120 nursing home workers at Christian Care stuck together and persevered through a long battle for their latest contract. Workers held two pickets, filed several charges with the local labor board, marched on their boss twice, organized around a petition to stop union retaliation from management, and even had a delegation of workers and their kids to call out the meager $0.05 raises that management offered. Through these actions and more, workers showed unity and stood one day longer!
Here are few highlights from the new agreement:
Congratulations Christian Care workers!
Jerry Hart and Loreal Cornell, both Care Partners at St. Louis University Hospital, and Te’Aun Bell, a Cook at Truman Hospital Hill in Kansas City, all members of SEIU and the Future Fighters (Millennials), have been on the ground in Ferguson since the tragic shooting that left Mike Brown dead on Saturday, August 9. Each has their own reasons for standing up and joining the movement for justice, read on to hear their stories.
“When news broke about what happened to Mike Brown, several of us went to our union staff to find out what we could do together in Ferguson. We have a lot of members that work and live there, and we knew that as a union we needed to step up and be there. We’ve had a presence ever since. Whether it’s been peacefully marching, attending vigils, picking up trash, handing out water, etc., we’re here to help and call for justice. No unarmed person should be gunned down in the streets where they live, no matter what color you are.”
“When there’s an injustice, SEIU is there and Ferguson is no different. This affects our members and our communities. The Future Fighters in St. Louis immediately got involved and urged our union too as well. There must be justice for Mike Brown, and the so many others who are victims of racial profiling, harassment, and racism. I’m so proud to be on the ground in Ferguson, supporting this community and representing our union.”
“There were two main reasons why I felt like I had to be with the Ferguson community in the aftermath of Mike Brown’s death. The first being that could have been my brother, my father, or my husband. The second is that this happened in Missouri – my home, my state. It’s been a very emotional time for everyone here, I’m just glad that our union is here to help and fight for justice with this community.”
The following statement was released by Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri & Kansas, in response to the shooting of Ferguson, MO, resident Michael Brown and the unrest that is occurring there:
The aftermath of the tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, reveals the urgent need for justice to prevail in order to bring a level of calm back to the community. The initial lack of information coming from the Ferguson Police Department and its militarized response to protesters has clearly erased any faith in local authorities to uncover the truth.
To that end, the members of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas call on Governor Jay Nixon to do everything in his authority to de-escalate the militarized atmosphere in Ferguson and allow residents to practice their 1st Amendment right to peaceful assembly and protest.
Additionally, we call on the governor to appoint an independent investigator to work along with the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice, who also have been called in to investigate.
Michael Brown was shot six times while unarmed. Some accounts indicate that his hands were raised in the air when shot. The community demands that someone be held accountable for this abuse of force.
We express our heartfelt sympathy to the family of Michael Brown and call on Gov. Nixon to move swiftly and with transparency to review the facts, inform the community and bring charges wherever the investigation shows that there was misconduct.
We also believe that it is only when people of good will unite and organize for racial and economic justice that incidents like this will cease to occur.
GARY, Ind.—SEIU Healthcare Indiana members helped to organize and attended a Workers’ Human Rights Hearing, Thursday, July 31, at the Gary campus of Ivy Tech Community College, 1440 E. 35th Avenue.
The hearing was hosted by the Northwest Indiana Workers’ Human Rights Group, recently formed by union workers and social justice activists. The group formed to educate and organize in defense of workers’ rights that have increasingly come under attack since the passage of Indiana’s Right to Work legislation in 2012.
Workers and activists representing the unemployed, healthcare, warehouse and city workers testified about workplace abuses and how such abuses impact families and community conditions. Testimonies highlighted human rights violations such as wage theft, sexual harassment and discrimination.
The issues were heard by a panel of human rights advocates that included Merle E. Ratner, program director for the International Commission for Labor Rights; Renee Hatcher, Esq., Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Dr. Ruth Needleman, professor emeritus, Indiana University Labor Studies Dept., School of Social Work; and Rev. Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, Gary, Ind.
“To hear the kinds of abuses workers experience on a daily basis was devastating,” said home care worker Kendra Bush. “Of course, we knew a lot of this was going on, but with the new Right to Work legislation in Indiana, we’re seeing more of these abuses. The attack on workers having a voice in the workplace has intensified.”
Indiana University Assistant Professor M. Thandabantu Iverson moderated the program.