Press Releases

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…)

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

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…)

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

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.

###

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.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

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.

 

###

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.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

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.

Elizabeth Glidden Headshot_rs

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.”

 

###

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.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

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.

FF_Strike_Sign_rs

“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.

###

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.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Community Members Protest Poverty Wages, Stand in Solidarity as Fast Food Workers Strike Across the Country

Rep. Keith Ellison voices support for low-wage workers

Minneapolis, Minn. – On Thursday, December 5 at noon, community members from across Minnesota will gather at a Minneapolis McDonald’s to protest poverty wages and call on Minnesota to raise the wage. As thousands of fast food workers go on strike in more than 100 locations across the country, here in Minnesota, community and labor groups will join faith leaders as they call for an end to publicly subsidizing large fast food corporations.

McDonals_rs

Rep. Keith Ellison released a statement in support of the striking workers nationally and applauded the Minnesota community for standing up in support of them.

“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.”

More than half of all fast food workers make so little they are forced to rely on public assistance to make ends meet. When tax dollars are used to subsidize large, profitable corporations, other publicly funded resources are shortchanged, including our public schools. Low-wage workers who led the charge against poverty wages last week by participating in retail strikes and public marches will join community members in calling for higher wages in Minnesota.

Protests in Minneapolis and Cambridge will echo similar protests across the country.

WHAT: Protest to End Poverty Wages at McDonald’s
WHEN: Thursday, December 5Noon
WHERE: McDonald’s1440 Stinson Blvd

Minneapolis, MN 55413

WHO: Anytrea Baker – SEIU Local 284 member, North Minneapolis ParentIsaiah Campbell – SEIU Local 284 member, former fast food worker

Rev. Grant Stevensen – Twin Cities Faith Leader

Andrea Williams – OUR Walmart member store #5625

 

###

Minnesotans for a Fair Economy

Minnesotans for a Fair Economy is a coalition of labor, community and faith organizations that are fighting for an economy that works for all of us.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

MSP Airport Workers March Through Terminal on Busiest Travel Day of the Year to Protest Poverty Wages


Hundreds march at airport, call on legislature to raise the minimum wage

St. Paul, Minn. – As thousands of passengers made their way through the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) today, the busiest travel day of the year, a group of about 200 airport workers and their allies led a silent march through Terminal One to protest poverty wages.

inside_msp_airport_rs

“During my four years in the company we haven’t gotten any significant amount of raise,” said Abenezer Madde, an airport worker who cleans the cabins. “I started at $7.25 an hour and now make $8.10. This is the highest it will go forever.”

Madde works for a company called Delta Global Services (DGS), which is contracted by Delta airlines. In addition to cleaning the planes, the workers are also responsible for looking for weapons on the plane after every flight, pulling up every seat to check under it.

“Before I started with DGS, there was a different company that cleaned inside the planes and they paid $11.00 an hour. Then Delta got rid of that company,” continued Madde. “We are not here today to ask some kind of special treatment. We are here to ask for basic human rights – fair wages, safe working conditions, and better wages.”

The MSP airport is the tenth busiest airport in the country on the day before Thanksgiving. This holiday travel is made possible by the thousands of workers at the airport, including approximately 600 workers who clean the planes and transport seniors and passengers with disabilities by wheelchair and electric cart. These non-union workers earn an average of $7.73 an hour with no benefits and are currently attempting to organize with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26.

“We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of holiday travel,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “But the stories you haven’t heard are the nightmares of the workers who make the holidays happen. As passengers pay more and more money to the airlines, wages and staffing levels continue to decrease. If you’re not paying for workers to make a living wage or for a better service as a passenger, what are we paying more money for?”

Workers marching through the terminal on Wednesday called on airline companies like Delta to end poverty wages. Many airport workers are at or near the minimum wage, even after working for years on the job. Workers also called on the Minnesota legislature to raise the minimum wage.

“Our pay is very, very low. $7.25 an hour, said Samson Yeshitla, a baggage handler who loads and unloads oversize luggage. “I don’t make enough for my family here, my wife and two children. I work a second job to make ends meet, which means I don’t have enough time to even seen my children. I leave in the morning before they wake up. When I get home from work at night, the children are asleep.”

Wednesday’s march at the airport continues a series of events led by the workers who make Thanksgiving happen, kicked off Monday by a strike at a local Walmart. On Friday, retail cleaners employed by contractors to clean stores like Target will go on an unfair labor practice (ULP) strike if their demands for fair pay and the right to organize are unmet. Following the strike, workers from across Minnesota will march to end poverty wages in Minnesota in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul.

 

###

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.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

MSP Airport Workers Protest Poverty Wages on Busiest Travel Day of the Year

Airport Workers and Allies continue worker-led week of action leading up to Black Friday march

St. Paul, Minn. – On Wednesday, November 27, at 11:45 a.m., airport workers who clean the planes and transport seniors and passengers with disabilities will hold a press conference at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to call for an end to poverty wages. Following brief remarks, workers and their allies will lead a rally at the airport, highlighting the need to raise the minimum wage in Minnesota.minneapolis-airport

The MSP airport is the 10th busiest airport in the country on the day before Thanksgiving, with thousands of passengers expected to travel to spend Thanksgiving with their families. This holiday travel is made possible by the thousands of workers at the airport, including approximately 600 workers who clean the planes and transport seniors and passengers with disabilities by wheelchair and electric cart. Despite the growing cost of air travel for passengers, wages and staffing levels for these workers continue to decrease; this hurts working families and worsens the service that passengers are paying to receive. These non-union workers earn an average of $7.73 an hour with no benefits and are currently attempting to organize with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26.

Wednesday’s protest and rally continues a series of events led by the workers who make Thanksgiving happen, building toward strikes, protests and marches on Black Friday.

WHAT: Protest to End Poverty Wages at the Airport
WHEN: Wednesday, November 2711:45 a.m. – Press ConferenceNoon – Rally
WHERE: Minneapolis-St. Paul International AirportInside Terminal 1 on east mezzanine level4300 Glumack Drive, St. Paul, MN 55111
WHO: Abenezer Madde – Cabin CleanerTeshale Gadissa – Wheelchair AgentSamson Yeshitla – Baggage Handler

Javier Morillo – President, SEIU Local 26

 

###

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.

Did you like this? Share it:
1 Comment

Congratulations Mayor-Elect Betsy Hodges

SEIU members are sending their congratulations to Council member Betsy Hodges after her exciting win in the Minneapolis Mayoral race. SEIU members endorsed Hodges early in the race, providing thousands of hours of volunteer time on the phones and at the doors. Read more about SEIU’s role in the Mayoral race from MinnPost here.

110613BetsyVictory

SEIU leaders and members were proud to join Mayor-elect Hodges at her victory party at 612 Brew on Wednesday, November 6th, where SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo introduced Hodges to the crowd.

110613BetsyJavier

Thank you to all the SEIU members who worked so hard to elect champions of working families across Minneapolis and St. Paul. We were victorious in nearly all of the races where members endorsed a candidate – SEIU members should be proud of their work!

The following is a list of SEIU-endorsed wins in the 2013 municipal elections:

Minneapolis

Mayor – Betsy Hodges

Ward 1 – Kevin Reich

Ward 2 – Cam Gordon

Ward 3 – Jacob Frey

Ward 8 – Elizabeth Glidden

Ward 10 – Lisa Bender

Ward 11 – John Quincy

Ward 12 – Andrew Johnson

Ward 13 – Linea Palmisano

*SEIU-endorsed candidates lost in Wards 6 and 9.

 

St. Paul

Mayor – Chris Coleman

Ward 1 – Dai Thao

———-

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment