Press Releases

SEIU Healthcare MN Leader James Holt, Father of Alec, Responds to House and Senate Passage of Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act 

SAINT PAUL – SEIU Healthcare Minnesota member leader James Holt, father of Alec, shared his feelings following the passage of the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act by the Minnesota House and Senate.

James_holt_insult_rs“Passing this bill means the world to me. It makes me feel like Alec didn’t die in vain. I think back to the first time I told this story, at a SEIU member meeting, and I just knew that we didn’t want anyone else to have to lose their child to corporate greed like we had. I’m thankful for the many elected officials who have helped make this a reality, from then Rep. Erin Murphy for being the first to support us telling our story to Rep. Mike Howard for helping bring it across the finish line,” said Holt.
“It was a long time coming. We know the creator of insulin gave it away for $1 to help save lives, but over the years the greed of Big Pharma made it so expensive that people like Alec were literally dying because they couldn’t afford this lifesaving medicine. I’m glad this bill moves us back towards a world where your life isn’t determined by what medicine you can afford. At moments it felt like we were hitting only potholes, but I am overjoyed to know that the passage of the  Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act will mean families won’t have to go through what we did. No one in Minnesota or anywhere should die because they can’t afford basic medicine. I’m thankful for today’s passage and thinking of Alec as we celebrate his bill becoming law.”
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Minnesota Healthcare Workers’ Union Post Banners Praising “Healthcare Heroes” Outside Hospitals and Clinics

SAINT PAUL – SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, the Union representing over 40,000 hospital, clinic, nursing home and home care workers across Minnesota, has installed banners outside healthcare facilities across the Twin Cities that state “Healthcare Heroes Work Here.” The list of hospital locations as of this morning is below if you’d like to capture them in person. Additional photos are also available upon request.

HCMN_banner_praising-2_rsSEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley shared why the Union felt it important to make sure healthcare workers and the community see how much we all value their work during these trying times.

HCMN_banner_praising-1_rs“Healthcare workers have shown during this COVID-19 pandemic what we have known all along: Minnesotans care for each other and healthcare workers provide heroic support to those in need every single day. We want SEIU members and all healthcare workers to see these signs and know that our state understands and appreciates all they have done and sacrificed to keep our families safe,” said Gulley. “While we want these workers to see that we support them, we also know that these signs aren’t a replacement for what these workers really need and deserve, which is protective equipment they’ve been asking for from the federal government from the early days of this pandemic. We thank these amazing workers across our state and also demand action to make sure they have what they need to be safe while they continue to be on the frontline of making our state safe and healthy during this pandemic.”

Banners are currently at:

Abbott Northwestern Hospital

North Memorial Hospital

HealthPartners Riverway Clinic

Allina Mercy Hospital

Bethesda Hospital

St. John’s Hospital

Southdale Hospital

U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital

More to come

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Nursing Home, Hospital, Clinic and Home Care Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Praise Agreement on Expanded Workers Comp for Workers Facing COVID-19

SAINT PAUL – After the Minnesota House and Senate passed a bipartisan bill expanding workers’ compensation today for frontline workers helping Minnesotans during the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare workers praised the decision and spoke out about why it is so important for our state to care for those caring for us.

HCMN_Groupshot_rsLaTanya Hughes, a home care worker from Minneapolis and Vice President of the Home Care sector of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, shared how important it is that tens of thousands of home care workers, mostly women and people of color, are included in this legislation.

“Home care workers across the state work every day to make sure seniors and people with disabilities are able to safely stay in their homes. But this means that those of us on the frontline of caring for Minnesotans who possibly have COVID-19 are taking increased risk to our health,” said Hughes. “I’m so thankful that our Union family fought to make sure we were included and proud that our elected leaders are passing this legislation. I am happy that Minnesota is a state that is making sure jobs done by women and people of color are included in these bills as we know that has not historically been the case. This fight shows that the labor movement in Minnesota believes every person – no matter our race, gender, job or zip code – deserves to be safe and protected.”

Kathy Meyer, a cook at the Crosby Regional Medical Center in northern Minnesota, praised the bipartisan nature of this bill that shows how serious Minnesota is about caring for frontline staff.  

“I’m glad to see that taking care of the people who care for our loved ones is an issue we can come together on as we deal with this pandemic. If people in frontline jobs do get COVID-19 from our work, we shouldn’t have to worry about paying the bills or draining our sick time. Passing this bill with strong bipartisan support shows that in these moments we are able to put our differences aside and work to build One Minnesota,” said Meyer. “Every day healthcare workers, firefighters and first responders are putting the good of our community ahead of our own fears, and it is great to know that if someone does catch this virus that we as Minnesotans have said that they will get taken care of.”

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SEIU Leaders Praise Governor Walz’s Leadership Following State of the State Address

SAINT PAUL – Following Governor Walz’s 2020 State of the State address Sunday evening, leaders of the three largest SEIU Locals in Minnesota praised the Governor and Lt. Governor for their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout our state and country are currently working to address.

mnsots-quotes-4_rs“Educators across Minnesota have seen how strong a champion they have in the administration of Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. Through this difficult time they have proven that they value the staff who keep our schools running and ensure Minnesota students get a quality education,” said Kelly Gibbons, Executive Director of SEIU Local 284. “As we continue to figure out the best path forward for school staff and students, we hope the Senate leadership will follow the Governor’s lead in making clear that hourly schools workers should be paid during this crisis. As we figure out the best path forward, Minnesota is lucky to have an Educator-in-Chief guiding the way.”

“This has been a scary time for our members, but we have appreciated the steadfast leadership of Gov. Walz and Lt. Gov. Flanagan as they’ve worked tirelessly to keep families in our state safe. Despite all of the challenges, our members have continued their outstanding work to ensure buildings across the Twin Cities are safe,” said Iris Altamirano, President of SEIU Local 26. “The janitors, security officers, airport workers and other property service workers are ready to work with this administration to make sure workers on the front lines of this crisis – no matter who we are or where we were born – are safe both physically and economically as we deal with the challenges so many working families are facing.”

The three Locals represent over 50,000 Minnesotans from every corner of the state who provide care and support for Minnesota families in public schools, hospitals, higher education, nursing homes, schools, home care and property service in the Twin Cities’ largest public and private buildings.

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State’s Largest Healthcare Workers’ Union Welcomes Walz Executive Order To Provide DHS Flexibility To Fight COVID-19

Order will allow faster staffing of nursing homes and helps homecare workers and clients be safer

SAINT PAUL – Members and leaders of the state’s largest healthcare union, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, praised the announcement of Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-12 today that “allows DHS to temporarily issue waivers or modifications to state requirements to ensure that their services can be delivered to Minnesotans safely and without undue delay, protecting vulnerable Minnesotans and those who care for them.”

CDC-coronavirus-image-23311_rsDelores Flynn, a Roseville mother whose son Scott requires 24-hour-a-day home care to survive, shared why this matters to the thousands of seniors and people with disabilities who receive care in their homes from home care workers.

“For families with loved ones who need care, this crisis is literally life or death. Families like mine are feeling the urgency and fear of the unknown. We need help and support. We have been struggling to keep our current caregivers and worried about the impact of Covid-19 if we don’t have the right people to care for Scott,” said Flynn. “I know through the union that thousands of Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities are sharing the same concerns I have about how we get the care our families need in a safe and efficient way. I am happy to hear that the Governor has waived some in-person requirements that would have slowed down the process of getting Scott the care he depends on. Relaxing background checks and other administrative burdens will allow us to find new workers faster, and right now that is what families across our state need to be safe and healthy.”

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Executive Board member Melody Nordy, a TMA at the Luther Haven nursing home in Montevideo, shared the importance of this action for that group of workers.

“This is especially important for nursing home workers so we can operate safely under the threat of COVID-19. We need nursing homes to be fully staffed to provide the care our residents need across the state. We must not let the failure to process background checks and other criteria stand in the way of getting people to do this critical work.”

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley, who is currently serving on the Governor’s Covid Advisory Task Force, shared why these actions are so critical to keeping families safe.

“Frontline healthcare workers in our union have been performing heroically throughout this whole ordeal. I am glad the Governor continues to take actions to support and protect these incredible workers. We know that the COVID-19 outbreak requires fast and effective action, especially in matters that directly and immediately affect public health. We know the Governor has the authority and the responsibility to act and are thankful he has taken this important step. As a member of the Governor’s COVID Advisory Task Force, I know this is in line with what many provider, labor, and advocacy groups have urged him to do on this issue.”

In addition to Executive Order 20-12, Executive Order 20-11 allows state agencies to seek federal authority to change or waive some federal requirements applicable to these programs and services. As noted in the Governor’s announcement, DHS provides health care coverage, programs, and services for over 1 million Minnesotans, including groups likely to be significantly impacted by COVID-19 such as older adults, individuals who have disabilities, families with children, and individuals with mental illness. Earlier this week, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota joined over 200 other organizations on a letter calling for actions like these to take place to help ensure Minnesota healthcare workers and families are safe.

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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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MN Nurses and Service Employees Cancel Lobby Days, Call on Elected Officials and Healthcare Corporations to Take Action to Ensure Safe and Healthy Minnesota

SAINT PAUL – The Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council have both canceled their 2020 Lobby Days that were scheduled for March 19th and March 24th, respectively. The Unions both cited the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and the need for union members who are on the front line of caring for tens of thousands of Minnesotans every day to be healthy so they can provide the critical services Minnesotans may need in the coming weeks.

MNA and SEIU also called on legislators to pass a package of bills that will help ensure we are prepared for what may come, including immediately passing Earned Sick & Safe Time and Paid Family Medical Leave, pay for hourly school employees who may miss work, and more. Knowing this crisis will hit low-income families the hardest, it will be critical to provide economic security to families across Minnesota who are living paycheck to paycheck so we can stop this growing threat by making it possible for people to afford to stay home when they are sick or are caring for a sick loved one. A package of bills to support families from the fallout of the coming challenges will be heard at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning.

MNA and SEIU further call on healthcare providers to ensure that their employees are safe from exposure and transmission, by providing adequate personal protective equipment, sufficient training, isolation plans, and protections for workers who are already sensitive, especially those who are immunocompromised.

Jamie Gulley, President of both SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and the SEIU Minnesota State Council, shared why the Union made the call to cancel their Lobby Day and demanded Minnesota legislators step up and make sure corporate greed and our broken economic system don’t further exacerbate this outbreak.

“SEIU members work tirelessly every day in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, public schools, office buildings and in client’s homes to keep Minnesotans safe and healthy. With growing concerns around the Novel Coronavirus, the SEIU Minnesota State Council has decided to cancel our March 24th Lobby Day to make sure our members are safe and focusing on their critical work,” said Gulley. “Minnesotans are doing what we can to contain this growing threat, but we need our elected officials to step up and show the urgency needed in this moment to pass things like Paid Time to Care, policies to help alleviate financial hardships for low-income families, and pay for hourly workers whose job may be shut down as this spreads. We know the best way to avoid a ripple effect of the virus spreading is to be prepared and to make sure Minnesotans can afford to stay home when they are sick. Because corporate greed has made work so precarious for so many families, we need our elected officials to step up and fix this.”

In addition to pushing for legislation to help keep all Minnesotans safe, MNA President Mary C. Turner also called out the need for big healthcare corporations in Minnesota to take this seriously and be prepared for what is coming.

“Nurses want to be able to do their jobs, but they need the proper protection, equipment and training to do it safely in the face of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 infections,” said Turner.  “If the nurses aren’t safe, the patients aren’t safe. If employers and management communicate with staff, then our communities are safer. This includes how to safely put on and take off the right equipment, where suspected patients should be quarantined, and which healthcare workers should be allowed to care for those with respiratory illnesses. We can’t have workers who are immunocompromised workers in harm’s way, including pregnant or nursing workers.”

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The SEIU Minnesota State Council coordinates the electoral, legislative and outreach work of the four SEIU Locals in Minnesota. By building the political involvement of the more than 50,000 workers we represent, the State Council is working to improve the lives of all Minnesotans.

About MNA: With more than 22,000 members in Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, MNA is the leading organization for registered nurses in the Midwest and is among the oldest and largest representatives of RNs for collective bargaining in the nation.  Established in 1905, MNA is a multi-purpose organization that fosters high standards for nursing education and practice, and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United.

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SEIU Members at HealthPartners Ratify Tentative Agreement

SAINT PAUL – Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota at HealthPartners ratified their Tentative Agreement (TA) Wednesday with a strong majority after 15 hours of voting. The agreement came after a strike vote for a 7-day ULP strike, which was averted when the TA was reached early in the morning of Tuesday, February 18th.

UNION_members_rsThe contract saw wage increases of 7.5% over the three years, protection of union members’ excellent “Classic” health plan benefits, and overtime pay provisions protected from all cuts and changes.

Angela Knutson, a nurse at HealthPartners and member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, shared why members are excited to win this contract and get back to providing quality care for all Minnesota families.

“We were able to win this contract, protecting our healthcare and increasing the pay for our important work, because we stuck together and were willing to go on strike to protect the care of thousands of Minnesota families,” said Knutson. “I am so proud of this group of dedicated caregivers who showed that we would do whatever it takes to win a fair contract that respects the frontline caregivers who make HealthPartners a world-class organization. We remain committed to standing up so that every family – no matter our job – has the healthcare they need to make sure our families are healthy and safe.”

The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, midwives, lab techs, physicians assistants, and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at more than 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier.

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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 and HealthPartners Reach Agreement, Strike Called Off

Union Members To Vote on Proposed New Contract Next Week

Saint Paul, MN – Members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and HealthPartners management reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) at 3 a.m. this morning after 17 hours of negotiations. The 7-day ULP strike that was to begin Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. has been called off. The agreement came after a strike vote that saw 95% support for a 7-day ULP strike. The TA now will be reviewed and voted on by the 1,800 SEIU Healthcare MN members next week.
The full details will be shared with the membership before being fully released, but gains include:

  • Wage increases of 7.5% over the three years
  • Protecting union members’ excellent “Classic” health plan benefits
  • Overtime pay provisions protected from all cuts and changes

UNION_members_rsNancy Wickoren, a 31-year LPN at HealthPartners and member of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota bargaining team, shared the feeling of the bargaining team following the final marathon session. 
“Together, as a team, we worked long and hard to stand up for the health benefits and wages our families deserve. After months of negotiations, and an overwhelming strike vote, we were able to land on a strong tentative agreement for a new contract that maintains excellent healthcare benefits,” said Wickoren. “As in any negotiation, we didn’t get everything we wanted. But we are very proud of how our membership stood up together and fought back huge cuts and cost-shifts to healthcare and overtime pay that management had insisted on for months. The final agreement also includes improved wage increases in each year of the contract. The bargaining team is encouraging our members to vote ‘Yes’ to approve this agreement. They will have the next few days to review the terms of the tentative agreement in detail.”
Christina Bolk, a CareLine RN for 6 years, also shared her thoughts following the agreement.
“The members of our bargaining team want to express our deep appreciation for the support we have received from the public and our patients in this fight. It has been truly inspiring seeing how the whole community has come together to show support to HealthPartners caregivers. To other union members, especially fellow healthcare workers, we hope we have shown that by sticking together and organizing we can protect what we’ve won and win gains that allow us to get back to what we really want to be doing: provide world-class patient care to Minnesota families.”
The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, midwives, lab techs, physicians assistants, and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at more than 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier.

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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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Despite Overwhelming Strike Vote, HealthPartners Refuses to Budge on Demands For Healthcare Cuts In Multiple Sessions This Week

Union Members Begin Strike Preparation

Saint Paul, MN – Talks stalled between HealthPartners and the 1,800 employees who are members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. Following a strike vote that saw 95% support for a 7-day ULP strike, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at HealthPartners returned to the table twice this week, including Friday for over 11 hours. Despite SEIU members’ willingness to reach a fair deal, HealthPartners lawyers and management refused to move off their demands to roll back healthcare coverage for the 1,800 frontline healthcare workers and their families.

The union members are now working to prepare for their 7-day ULP strike scheduled to start the morning of Wednesday, February 19th. The members will hold a sign-making session Tuesday night at Awaken West 7th Church in St. Paul, ahead of the walkout that is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning. (Formal advisory on Tuesday sign-making event to come.)

Cindy Sutherlund, a 20-year LPN at HealthPartners and member of the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota bargaining team, shared the frustration members felt after management refused to budge:

“If HealthPartners doesn’t take care of their employees, how can we take care of our patients? We are the frontline caregivers who make sure our communities are healthy, but they are trying to roll back our healthcare,” said Sutherlund. “We don’t want to be forced to strike, but we know that if we go backwards on healthcare coverage now we will never get it back in the future, which will hurt employees, our families and our patients. We’re ready to strike if HealthPartners won’t take their healthcare cuts off the table.”

Nancy Wickoren, a 31-year LPN and member of the bargaining team, talked about how the Union was working to reach a deal.

“We came to bargaining this week open to make changes to get this deal done, but management are not willing to reach a fair deal. It makes me angry and sad. We want to be able to give good care and remain healthy,” said Wickoren. “I am not doing this for myself, but  for the frontline caregivers behind us. I didn’t realize how strong the younger people are in standing up for good care. I want to leave the next generation of caregivers in a place where they can continue giving world-class care for Minnesota families. We are united and ready to do whatever it takes to make sure we stand up for Minnesota families.”

The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including physicians assistants,midwives, RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, lab techs and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier. The strike vote was held on February 6th for 15 hours at five locations across the Twin Cities. The contract between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expired on January 31st.

HealthPartners executives have proposed huge cuts and cost-shifting to the health benefits caregivers have won over the years. The cost-shifting measures come after the Star Tribune reported that HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh received over $2 million in pay last year, while the company earned a record-breaking $7 billion in revenue.

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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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HealthPartners Employees Overwhelmingly Authorize 7-Day ULP Strike with 95% Support

Union files 10-day notice; strike would begin Feb. 19th if no agreement is reached

(Saint Paul, MN) – SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at HealthPartners voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a 7-day Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) strike for 1,800 members by a vote of 95% to 5%. Union members announced that a 10-day strike notice would be filed Friday and that if no agreement is reached, workers would begin their 7-day ULP strike on the morning of Wednesday, February 19th.

HP_Strike_Vote_rs“I have mixed feelings about today’s news. I am so happy to stand with my fellow union members who overwhelmingly voted to authorize this strike in our fight for what we need for ourselves and our families, and what is best for our patients. But as a 31-year employee and 9-time member of our bargaining team, after years of good relationships these negotiations felt incredibly disrespectful. I’ve been proud to work here all these years, but now it feels like they are putting profits over patients. We are making clear to HealthPartners management today the fact that we are united to win for what is right for our families and ready to get back to the table whenever they are ready to negotiate a fair contract,” said Lynch. “Over our four months of bargaining, HealthPartners has insisted on harmful cost-shifting and cuts to our benefits, while offering a measly wage increase that doesn’t keep up with inflation while HealthPartners made $7 billion in revenue last year and our CEO made over $2 million in compensation.”

Clara Boykin, a 30-year HealthPartners employee and also a member of the bargaining team, shared why she voted “Yes” to authorize a strike:

“I have always been so proud to work at HealthPartners. The health insurance we have won over the years has been so important to me and has allowed all of us to provide award-winning care. But these proposed rollbacks would change that. I voted yes to strike not for myself but for the next generation of SEIU members who deserve the quality healthcare we’ve won over the years to take care of their families,” said Boykin. “I work with so many SEIU members who I know want to build on the award-winning care we’ve always provided here at HealthPartners. But I know the great health benefits for ourselves and our families attracted many staff here and I’m afraid of losing talented caregivers if we allow these cuts to happen. We are united in protecting the healthcare benefits we’ve earned so we can get back to serving our patients. And we deserve a wage increase that honors the hard work we do every day. We are the people HealthPartners patients come through the doors every day to get care from, and we deserve to be treated with respect.”

The 1,800 workers in the bargaining unit represent nearly all caregivers other than doctors, including RNs, dental hygienists, LPNs, CMAs, midwives, lab techs, physicians assistants, and over 80 different jobs in total. They work at 30 HealthPartners clinics across the Twin Cities, providing award-winning care and helping to make our communities healthier. The vote was held Thursday for 15 hours at five locations across the Twin Cities.

HealthPartners executives have proposed huge cuts and cost-shifting to the health benefits caregivers have won over the years. The cost-shifting measures come after the Star Tribune reported that HealthPartners CEO Andrea Walsh received over $2 million in pay last year, while the company earned a record-breaking $7 billion in revenue. The contract between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota expired on January 31st.

Joining the group was a local pastor and workers from other unions, including Kelsie Anderson, the Vice President of OPEIU Local 12 and 3-year HealthPartners employee. Anderson spoke about how the nearly 1,200 OPEIU members at HealthPartners are allowed and will be encouraged to honor any picket lines, a right they have won in their own union contract.

“We at OPEIU Local 12 love our caregivers and colleagues at HealthPartners. We are encouraging our members to honor the picket line and not cross.” This solidarity from OPEIU Local 12 members will bring the total number of workers not showing up for work February 19-25 at HealthPartners to over 3,000, if no agreement on a new contract is reached between HealthPartners and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members.

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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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