparities that plague our city. Lisa works tirelessly to build coalitions and find solutions to the issues facing our city. I am excited SEIU will be supporting her for a second term on the Minneapolis City Council and look forward to continuing to have such a strong champion as my City Council Member.”

More endorsements in Minneapolis will be released later this spring.

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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 four SEIU Local Unions in Minnesota.

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Home Care Workers Vote to Ratify Contract

St. Paul — Home care workers voted overwhelmingly to ratify the contract their bargaining team of both workers and clients who rely on home care services negotiated with the State of Minnesota. The mail ballots were counted Thursday night, with over 93% of votes cast in favor of the contract, which includes a $2/hour increase in the wage floor, new training opportunities to improve the quality of care clients receive, and other steps forward for a group of workers that voted to unionize in 2014.

2015 Scott_VivianNow that the workers have ratified the contract, it will go to the legislature for ratification. The final step would be having it signed by Governor Dayton.

Home care worker Dawn Burnfin from Chisholm released the following statement after the votes were counted:

“Home care workers, and the seniors and people with disabilities we care for, know our state is facing a care crisis. The low wages and lack of benefits have meant Minnesota families have not been able to receive the care they deserve. Our contract, which increases wages and paid time off, gives PCA’s time and half on two holidays a year, and makes real investments in training, will be a huge step in improving the lives of tens of thousands of Minnesota families, in every town small and large across the state by not only making sure that PCA’s aren’t having to choose between coming to work sick or not being able to support their family. It also shows that we appreciate the sacrifices they make and legitimizes the PCA profession.

“We know that legislators in both parties understand the need to care for vulnerable seniors and the disabled. That is why two years ago our contract had a strong set of authors from both parties. We look forward to talking to our Senators and Representatives to make sure they understand the vital importance of passing this contract, so that we can take a crucial step towards finally addressing the care crisis for seniors and people with disabilities in 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’s Largest Healthcare Workers’ Union To Representative Erik Paulsen: “Stakes Are Too High To Vote on Healthcare Bill Without Critical Information”

St. Paul – Statement from Jamie Gulley, President of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota:

“Congressman Erik Paulsen is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, making him one of several members of the House who are charged with marking up and voting on the most recent Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The markup process could begin as early as today.

“This is a significant responsibility with real consequences for countless Minnesotans, including thousands in the 3rd Congressional District. In the most recent version of the proposal publicly available, Medicaid costs would be shifted to states, putting seniors, children and people with disabilities at risk of losing their health coverage and endangering the survival of Minnesota hospitals and other key community providers.

“Despite these potentially devastating consequences for Minnesotans, the Committee may possibly vote without a Congressional Budget Office estimate of how many people will actually lose health insurance and how much the new plan will cost.

“With the stakes so high, it would be rash and reckless for Congressman Paulsen to take this vote without more information. As healthcare workers and Minnesotans who want good healthcare for our families, we call on Rep. Paulsen to postpone the vote until the CBO estimate is released.”

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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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Recently Unionized Twin Cities Big Box Retail Janitors Win First Contract, Show Path Forward for Working Families in Time of Trump

The nearly 500 janitors who are sub-contracted to clean stores like Best Buy, Macys, Target and others announce historic first contract that will bring an increase of $4.5 million in wages and PTO for working families in Minnesota

Group won historic union by joining SEIU Local 26 earlier this year after multi-year fight

Minneapolis, MN – Big Box retail janitors who are sub-contracted to clean Best Buy, Macys, Lunds, Target and other stores in the Twin Cities Metro announced that they finalized a first contract with their employers as members of SEIU Local 26. The group won their groundbreaking union earlier this year after a multi-year fight that saw them go on multiple 24-hour strikes and organize the first industry-wide union of big box janitors in a major metropolitan area.

The gains in the contract via wage increases and Paid Time Off include over $4.5 million over the life of the contract for the nearly 500 workers covered by bargaining. Retail janitors will see an average increase of 18% over 3 years, with many janitors seeing an immediate $1.50 raise. The vast majority of the group are people of color, with gains from the contract helping to fight back against Minnesota’s painful racial and economic gaps.

Retail_janitor_victory_rsThe gains won in this contract are the private sector stimulus that Trump and his billionaire cabinet promised, but workers delivered on for themselves. Janitors like Maricela Flores, a mother and grandmother who works for Carlson Building Maintenance at the Shakopee Target who has been part of the bargaining sessions, shared what it meant to win this first contract and to see gains during in this current climate.

“We fought hard to get to this point, so it means so much to have won this first contract. While working people are under attack right now from the billionaires in charge of our country, we are showing that we can win if we stick together and fight. Over the years we marched, picketed, organized our workplaces and went on strike multiple times, each time growing stronger despite facing long odds,” said Flores. “Especially now, it is so important to remember something we’ve said throughout our campaign: ‘When We Fight, We Win.’ Because we stood up and fought, and didn’t let anyone tell us we couldn’t win, we now have a contract that won big gains for our families.”

Lizbet Vega Lopez, who has been employed by Carlson to clean the Cub Foods in Brooklyn Park for 12 years, talked about what these gains will mean for her family during the age of Trump. Vega Lopez is one of the many workers seeing an immediate raise from $9.50 to $11 per hour.

“This was not an easy fight, but I am so glad we stuck together and now have a union contract that moves us forward. I hope others will see our fight and realize that no matter how difficult the challenge may be, you can win positive changes if you are willing to stand up to those in power,” said Lopez, a mother of 3. “We are contracted to clean the stores of some of the biggest corporations in the world, so it was a big win just to get to the negotiation table with our employers, and now we have won gains that cannot be taken away. We weren’t waiting on Trump’s empty promises and scapegoating. We decided to fight back and win changes for ourselves, and hope others do too!”

In addition to wage increases and PTO, workers also won: one to three weeks vacation, depending on experience, stronger workplace protections and job security, and guidelines for workload conditions when covering absences. The contract goes into effect immediately and will last three years.

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Around the country, airport workers are coming together in Airport Workers United, a movement of workers and their allies, raising their voices to make our airports safe and secure for passengers, employees and our communities. Contracted airport workers from major airports serve 393 million passengers yearly. By sticking together and speaking out for change these workers have won wage increases in Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Minneapolis, Boston, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale. Today, more than 85,000 airport workers nationwide have either received wages increases or other improvements, including health care, paid sick leave and worker retention policies.

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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 “MNPCA.org” 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.

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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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