SEIU Healthcare WI member Victoria Gutierrez speaks at State Capitol for safe jobs on Workers Memorial Day (4/28/2017)

2017-4-28-VICTORIA-GUTIERREZI am here today in my role as a union nurse to recognize the sacrifices of my fellow health care workers in ALL health care facilities who face unsafe conditions, who have died or who have suffered from exposure to hazards at work. I am also here to recognize the contributions of ALL OF THOSE IN MY UNION who have fought to keep our workplaces safe… we know SAFER WORKPLACES FOR NURSES AND CAREGIVERS ARE SAFER FOR OUR PATIENTS.

One of the most important ways that I and the nurses with whom I work have been able to fight against threats to safety and health at our workplaces and advocate for quality care has been through our collective bargaining: this includes our victory for a ban on mandatory overtime; our empowered advocacy on safety committees to review lifting technologies to reduce back strains and injuries; and past victories to get safer needles for all.

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Save The Date!

When: APRIL 3–4, 2017
Where: SEIU Local 73,  300 S Ashland, Fourth Floor, Chicago, IL

The Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare advances and strengthens the voice of nurses on the local and national levels; trains and empowers nurse leaders in policymaking and politics; and promotes quality, affordable and accessible healthcare that enhances positive health outcomes using evidence-based best practices. The Nurse Alliance Leadership Council advises how nurses can collaborate together to advance our professional practice and highlight the contributions of nurses to health system redesign.

RSVP to Elizabeth Royal at

Come meet nurses from around the country and learn more about nurse practice and advocacy.

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SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Care Givers Speakout Against the Looming Crisis in Caregiving

2016 8 25 Crisis in Caregiving Speakout

About a dozen certified nursing assistants (CNAs) gathered outside a Milwaukee-based health care management group to call attention to the crisis looming in the long-term care industry: Low wages are forcing workers out of nursing at the same time the demographic trend lines show Wisconsin’s aging population is growing and will increasingly need skilled nursing services in the years to come.

The current median starting wage for personal caregivers in Wisconsin is $10.75, according to a report compiled by industry groups. The low pay has led to workers leaving the industry for better pay and the remaining CNAs at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities struggling to make ends meet while working a stressful job tending to frail elderly and the disabled.

Just last year, an estimated 10,600 caregivers in the state may have left for better positions outside of health care, according to data analyzed by LeadingAge Wisconsin, Wisconsin Health Care Association/Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living, Wisconsin Assisted Living Association and Residential Services Association of Wisconsin.

The groups found that one in seven caregiving staff positions in Wisconsin is unfilled. Long-term care facilities and nursing homes are filling the gap by refusing to take on new patients and requiring their staff to work more hours or double shifts.

“As I’ve worked as a CNA for 20 years I find it’s gotten harder and harder due to shortage of staff,” said Milwaukee-based CNA Kent Robinson at Thursday’s rally, organized by SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. “We have to take care of a lot of people, sometimes 13 or 14 people per shift. This means we only have 35 minutes per resident in an eight-hour shift. Thirty-five minutes is not enough to do care. It’s not enough for us. We can’t sit down and talk to the residents. We can’t take them outside and do things to make their life feel more enjoyable.”

A Looming Crisis in Long-Term Care

The shortage of skilled caregivers could become a crisis in the near future.

Currently, about one in seven Wisconsinites is over the age of 65. But that will tick up to one in four Wisconsinites in the next 30 years, leading to an increasing reliance on personal caregivers.

“It’s really important that we get a handle on this because one day there might not be health care workers to provide care to our infirm,” said Dian Palmer, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin president.

Also putting pressure on long-term care facilities is Wisconsin’s low Medicaid reimbursement rate.

The industry groups pointed to a recent independent report for the American Health Care Association (AHCA) showing that Wisconsin’s Medicaid reimbursement system is the worst in the country. The report found that Wisconsin’s skilled nursing facilities had a Medicaid deficit of $331.8 million in 2014-2015, meaning these facilities lost that amount of money caring for their residents covered by federal and state Medicaid funds. That translates into a projected loss of $52.84 each day for each Medicaid patient in 2015. The national average is a $22.46 Medicaid shortfall per day in 2015, according to the AHCA.

The current state budget does not include a Medicaid rate increase for nursing facilities, although providers requested a 5% increase to make up for some of the Medicaid shortfall.

State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee), a member of the Legislature’s Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, highlighted the Medicaid reimbursement problem when speaking to the SEIU CNAs on Thursday. Brostoff is advocating for a Medicaid wage pass-through, which would designate some Medicaid funds for increasing workers’ wages.

“We need a wage pass-through so that we can have working families get taken care of so that they can take care of our working families, so that you guys are getting adequate compensation, getting paid, and also that people will want to come into the profession,” Brostoff said.

The CNAs gathered outside of Fortis Management Group in Downtown Milwaukee to call attention to the need to pay their workers a living wage. (The Fortis Management Group is in no way connected to the Shepherd’s publisher, Louis Fortis.) SEIU is currently bargaining a new contract for about 500 Fortis CNAs employed throughout the state and the workers say they would like to see a path to $15 an hour included in the new agreement.

Kim Mackle, a longtime CNA from Sheboygan, said $15 an hour would help ease the financial and emotional stress that she and her fellow workers face as they care for their frail elderly and disabled residents.

“Good happy employees make for a great work environment and a happier home for our residents,” Mackle said.

Fortis Management Group could not be reached for comment.

Aug. 30, 2016
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2016 8 9 Wisconsin Primary Election

Elections are about candidates but for us most Importantly is what they will do once they are in office. Our Union looks at where do they stand on health care, raising wages, and the other issues important to working people. Sometimes even more important is their record of support for those issues. These candidates have passed this test.

How you vote is your choice. We believe these candidates will truly represent the views of working people and our members. WE have worked with them in the past and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future. To elect politicians that will best work for your interests on your job, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin recommends:

– Darrol Gibson – Assembly District 11 (Milwaukee Area)
– David Crowley – Assembly District 17 (Milwaukee Area)
– Mandy Wright – Assembly District 85 (Oshkosh Area)

– LaTonya Johnson – Senate District 6 (Milwaukee Area)
– Diane Odeen – Senate District 10 (Burnett, Polk, St. Croix, Pierce and Dunn Counties)
– Jennifer Shilling- Senate District 32 (LaCrosse Area)

– Ismael Ozanne – Dane County DA
– John Chisholm – Milwaukee County DA

– Tom Nelson – Congressional District 8 (Northeast Wisconsin)
– Russ Feingold – US Senate

Please vote in this primary election! Tuesday, August 9th.
Polls are open 7am until 8pm

For information about where to vote:

For information about voter eligibility and what you need to vote:

Please help remind others to vote too! Thank you for all you do!

In Solidarity,

Dian Palmer, President
SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin

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City of Madison and Dane County pass resolutions, Support of Nursing Assistants and Caregivers

WHEREAS, Certified Nursing Assistants provide safe and compassionate care for our vulnerable populations including our disabled and our elderly by providing for all activities of daily living including feeding, bathing, toileting, etc. as well as meeting the emotional needs for our short-term, long-term, and acute care populations; and,

WHEREAS, a recent Wisconsin provider study, “The Long-Term Care Workforce Crisis: A 2016 Report” found that there is a crisis in caregiving due to wage and benefit disparity and scheduling processes that lead to burnout and understaffing.  The study found:

– 4 out of 5 personal caregivers who took jobs outside of health care left for better pay, better benefits and/or better hours.

– 84% of open hours are filled by using double shifts, overtime, and other strategies which are leading to caregiver burnout and understaffing.

– The median hourly starting wage for personal caregivers is $10.75 compared to $12.00 for local, non-health care, unskilled, entry level work.

– More than 50% of providers do not offer health insurance to part-time staff and one in four providers had at least 10 employees on BadgerCare Plus,

WHEREAS, according to the same Wisconsin study the expected need for personal care workers is projected to increase 26.4% by 2022 which means unfilled shifts and understaffing. The study found:

– There are an estimated 11,500 vacant caregiver positions in Wisconsin long-term and residential care facilities.

– There were 24% fewer people applying for certification as a nursing assistant between 2012 and 2015 and there was a 24% decline in renewals during that same period; and,

Read the full City of Madison Resolution

Read the Dane County Resolution regarding the Crisis in Caregiving Support of Nursing Assistants and Caregivers


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Nursing Assistants are speaking up together to deliver best care for patients, residents and to promote important jobs!

We care for your mother, your father. We care for your son, your daughter. We care for those who cannot care for themselves. Our patients and residents need our expertise to ensure their safety and dignity.

Continue Reading HERE

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Tracy Suprise — Support Fellow Members in San Bernadino

Dear SEIU members and former members,

We all are aware of the horrific deaths of 14 people in San Bernadino, California. Many others were injured. I know we all are concerned about this senseless violence but there is more to this tragedy.

Ten of the fourteen people who were murdered are SEIU members. Yes—is that not a double tragedy for us? I think so….

I am bringing this to your attention because WE ARE UNION. This means we take care of each other. The members killed were young—-have families and did not plan to have funerals or not be able to provide for their children.

WE NEED TO HELP OUT— Help Families, Help kids that lost a parent! You can send money and small amounts are important too—

ATT: Local 721 Member and Family Support Fund
1800 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

You can also donate on-line here:

Our International Union is providing grief counseling and other supports. We can also make a difference. We care and can show it with any contribution. Thanks for all you do!!


Tracy Suprise

– Tracy Suprise is a former UW Health RN, former President of the Union and a current member of the SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Retiree Chapter.

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Dian Palmer Statement and Op-Ed Supporting Secretary Clinton Endorsement

Sisters and brothers,

I’m very excited to pass on this wonderful op-ed from one of our sisters in Iowa (link and text below), Ann Byrne, who wrote about her support for our union’s decision to endorse Hillary Clinton for president. As Ann wrote in the Gazette, “I’m proud to have been one of the thousands of SEIU nurses who fought for the Affordable Care Act and I trust Hillary Clinton to protect, defend and improve it.”

I couldn’t agree more with Ann. Sec. Clinton has been a part of our fight for quality, affordable healthcare from the very beginning. She also understands the critical role we as caregivers play, as providers and as family members.

SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) voted to endorse Secretary Clinton on Nov. 17th after a months-long process that included three polls, multiple tele-townhalls and hundreds of local executive board discussions. While we respect the opinions of members who support a different candidate, the consensus among the IEB, which I sit on, was that Clinton is best prepared to fight, win and deliver for working families.

We will be in touch in the coming weeks to let you know how you can get involved and make a difference for our patients and our families.

On this Thanksgiving eve, I’m thinking of the SEIU nurses who’ll be away from your own families on the holiday to care for others’. I’m thankful and proud.
In Unity,

Dian Palmer,
Chair, SEIU Nurse Alliance

Ann Byrne, guest columnist
Nov 23, 2015 at 9:00 am

Every day as a nurse, I deal with challenges of not enough resources, not enough time and precious lives on the line, and I need to make the right decision. After all, people put their trust in me, just like they put their trust in the nurses, doctors and health care workers they encounter in hospitals and health care centers every day. If you think about it, not a lot can get done in health care without trust.

Thinking about that is why I’m proud that my union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), voted to endorse Hillary Clinton this week. I trust Secretary Clinton. People in the health care profession especially know that she has been making the right decisions in service of the American people for decades. I’m proud to have been one of the thousands of SEIU nurses who fought for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and I trust Hillary Clinton to protect, defend and improve it.

For the first time in my 26 years as a nurse at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, I am finally seeing patients get preventive care. That’s life changing and it is all because of the ACA. Thanks to the health care law, more Americans have coverage than any time in U.S. history. Dads who previously were denied health care because of a pre-existing condition now have affordable insurance, working moms are getting annual screenings and birth control at no additional cost, and young adults can stay covered on their parents’ insurance while they get on their feet after college.

President Barack Obama led the way. But it was Hillary Clinton who put affordable health care at the top of the national agenda for the first time as First Lady. She fought for it then, she kept up the fight as a U.S. Senator. Who better to entrust the continued fight to in the White House?
We’ve made too much progress to put our health care future back in the hands of a Republican president and the corporations that back them. I’m not willing to let tens of thousands of Iowans to lose their health care. Or allow 16 million Americans to lose their affordable coverage at the stroke of a pen. Or see 100 million Americans lose the peace of mind that comes from the lifting of lifetime coverage caps and the end of denials due to pre-existing conditions like cancer and diabetes. There’s not any guesswork here. Every Republican presidential candidate has plans to gut the ACA. We need Hillary Clinton as our next president to stop that from happening.

We also need her new ideas for strengthening health care. Secretary Clinton has outlined plans to take on the out-of-control drug prices that are endangering patients with chronic or serious health conditions. She would require drug companies to provide rebates to seniors on fixed incomes. And insurance companies would have to cover three sick visits to the doctor without triggering a deductible payment. That’s just common sense.

Hillary Clinton has proved that she will fight, deliver and win for working women and men. She knows that when people are able to join together in unions — whether they are nurses, fast food workers, home care workers or adjunct professors — it means a fair shot at raising wages for everyone. Here in Iowa, moms are the sole, primary or co-breadwinners in more than 70 percent of families, and yet their paychecks don’t go far enough. Some 45 percent of Iowans in the private sector do not have a single paid sick day. In the fight for our and our children’s future, Secretary Clinton will be with us every step of the way.

The Iowa caucuses really aren’t far away and every second counts: the holidays are upon us now and before we can blink, it will be February 1. Between now and then, I will join thousands of other nurses and working people to door-knock and phone-bank for Hillary Clinton. I hope you will join me.

• Ann Byrne is a registered nurse. She lives in West Branch.

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SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Stands with Sheboygan Kohler Strikers

2015 11 20 SEIUhcWI supports Kohler Strikers

Please plan to attend Saturday, 11/21 Picket in Sheboygan! CLICK HERE for details.

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SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin members at Gundersen Hospital use their Mutual Interest Committee (MIC) with Gundersen Managers to resolve issues at Gundersen.

SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin and Gundersen Health System announce the establishment of the Mutual Interest Committee (MIC), which will provide members and management the opportunity to jointly deal with workplace problems directly and effectively. MIC provides the chance for labor and management to improve their relationship by discussing shared interests affecting the work place.

The committee will meet bimonthly. The MIC is comprised of 12 union-appointed members and hospital -appointed managerial members. The meetings are chaired by one Union-appointed co-chair and one hospital-appointed co-chair. At least one union staff representative and one representative from Human Resource will be in attendance at each meeting.

  • Read the Full Announcement Launching the Mutual Interest Committee HERE
  • Read the MIC Progress Report, March 2015 through July 2015 HERE
  • Read 2015 Gundersen – MIC – Mutual Interest Committee Calendar for Meetings HERE
  • Read 2015 Gundersen MIC CNA Sub Committee Meetings HERE
  • Read 2015 Gundersen MIC Environmental Services Sub Committee Meetings HERE
  • Read 2015 Gundersen MIC Food Services Sub Committee Schedule HERE

Contact our MIC Union members with any agenda items or concerns. Our Union MIC members are:

Jill King, Union Co-Chair, Environmental Assistant
Veronica Craig, Environmental Assistant
Jim Wemette, Environmental Specialist
Danita Miller, CNA Float Pool
Jessi Denson, CNA Neuro
Jonna Peterson, CNA Obstetrics
Caryn Oldenburg, Food Service
Patty Seidel, Food Service
Joe Pitsch, Logistics


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