September 2014

Grand Manor Nursing Home Workers Stand Strong & Reach Agreement

Grand Manor

180 nursing home workers at Grand Manor in St. Louis ratified a three-year contract last week after 8 months of negotiations. The bargaining team stood united and mobilized coworkers to sign petitions, march on the boss, and engage community members and workers at sister facility Northview  Village, which is under the same ownership as Grand Manor.

Management kicked off bargaining by attempting to drastically increase the cost of insurance for employees, all while pushing for stagnant wages. Workers weren’t going to stand for it and kept the pressure on to ensure front-line employees were recognized for their hard work and dedication to the facility and patients.

The new contract includes some of the following highlights:

  • $250 sign on bonus for full-time employees $125 sign on bonus for part-time employees
  •  3 year contract with an across the board increase of $.45 upon ratification, $.40 on the 2nd year anniversary of ratification, and $.40 on the 3rd year anniversary.
  • The employer will cover all but $10 per month of health insurance. Thereafter increased cost will be shared between the employer and employee evenly but the cost will not go up above more than $25 a month.
  • PTO days can now be rolled over.
  • Increased Just Cause rights.
  • Redefined part-time workers as those who work below 30 hours per week.

Denice Givens headshot“I feel really good about bringing my coworkers out and getting them involved in our union,” said Denice Givens, a Grand Manor employee and member of the bargaining team. “Together we took a stand and demanded that we get recognition for our hard work over the years at Grand Manor.”

Congratulations to Grand Manor employees!


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Victory! Research & Menorah Medical Center Employees Overwhelmingly Ratify New Contract

group shot

Thanks to hard work and unity among techs, EVS, dietary, and many other employees at Research and Menorah Medical Centers, a new agreement was reached with management recently, averting a planned strike at RMC.

MMC employees approved the new contract with 97% voting YES; RMC Ernestemployees did as well, with 87% voting YES.

Here’s a summary of what’s in the latest contract:

– Wage increases

We raised the minimum wage rate for all job titles that had start rates under $9.10, resulting in a 6-7% raise for our lowest paid employees.

Year 1: 2.5% raise for all full-time and part-time employees, including Experience Rated PRNs*, and including employees who were capped on our pay scale. This raise is retroactive to the first week of June so keep an eye out for your back pay.

Year 2: 2.75% raise for all full-time and part-time employees, including Experience Rated PRNs*, and a 2.75% annual bonus for capped employees.

Year 3: No less than a 2% raise for all full-time and part-time employees, including Experience Rated PRNs*, but subject to the Wage and Healthcare Reopener in 2016.

– Stand-by pay increased to $2.25 effective January 2015, and maintained stacking or pyramiding.

– Healthcare

  • Employer cannot shift their premium share to employees.
  • Overall value of our plan cannot be reduced by more than 2%, and then only if bargained and agreed upon.
  • Continuation of national bargaining annually to reduce out of pocket costs in one area of the health plan.

– First-time preceptor pay for clinical employees who train. Job titles that qualify for preceptor pay will be determined by the joint Union/Management Professional Technical Committee in the next 90 days.

OR Ladies– Increased reimbursement for newly required certifications from $200 – $300.

– Employee stock purchase option

– 11 non economic improvements

1. PRN and part-time probationary period reduced from 180 days to 120 days.
2. Cross-training: Union members and management will meet to develop a cross- training program for employees who wish to float to other departments to avoid being sent home for low-census. If you are interested in helping wit this, or have idea, contact a steward .
3. Agency use in OR: Union members and management will meet to address the issue of over use of agency employees in the OR, as it relates to retention and recruitment. All OR employee input is welcome. See Renita at Menorah, or Charlie at Research to get involved.
4. Computer Training: Training will be provided on-site during November and December for employees on all shifts to learn to navigate the HCA job posting
5. PTO: If your schedule is posted more than 4 weeks in advance, your manager must still consider PTO requests.

A number of non economic improvements in addition to those listed above were also made.

*For a listing of Experience Rated PRN job titles, see your union bulletin board or a member of the bargaining team. If you are a Non-Experience Rated PRN, that means you are considered a Flat Rate PRN. Union Flat Rate PRNs will be meeting with management in the next four weeks to determine flat rate wage increases in line with the market. 

Stay tuned for information on contract distribution!

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MetroSouth Medical Center Employees Vote YES for First Contract


The MetroSouth Bargaining Team

MetroSouth Medical Center’s service and maintenance workers made history last week, ratifying their first-ever union contract.

MetroSouth Medical Center is owned and operated by Community Health Systems (CHS), one of the largest for profit healthcare systems in the country. The company owns, operates, or leases 135 hospitals in 29 states, including eight in Illinois.

Just over a year ago, workers succeeded in organizing their union despite management’s attempts to squash their efforts. Employees stood strong and brought that same determination throughout the campaign for a first contract.

“We now have the tools and the rules to have a constructive workplace environment,” said Sandra Summage, Secretarial Partner in SICU/MICU.

Contract language includes across-the-board raises, equity pay increases for 41 employees, subcontracting language, mandatory position postings, and low-census language.

“This contract moves us forward,” explained Nancy Guide, a PCP in MedSurg. “We count too!”

“I’m very happy about our first contract, and am looking forward to negotiating our next one in two years,” said Brenda Shannon, Lead Barista in the Food and Nutrition Department. “It was a great leaning experience!”

This victory marks the first SEIU Healthcare contract for CHS hospital workers in Illinois. Employees join the 4,200 other CHS-affiliated workers in California, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington who are already united in SEIU Healthcare. 

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Members march in Indianapolis to protest regressive laws during Moral Mondays rally

Members at the statehouse after rally with Rev. Barber and the Moral Mondays Movement.

Members at the statehouse after rally with Rev. Barber and the Moral Mondays Movement.

INDIANAPOLIS–Chanting “forward together, not one step back,” a crowd of 300 protesters marched from the Crispus Attucks high school to the Indiana statehouse to protest regressive laws passed by the Indiana legislature and policies that impact the poor.

A delegation of 25 SEIU Healthcare Indiana & Illinois members was among rally participants, standing in unity with other labor groups, activists, clergy and residents.

The Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the NAACP in North Carolina and founder of the Moral Mondays Movement, delivered the rally keynote address. Moral Mondays is a protest movement characterized by its civil disobedience. The Rev. Barber spoke at the 2013 HCII Leadership Assembly, an event that prompted Indiana activists to invite him to the state.

Rally speakers addressed such issues as anti-worker “right to work” laws, the need for a higher minimum wage, unfair immigration policies and affordable healthcare, among other issues. Home care provider Adam Patti addressed the issue of healthcare.

“Even though I spend every day providing healthcare to Hoosiers in need, I can’t afford insurance to keep myself healthy,” Adam told the cheering crowd. “Caring for people with disabilities brings me great joy, but unfortunately my employer’s health care is too expensive. I stand with thousands of other healthcare workers who do not have access to healthcare themselves.”

Adam, a father of one daughter, said he hasn’t had a check-up in four years and a recent bill to pull an abscessed tooth cost $400. He called on the legislature to act on a Medicaid Expansion bill.

In order to cover the unexpected cost, Adam had to “skip meals and some utilities went unpaid. I faced foreclosure on my home, but thankfully I was able to secure a grant to save my house. I am $48,000 in debt from student loans and have had to rely on family and friends for food, gas, childcare, and other necessities.  With all of this, health insurance seems like a distant luxury,” he said.

Rev. Barber said the Moral Mondays Movement is growing and put the rally into a biblical context. “If we help the poor, we shall be called repairers of the breach and God will hear our prayers,” Rev. Barber said. “”Weeping may endure for a night. Tea parties may endure for a night. Mean folk may endure for a night. But hang in there, because joy still comes in the morning.”



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Letter to the Editor: Home Care Worker Liliana Cordero

Liliana CorderoAfter reading ‘Faces of minimum wage’ over the weekend, I felt inspired to share my story as a home care worker, a story I feel few have heard and understand.

I support my family of five by serving seniors and people with disabilities who want to remain living in their homes. I provide services like cooking, cleaning, help with mobility and personal hygiene. Without me, my six consumers would not have the same quality of life, and may even be forced to think about nursing home care – a much more costly alternative to a home care worker like me.

I work 52 hours a week and make only $9.85/hour after three years on the job. I have no sick days or vacation time, and if one of my consumers ends up in the hospital that means I don’t get paid.

Keeping food on the table and bills paid is a constant struggle, and I honestly don’t know how we would survive without payday loans.

Even though it hurts to know my pay doesn’t reflect the hard work I put in, I still look after each of my consumers as if they were my own family. I would want someone just like me to be there for my parents; however, I wouldn’t want that person to be forced to live in poverty for choosing the line of work that keeps my loved ones at home where they want to be.

We need compassionate, skilled home care workers for our aging population and for those with disabilities. But until we recognize the vital role workers like me play in the lives of our friends and family by increasing pay and providing benefits, we cannot build a system that will meet the increasing demands of the future.

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Letter to the Editor: Home Care Worker OJ McGee

OJ McGee 6Keith Kelleher’s article over the Labor Day weekend said the recent Harris v Quinn decision could either be a nail in the coffin, or a shot of adrenaline for home care providers. After today’s announcement of home care workers joining the fight for $15 with fast food workers, I think we have an answer.

I’m a single dad and have been providing home care for 4 years. I work hard each day to provide for my son. But with low wages and few hours, it’s impossible to get by.

Home care workers support seniors and people with disabilities through services like meal preparation, house cleaning, help with mobility, bathing and personal hygiene. I love my work, yet I constantly worry about paying my bills on time and putting food on the table.

But this isn’t just about home care workers. Seniors and people with disabilities want to live at home in their communities with independence and dignity, but paying low wages to the workers who enable them to do so puts the entire system at risk.

Home care is one of the fastest-growing jobs right now, and demand will only continue to increase as baby boomers age. We must start investing in home care workers now so that committed caregivers like me aren’t forced to look elsewhere to support our families.

That’s why I’m proud to stand with fast food workers in the fight for $15.

Some may not realize it, but we have a lot in common. We get up and work hard every single day, but barely scrape by off of the low wages we earn.

Those united in this expanding movement believe that no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you work hard, you should be able to make enough money to support for your family.

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Chicago Home Care Workers Join Fast Food Workers in Call for $15 an Hour

DSC_1569 (See incredible TV press coverage below).


(Chicago) – The movement for $15 an hour is expanding as home care workers stood with striking fast food workers today on Chicago’s Southside. Echoing calls for $15 and a union, 50 home care workers marched and protested outside the McDonald’s and Burger King at 87th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway.

“We are inspired by seeing fast food workers standing up and fighting for $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation,” said Tene Smith, a 43-year old home care worker who lives in Englewood. “For me, $15 an hour would mean having to work only one job and being able to better support my family.”

Home care workers in Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, and Cleveland decided to join the movement for higher pay and better rights on the job, marking September 4th as part of the growing movement of low-wage workers banding together and calling for an economy that works for everyone.

Our country’s 2.5 million home care providers work hard to care for the elderly and disabled, but too often, do not earn enough to provide basic needs like food, clothing and rent for themselves and their families.

Home care workers provide daily support services like bathing, toileting, dressing, and preparing meals for older Americans and people with disabilities. Home care services are a lifeline that allows hundreds of thousands of Americans to remain living independently at home with dignity.

The average wage for home care workers is just  $9.57 per hour. For someone working full-time, that’s $383 a week before taxes, or $1,531 a month, barely enough to cover rent, utilities, food, gas and child care expenses in most parts of the country. But even these figures are high, since they don’t account for the unpredictable and part-time hours that reduce home care wages even further. The result is median annual earnings of just $17,000 a year.

To meet the growing demand for aging baby boomers, nearly 600,000 home care jobs will need to be added to the workforce.  While home care jobs are fast-growing, wages remain stagnant and trap the mostly female, minority workforce in poverty.

“I love providing home care and helping people who need me,” explained Anna Howard, a home care worker living in Oak Park who got started caring for her mother at 16 years old until she passed away. “But with part-time hours and low pay I have to look elsewhere for work to support myself. Seniors and people with disabilities need home care workers, but low wages lead to high turnover and that hurts all of us.”

After standing with fast food workers, home care workers joined SEIU Healthcare Illinois members at Trinity All Nations Church in Washington Heights to continue the day of action for higher wages. Workers fanned out in the community registering new voters, and mobilizing residents to pledge their vote to raise the minimum wage on the ballot this November as part of the Raise Illinois coalition.

“As a home care worker, I’m educating my neighbors about how important this election really is this fall,” explained OJ McGee, a single dad who provides home care and works three jobs to support his family. “We’re out here fighting for $15, and turning out the vote for $10.10 this November.”


Chicago WGN: Fast Food and Home Care Workers Fight for $15

Chicago CBS 2: Fast Food, Home Care Workers Fight for $15

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