Press Releases

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Members at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Reach Tentative Agreement for New Contract

Agreement comes just days after members rejected previous contract offer and held a strike vote

Crosby, Minn – Just days after a majority of members voted to authorize a one-day ULP strike, members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and the management team of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center reached a tentative agreement late Monday evening. The agreement now will be voted on by the members in all 3 bargaining units over the coming week, with voting wrapping up November 6th. Full details are currently being shared with membership, but some of the main highlights include:

  • Across the board wage increases of 2% per year of the contract and numerous increases for overnight work, certifications and more.
  • Increases in holiday pay
  • Improved sick leave and vacation policies

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President and lead negotiator Jamie Gulley commented on the TA, which the bargaining team recommended for a “yes” vote by membership.

“The work SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members do every day to make sure CRMC patients get the quality care they deserve is second to none. Our members are the reason for the ongoing success of CRMC. We are glad we were able to move forward in many regards and know that the 600 hard working members deserve everything they won and much more. I’m proud this group pushed to win the gains they won for CRMC workers, patients and the whole community.”

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents 600 healthcare workers working at the hospital, nursing home, assisted living center and the ambulance crew. SEIU members perform nearly every job at CRMC except Registered Nurse, including: RadiologicTechnologists, Medical Lab Techs, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified SurgicalTechs, Paramedics, EMTs, Sterile Processing workers, Skilled Maintenance workers-carpenters/electricians, Business Office Clerical workers, Admissions,Environmental Services, Dietary and more.

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota

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Crosby Healthcare Workers Announce Strike Authorization

Workers at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center vote to authorize a strike if bargaining committee is unable to reach deal with management

CROSBY, MINN — Healthcare workers employed by Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby have voted to authorize a strike if the bargaining team is unable to reach a tentative agreement with management. The two sides bargained seven times over the last three months, including Monday, and remain divided on key issues. More than 90% of members voted to reject the employer’s proposals and a majority voted to authorize a one-day ULP strike if called by the bargaining committee. There is no strike date set. There must be a 10-day notice before any strike would begin. An update will be shared if a 10-day notice is filed.

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The bargaining team have pushed for higher pay, better benefits and strengthened retirement security to help make sure CRMC continues to recruit and retain the right people to provide high-quality care for patients in the Crosby area.

Roseanne Mackenthun, a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota on the bargaining team and a phlebotomist for 15 years at CRMC, shared her reason for taking this vote.

“I voted to strike because it is time that management shows that they value the people who work in the buildings as much as they value the fancy new facilities they keep building. We care for everyone who walks through our doors, but too many staff are struggling to care for our families,” said Mackenthun. “We are fighting for better wages, benefits and pensions so we can recruit and retain the best staff for our patients. All of us are part of this community and simply want to be valued for what we do every day to make CRMC the best it can be.”

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota

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Massive Wage Theft Scheme Alleged at Downtown St. Paul Buildings Run by Madison Equities

Tenants in buildings where wage theft is alleged include state agencies like DEED

SAINT PAUL – Saint Paul security officers have brought wage theft complaints to the office of the Minnesota Attorney General around an alleged wage theft scheme that took thousands of dollars of wages from workers. The complaint alleges the Madison Equities had employees work 40 hours under one company and then had them “work” for a different “company” for time that should have been overtime time-and-a-half pay. The complaint alleges that workers were unpaid by many thousand of dollars.

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Multiple employees, both current and former, have provided evidence of the scheme to the AG’s office. The workers are currently non-union but have been working to join SEIU Local 26 to try and improve conditions for workers in St. Paul. In addition to the overtime issues, the group has also faced issues around being forced to provide a doctor’s note if they use their earned sick and safe time, which is against the rules based on the 2017 ordinance passed in St. Paul.

Tenants in Madison Equities buildings include multiple state agencies, including Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), whose lease is currently up for negotiations.

“The type of behavior alleged to be happening by Madison Equities has no place in St. Paul or anywhere else in Minnesota,” said SEIU Local 26 President Iris Altamirano. “It shouldn’t be a question that people are paid the correct amount for all of the hours that they work, and that they should be able to use sick time that they have accrued. I’m glad these workers are standing up for what is right, and I hope tenants like DEED are paying attention to what is happening to the security officers in their buildings.”

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SEIU Local 26 is Minnesota’s Property Services Union, uniting more than 4,200 janitors, 1000 security officers, airport workers and window cleaners in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. SEIU unites more than 225,000 property services workers nationally and over 1.9 million including workers in healthcare and the public sector.

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Guardian Angels Workers in Elk River Avoid Strike, Reach Agreement on New Contract

Elk River, MINN – Following a two-day ULP strike in June and just a week after members voted to hold a 10-day ULP strike if no agreement could be reached, members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and management at Guardian Angels reached an agreement Friday on a Tentative Agreement for a new three-year contract.
Guardian_Angels_ballot_rsMembers voted overwhelmingly to ratify the proposal Monday. Important gains included pay increases of 7.5% over next two years (with retro pay for time since contract expired), winning Union access for members to have a voice on the job for the first time in 30 years, improvements on staffing and hiring bonuses to address staffing shortages.
The bargaining team released the following statement following the membership voting to approve the agreement.
“After a long and drawn-out fight, we voted to approve our contract today and won an important victory for workers, residents and our whole community. We are so proud that we won the right to have union access, retro pay and pay increases that will help recruit and retain the staff that make this the Five Star facility that it is. We learned through the last six months that SEIU’s saying is true: When We Fight, We Win!”
 
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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.
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Elk River Nursing Home Workers Set 10-day ULP Strike to Start Oct. 5th as Contract Negotiations Continue to Stall

ELK RIVER — Nursing home workers at Guardian Angels in Elk River announced today that they have voted to hold a 10-day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike beginning October 5th as their employer continues to refuse to bargain in good faith. The group of over 100 workers, who do housekeeping, laundry, dietary, health unit coordinating, nursing assistance, recreation and maintenance, are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. The Union filed the formal 10-day notice of the strike Monday.

Elk_River_Guardian_Angel_Strike_rs_1Jane Gardner, a nursing assistant and TMA at Guardian Angels for over 14 years, shared why the workers again voted to go on a ULP strike to win what is right if management won’t work to find an agreement.
“Despite all we have gone through, we remain united in our values and committed to winning what is right for ourselves and our residents. After our two-day strike we thought we would see a breakthrough with management, but things just haven’t changed despite over 20 hours of bargaining. All we are asking is to be respected and valued and to be able to have a voice on the job through our union,” said Gardner. “We care deeply about the lives of our residents and work hard to make Guardian Angels the Five Star facility that it is our residents. We are just asking for that hard work to be acknowledged and respected. We want to feel heard and we want a fair deal. It has become clear that we needed to authorize another, longer strike to show that we won’t back down in our fight for what is right for workers, residents and the whole Elk River community.”
This same group went out on a two-day strike in June. They continue to push their demands of safe staffing for residents, union access to ensure a voice on the job and pay that helps recruit and retain the best staff for the facility. Despite over 20 hours of bargaining since the two-day strike, management continue to refuse movement on important issues the workers have highlighted. A recent news article noted that according to 2017 tax documents Guardian Angels made $1,806,640 in profit, with President and CEO Daniel C. Dixon being paid $226,658.
Before the two-day strike the two sides had met for over 10 bargaining sessions, with their employer unwilling to meet the group’s demands. The only bargaining session scheduled between now and October 5th is this Thursday, September 26th.

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

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Hundreds Attend MAC Hearing in Support of $15 Minimum Wage at MSP Airport. Not One Person Spoke in Opposition. 

Every single testifier at two hour hearing supported clean $15 minimum wage with no carve outs, exemptions or delays

Bloomington — Hundreds of Minnesotans came to the Bloomington Airport Marriott hotel Monday evening to support the proposed plan of increasing the minimum wage at the MSP Airport to $15 per hour. The speakers made clear their support for raising wages and also highlighted their opposition to any carve outs or exemptions like a tip penalty or CBA exemption. Over 50 people from the crowd chose to speak and every single speaker supported a clean $15 minimum wage.

UnionAdvocate_AirportBefore the hearing a group of airport workers hosted a press conference where they shared why they took time to be at the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) public hearing tonight in support of $15 minimum wage with no carve outs and no exemptions.

Roosevelt Muhammad, a single father, member of SEIU Local 26 and a cart driver for Prospect at MSP where he has worked for five years, shared what this would mean to airport employees.

“Despite being great at my job where I’ve won multiple customers service awards and working for an airport that wins national awards while bringing in billions in profits for airlines, myself and my co-workers are paid less than $11 per hour. With a more fair slice of the pie, I could expand what is possible for myself and my daughter,” said Muhammad. “We need $15 for all MSP airport workers, and we need it now. No carveouts, no exceptions. No more delays.”

Another worker sharing his thoughts on the proposal was Herbert Lubega, cook at MSP for Midfield and member of UNITE HERE Local 17.

“To make ends meet I have to work two jobs. Because of this reality I am rarely able to see my kids and family,” said Lubega. “One job should be enough. That’s why we need $15 for ALL workers at MSP!”

It is expected that thousands of workers would benefit from raising the minimum wage to $15 at the airport, pumping tens of million into the Twin Cities economy through wage increases. The city of St. Paul passed a phased-in $15 minimum wage last year, following the city of Minneapolis passing a similar ordinance in 2017. The MSP Airport is its own jurisdiction, so the minimum wage laws passed by the cities that border the airport do not cover it. Neither city included a tip penalty or CBA carve out in their ordinance.

Groups represented at the hearing included SEIU Local 26, UNITE HERE Local 17, IAM Delta Workers Unite, Teamsters Local 120, Jewish Community Action, TakeAction Minnesota, Faith in Minnesota, ROC MN, elected officials and more. MSP workers at the hearing do various jobs that make sure the airport runs, including: cart drivers, ramp workers, wheelchair agents, cabin cleaner, servers, bag runners, servers, car check agents, cooks and more.

The hearing came shortly after the MAC introduced a draft ordinance that would follow the lead of Minneapolis and St. Paul and raises the wage floor to $15 to help the airport address the chronic challenge of understaffing at MSP.

 

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Statement from SEIU EVP Lisa Weed on Being Appointed to Governor Walz’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services

SAINT PAUL – SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Executive Vice President Lisa Weed released the following statement after it was announced that she was appointed to Governor Walz’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services:

 

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“As a nurse and elected leader in a healthcare union representing over 35,000 workers, I am proud to be appointed by Governor Walz to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services. I will use my experience as a nurse and union leader, along with the voices of SEIU members from across our state, to fight for Minnesota patients, nursing home residents and home care clients. When making decisions that will affect families across Minnesota like this Commission will be doing, it is critical that we have the voices of healthcare workers from the hospital, clinic, nursing home and home care fields at the table. Too often, critical decisions about the services we provide get made by insurance companies and providers who focus first and foremost on protecting their profits. As a nurse I have experience keeping Minnesotans safe and healthy. I will use that experience to ensure regular Minnesotans are heard and advocated for in this process. I am honored by Governor Walz’s appointment, and I look forward to making sure the work of this commission helps Minnesotans improve and strengthen our Health and Human Services departments so every Minnesotan – no matter our race, wealth or zip code – can live a safe and healthy life.”

BIO: Lisa Weed joined the labor movement in 2003 by organizing a union where she worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse at Infinia Owatonna Nursing Home. Lisa was actively involved with SEIU HCMN as a member organizer and in October 2004 moved into a position as an external organizer. In 2007, she was an Internal Organizer, and in 2012, became the Long Term Care Director. Lisa has been an Executive Vice President since January 2013. She was appointed by the Executive Board in 2013 and elected by the membership the following year. In 2014, Lisa became the Southeast Sector Director. She currently serves on the Department of Labor’s Rehabilitation and Review Panel, as a Labor Member, and sits on the Health Professionals Services Program Advisory Committee. She is a Board Member of TakeAction Minnesota and sits on the General Board of the Minnesota AFL-CIO.
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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota represents healthcare and long term care workers in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home care across Minnesota.

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SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Member James Holt, Jr. Responds to GOP Insulin Proposal

SAINT PAUL – Following the Senate Republicans announcing their plans to address the insulin crisis, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota member James Holt, Jr. released the following statement. 
 
Jame_Holt_Insulin_rs“As a father to Alec, a healthcare worker and a leader of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, I want a solution to this insulin crisis more than words can explain. I’m proud to be part of a union and a movement that believes every person – no matter our race, wealth or zip code – deserves the medicine they need to not just survive but thrive. I am glad the Senate Republicans today engaged in this important conversation, but what they’ve proposed isn’t the solution we need to meet the challenge of Pharma greed that Minnesota families are facing. People are dying. They need emergency access. We need solutions that take into account the voices of the people directly affected. We need results, not just talk. We need our elected officials to show that the lives of Minnesotans are more important than corporate healthcare profits. To ensure no one else has to die like Alec did, we need elected officials to directly take on Big Pharma and the corporate greed that is killing people so CEOs can make more money. We need Insulin For ALL.”
 
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SEIU Local 26, Airport Workers’ Union, Praise Announcement of New MAC Chair

MSP Airport – Following the news that Rick King has been named the new Chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) to replace Dan Boivin, SEIU Local 26 President Iris Altimirano released the following statement.

Solidarity_Airport_rs“The thousands of airport workers who are SEIU Local 26 members congratulate Rick King on his appointment to this important position. We have a long history of working well with now-Chair King during his time as a MAC commissioner. We have seen his dedication to making sure that the workers who make MSP an award-winning airport are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. 

“Because of the organizing and advocacy of airport workers over the last few years, the MAC is in a position to pass the strongest $15 minimum wage in the state. We look forward to working with Chair King to pass this policy as soon as possible to help address current workforce shortages that continue to grow at the airport. As airlines and CEOs rake in record profits, it is time the people who do this critical work get their fair share. 

“We also will continue our conversations about the nearly three dozen East African workers who were displaced from their jobs recently by the MAC, many after decades of service at MSP. As we win better jobs at the airport, we need to make certain these gains are not at the expense of the majority people of color workforce who have provided high-quality service at MSP over the last two decades, often at poverty wages with no benefits. 

“We thank Gov. Walz for his attention to this issue and look forward to Chair King providing the kind of leadership that the MSP Airport craves so we can continue to make MSP the best airport in the country.”

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SEIU Local 26 is Minnesota’s Property Services Union, uniting more than 4,200 janitors, 1000 security officers, airport workers and window cleaners in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. SEIU unites more than 225,000 property services workers nationally and over 1.9 million including workers in healthcare and the public sector.

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Minneapolis City Council Introduce New Wage Theft Prevention Ordinance

Workers, council members and Mayor praise step towards addressing wage theft in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS — Friday morning the Minneapolis City Council introduced a new wage theft prevention ordinance. The law will ensure workers in the city are protected from the growing wage theft crisis, especially with the $15 minimum wage and earned sick and safe time passed over the last two years in Minneapolis.

CTUL_End_Wage_Theft_Now_rsAfter the Council introduction, workers and supporters shared why it is so important to take this action at a press conference at City Hall.

Mya Bradford, a ROC-MN member and former Bonchon Minneapolis Server, shared her story of facing wage theft in Minneapolis. 

“I experienced wage theft here in Minneapolis as a server at Bonchon in Uptown. It affected my life, my housing, and my being able to support my son. We had to fight publicly to be paid back stolen wages and are still owed money. Wage theft is just another example of the upper hand stealing from workers. This new ordinance will help protect moms like me.”
 
Juana Cinto, a member of CTUL who was a daycare worker in Minneapolis, shared her story of experiencing wage theft in Minneapolis and the challenges it caused her family. 
 
“I went through wage theft in Minneapolis when working at a daycare. My boss had problems in giving me payments constantly, including giving me checks without funds. The last days I worked he did not pay me. I would call him and he never answered. With time passing, other coworkers went with me to CTUL and demanded our wages. To this day we have never recovered our money. It has affected us a lot. I wasn’t able to help my mom, who was really sick at the time. It made me angry to not be paid for my work. I think it is time we raise our voices, which is why we are here demanding leaders in Minneapolis take action and pass this anti-wage theft law. Let’s make sure this type of abuse doesn’t happen to any more families.”
 
Council Member Linea Palmisano, one of the co-authors of the ordinance, spoke about the scope of this problem facing workers in Minneapolis.
 
“Wage theft is an issue that’s inherently hard to track because it is all complaint-based, and we know that workers are very often fearful of retaliation if they do so, but we know that this is a serious problem in Minneapolis. Between 2005-2014, the United States Department of Labor found over 5,500 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act by employers in Minneapolis, totaling over $2.7 million in unpaid wages. And that is probably just a drop in the bucket.”
 
Council Member Steve Fletcher, another of the co-authors of the ordinance, shared how the new law will relate to the recently passed statewide anti-wage theft law.
“We are thrilled that the legislature passed a pretty comprehensive package of policy changes in the final budget deal, and additional funding for enforcement in the Department of Labor and Industry. Now we want to join that team effort as a City. This ordinance will complement state law by adding wage theft prevention to our existing labor standards, allowing our Civil Rights staff to enforce violations of that law and a small set of additional protections that we are including in our ordinance.With the work of the Workplace Advisory Committee, and everyone we’ve heard from today, this effort has already had broad engagement from workers, unions, small and large businesses, and more, and that engagement will now continue as this ordinance progresses.”
 
Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, also a co-author of the ordinance, shared how the process to get this ordinance passed came to be and why it is so important.
 
“Over the last 18 months, the Workplace Advisory Committee has worked to develop a comprehensive wage theft prevention agenda to complement our minimum wage and earned sick and safe time policies. With this ordinance, Minneapolis Civil Rights staff will be able to field reports of violations that may include multiple components: a lack of paid sick time, a minimum wage violation, and/or wage theft. So it just makes sense for us to pass this ordinance and add that capability.”
 
Mayor Jacob Frey joined the press conference and shared the importance of this ordinance in addressing racial inequalities in the city of Minneapolis. 
 
“Prior to our passage of our minimum wage ordinance, 41 percent of all black workers and 54 percent of all Latino workers in Minneapolis earned less than $15 per hour. That’s compared with just 17 percent of white workers. It’s great that workers are getting a raise. But everyone needs to know — and understand — that these workers are entitled to that raise and to sick leave. And they should know that the City has their back when they assert those rights. It’s never enough to pass a law, pat yourself on the back, and declare victory. Indeed, the quickest way to erode trust in government is to pass laws that you don’t enforce.”

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