CHICAGO (May 24, 2012)—It could have been a scene from “Mash”, the comedy-of-errors television series where soldiers pitch tents to care for their sick and injured. Only this tent city was set up on the plaza of the Thompson Center to demonstrate the serious and devastating impact proposed Medicaid cuts would have on community hospitals and their under- and un-insured patients.
Hospital workers, community residents and healthcare advocates marched, chanted and gave speeches about the impact cuts would have on their lives. The sound of sirens echoed between City Hall, the Thompson Center and surrounding buildings as workers performed skits of mock medical emergencies where patients were treated outside the tents.
“We’re here to tell the story of the small, community-based hospitals that don’t have a lot of money and their patients who have little or no healthcare insurance,” said Tina Tinsley, a worker at Roseland hospital. “Simply put, untreated illnesses would increase, diseases would spread faster and more people would die. (more…)
GARY, Ind. (June 6, 2012)–Healthcare workers, patients and seniors who receive home care voiced their concerns to elected officials about funding issues that afflict Gary’s Methodist Hospital and the rumblings of future cuts to home care services that could leave seniors and people with disabilities with limited to no affordable independent living options. (more…)
St. Louis University Hospital (SLUH) and Des Peres Hospital became the city’s only currently unionized hospitals this month when techs, nursing assistants, and other service and maintenance workers voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Healthcare IL/IN/MO/KS! A bargaining unit of over 500 workers at SLUH and 200 workers at Des Peres united for a stronger voice in patient care decisions and securing a better future for their families.
“We were victorious because of the care we have for our patients and have for each other as coworkers. We all have the same goal for utmost patient safety and patient care, the same high standard we would expect for ourselves,” said Jessica Harris, a Respiratory Therapist at St. Louis University Hospital. “I have many family members who helped build our city and they were all in unions that helped them fight to secure fair wages and benefits to provide for us growing up, I’m hopeful that together with my coworkers we too can improve our jobs and patient care.”
“We had a choice to make and we voted to unite in SEIU Healthcare to gain a stronger voice on the issues we care about. Alone it’s difficult to make change but by joining this union we can make a difference for our families and for our patients because we will have one united voice at our hospital,” said Patrice Odom, a Care Partner in the ICU.
This election marks the first SEIU Healthcare victory of Tenet hospital workers in the St. Louis area. They join the 9,000 other Tenet-affiliated workers in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and California who are already united in SEIU Healthcare.
Certified teachers, teacher’s assistants, health aides, social service aides, cooks, and more across five Ada McKinley Head Start sites have voted to join together in the Child Care and Early Learning division of SEIU HCII!
Teacher’s Assistant Denetia Daniels helped to educate and motivate her coworkers to win.
“I knocked on doors with organizers and helped get meetings together to educate my team about what they could expect,” said Denetia. “I knew the change was important and that we needed to stand up, not just for ourselves, but for each other.”
An organized workforce will help improve the quality of Head Start and Child Care by expanding the number of voices calling for more investments in the programs, and that will ultimately lead to more resources for parents and children. Workers realize that they’re part of the fight to attract more funding to the programs in the long run. And in the short run, organizing allows them to address workforce inequities that should be fixed today.
“Having a network definitely made us stronger. It was easy to get distracted when bosses tried to stand in our way, like by telling us to take off our SEIU shirts on t-shirt day, but being able to look across the room and see our coworkers wearing SEIU shirts helped us to stick together,” Denetia said.
Now that Ada McKinley workers have won their union, they’ll have the power to fight for higher standards for workers, better child-teacher ratios, dignity and respect, and more.
“I’m excited to be able to hold management accountable and to make things fair for everyone across the board,” Denetia said.