“If there’s no [legal] duty to bargain over a topic in a collective bargaining relationship, or if there’s no duty to bargain anything, there can still be a union that represents the employees, and the employer, if it wishes to, can meet and confer with the representative of the union over topics they mutually wish to discuss,” says Peter Davis, a staff attorney and formerly general counsel for the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC).
If You Have Questions or to
What We’re Doing
After signing up a powerful majority of nurses at UWHCA, a group of nurse leaders attended the December 19th UWHCA Board of Directors meeting to present our demands:
1. Voluntarily recognize our union and return to productive and positive collaboration with nurses that made UWHC the kind of remarkable hospital system Wisconsin citizens deserve.
2. Meet and confer with us regarding staffing and scheduling concerns, with the highest priority being placed on setting safe and appropriate nurse/patient ratios for every nursing unit.
3. Restore the just-cause standard and Weingarten rights for all to re-establish an environment in which nurses are able to function as fearless patient advocates and trusted leaders of the health care delivery team.
For more information, contact: UWHCNurses4union@gmail.com
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Aging Committee, have introduced the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019. This legislation is vital to guarantee the human right to high quality, long term care for the seniors and individuals with disabilities who depend on nursing home facilities to survive. 25 Representatives and two Senators joined Congresswoman Schakowsky and Senator Blumenthal as original cosponsors of the legislation.
“I consistently read horror stories from around the country of nursing homes that could have done better to protect their residents. I am introducing the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019 to make sure that our nursing homes provide a level of care our seniors deserve. This legislation will provide more adequate staffing, better training for our hardworking nurses, and enhanced protections for the legal rights of nursing home residents,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky.“Putting a loved one in a nursing facility is always a difficult decision. We must ensure nursing home residents are not harmed because of deficiencies in the facilities they rely on to survive. Every person in the United States deserves the right to age with dignity and respect.”
Senator Blumenthal stated, “Our legislation will institute a clear minimum standard for the level of care our seniors deserve at a nursing home. When nursing homes don’t maintain adequate staffing levels, it harms both the dedicated professionals who are trying to provide the best care possible, and the seniors receiving it. Seniors and their families shouldn’t have to live in fear that inadequate staffing at their nursing home could result in injury, illness, or worse.”
The Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019 is the first comprehensive legislation to ensure that residents of nursing homes are guaranteed their right to appropriate and high quality care. The bill:
Nursing homes provide essential care for more than 1.3 million Americans every year—older Americans, individuals with disabilities, and patients with physical and mental health concerns all depend on these facilities for quality care to survive and to live a fuller life.
However, nursing homes in the United States are too often understaffed and mismanaged, preventing residents from receiving the care they need. A June 2019 Government Accountability Office reportfound that understaffing and insufficient staff training increases residents’ risk of experiencing abuse. In fact, the number of nursing home resident abuse citations more than doubled between 2013 and 2017, and investigative reports by ProPublicaand CNNin particular have found hundreds of cases of residents who were maltreated or even sexually assaulted by nursing home staff.
More stringent minimum staffing requirements could not be more urgent. Over the past two decades, the medical intensity and complexity of care for nursing facility residents has increased dramatically. Medical innovation has helped patients to be discharged from hospitals sooner and live with previously fatal conditions longer. These patients are often discharged to a nursing home. The absence of adequate staffing could mean that there is nostaff present who can respond when residents’ medical conditions suddenly change or deteriorate, putting residents in extreme danger.
Inadequate staffing and training can lead to a host of negative health consequences, from untreated bedsores to avoidable hospitalizations and even death. Some grim examples include: a resident in Iowa who was given an overdose of a potent seizure medication by an aide who did not know how to measure the drug properly; a Florida resident who died from an infection that spread from his untreated, rotting genitals; and a 97-year old woman in Illinois who was so uncared for that she had bedsores on both buttocks the size of a golf ball with no treatment.
Representatives Jahana Hayes (CT-5), John Garamendi (CA-03), Tim Ryan (OH-13), André Carson (IN-07), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Karen Bass (CA-37), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Judy Chu (CA-27), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Barbara Lee (CA-13) andPaul Tonko (NY-20) were all original cosponsors of the legislation in the House.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are original cosponsors of the legislation in the Senate.
The Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act of 2019 has been endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), Caring Across Generations, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, Long Term Care Community Coalition, Medicare Rights Center, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, andService Employees International Union (SEIU).
A section by section summary of the legislation is available HERE.
APPLETON, WI – Service Employees International Union Healthcare Wisconsin (SEIU HCWI) members at ThedaCare Appleton, fellow union members, community allies, and State Representative Amanda Stuck rallied on Monday to demand that management maintain safe staffing levels by investing in their employees.
The Union maintains that the wage increases management is offering are not enough to recruit and retain employees–a problem that has led to chronic staffing shortages and a decline in patient care. Employees regularly leave ThedaCare Appleton for jobs at other facilities with higher pay, as competitors in the area pay around $2 per hour more for the same work.
“My co-workers are leaving in droves and taking jobs with higher pay. We’ve lost ten employees in just over a month–five in a single week,” said Amy Christopherson, an SEIU housekeeper at ThedaCare. “Many who have stayed work two or three jobs and donate plasma to pay for basic expenses. These conditions make it difficult to recruit and retain employees.”
“We are currently working at 50% staffing with 18 open positions,” Christopherson added. “Being so understaffed is harmful to our patients. We have to cut corners to get all of the work completed during our shift. Staff are currently assigned two floors with roughly 40-48 patients. We are expected to complete stat discharges before daily cleans, and therefore not all rooms are cleaned every day. It can’t stay like this.”
Mark Heinrich, a ThedaCare cook and member of SEIU’s negotiation team, addressed the crowd about ThedaCare’s proposed changes to benefits and bargaining rights.
“We’re already struggling to pay our medical bills, and ThedaCare is telling us they need the “flexibility” to change our benefits. They want to take away our right to negotiate over health insurance, retirement, disability, leave of absence, differentials, on-call pay, and even wages. Bargaining over benefits and compensation is a fundamental union right that is under attack,” Henrich said. “If health insurance costs go up, or we have to pay more out of pocket, I’m not sure what we’ll do. There are so many of us having to deal with this – I have co-workers who can’t pay their medical bills, and ThedaCare has taken them to collections. It’s just wrong.”
State Representative Amanda Stuck, who represents a large portion of Appleton in Wisconsin State Assembly’s 57th District, spoke at Monday’s demonstration.
“ThedaCare owns seven hospitals with revenues nearing $1 billion, yet its service and support employees can’t make ends meet. These are conscientious, hard-working people with jobs crucial to patient safety. They should not have to work multiple jobs to be able to pay their bills,” Stuck commented. “ThedaCare needs to agree to a fair union contract with higher compensation to recruit and retain the staff necessary for quality patient care. Appleton deserves a hospital that prioritizes patients over profits.” Stuck, a Democrat, is currently running for Congress in Wisconsin’s Eighth District.
SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin represents CNAs, Housekeepers, Sterile Processing Technicians, Dining Services workers, and Facilities workers at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center – Appleton. The workers voted down management’s final offer on October 1, 2019, for failing to address the Union’s core issues of negotiations – recruiting and retaining well-trained staff to be able to provide quality care in a safe, sterile environment to their patients and community. The parties have been at the table since April. The contract expired on April 30, 2019, with an extension through June 10, 2019, and has since not been extended.
You can directly help United Auto Workers on strike at General Motors by visiting HERE:
SEIU Support to UAW at GM Background
Background on Unions for All and the GM Strike
Over the last decades, the Big Three have increasingly subcontracted out their work to non-union parts suppliers whose workers earn far less than the union rate. Particularly at the non-union suppliers down South, safety violations are rampant, wages are about 70 cents on the dollar compared to those earned by auto workers in Michigan, and hours are punishing. The Big Three have also hired more temporary workers, who earn lower wages, receive fewer benefits, and lack stable employment.
Meanwhile, foreign automakers like Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen have entered the U.S. market, operating their plants with non-union workers and paying their workers, on average, about $10 less per hour than UAW members receive. The non-union companies rely even more heavily on temporary employees and on parts suppliers with horrendous safety records.
Whatever contract the UAW members and GM eventually reach, it is unlikely to solve the downward pressure on employment that plagues the auto industry. To address that, and to secure the future of good jobs generally, we need a labor law system that guarantees bargaining rights for all workers in the sector.
Background on Trump and the GM Strike
Today, we delivered our petitions to ThedaCare demanding better wage increases, retro pay, and to stop union busting! Thank you to everyone who signed the petition!
Several members had a chance to voice their concerns of how the low wages at ThedaCare mean staff are more likely to leave and the impacts that has on patient care. We heard of the struggles in health care costs, child care costs, and general costs of living. We also addressed the inequitable wage increases ThedaCare proposed that generally leave those with more years of service with the lowest increases. We hope that ThedaCare heard our message in preperation for our next negotiation session.
Our next negotiation session will be on Friday, September 6, 2019 starting at 8:30am. We’ll be at the Red Lion Hotel in the Kimberly Room (basement). Stop by anytime in the morning.
We hope everyone had a Happy Labor Day! As a reminder, if you worked an unscheduled shift yesterday, you are entitled to the Unscheduled Weekend Incentive! This incentive starts at 3pm on Fridays and runs through 7am on Mondays and includes holidays.
Together we win!
Every month we’ve had reason to celebrate this year. Many co-workers have trained and stepped forward as union stewards, worksite leaders, bargaining team members and activists. Many have signed petitions, signed new membership cards, signed up to build our power with COPE and volunteered to build our organization – your organizaton, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. Together we’ve improved workplaces and achieved new contracts with better pay and higher standards to help us deliver the best possible patient care.
This Monday, September 2nd is our annual holiday jubilee that according to the United States Department of Labor, is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
The Wisconsin Labor Movement holds Labor Day Events across our State. Hopefully you enjoy this day with those you love, including fellow union sisters and brothers at our Labor Day celebrations described below. Please attend as you are able!
Happy Labor Day, 2019!
Ramon Argandona, President
SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin
Labor Fest 2019 Sponsored by Fox Valley Area Labor Council
Monday, September 2, 2019 at 10am – 6pm
Parade 10am, Menasha (Racine & Broad St) through Neenah (Downtown).
Festival: 11-5 PM at the Neenah Labor Temple, 157 N Green Bay Rd, Neenah, WI
12 noon- 5 PM – Live Music TIME MACHINE
11 AM-5 PM Festival: Corn Roast, Food, Beverage Tent, Raffles, Family Fun Bouncers, Slushies, Face Painting, Balloons, Rummage & Crafts. Free admission and public welcome.
Hosted by the Fox Valley Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO
La Crosse Labor Day Parade & Fest ’19 • LaCrosse
Monday, September 02, 2019 • 10:00 AM Parade
Copeland Park, La Crosse • 1130 Copeland Park Dr, La Crosse, WI
SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin members will be meeting at the intersection of George and Gillette Street in front of Gordy’s Market in North La Crosse at 9:30am sharp
The parade is 10 blocks long and ends at a Copeland Park where there will be a picnic, raffle, bingo and other games SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin members are welcome to bring family and friends
Hosted by Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO
Laborfest ’19 · Hosted by South Central Federation of Labor • Madison
Monday, September 2 at Noon – 5:30PM
Madison Labor Temple 1602 S Park St, Madison, WI
Free and open to the public. Live Music including by bands like the Jimmy’s and Chris O’Leary Band. Family-friendly activities include magic shows, face painting, a bounce house, balloon twister, and a caricature artist.
SCFL’s Community Services Committee will be collecting deodorant, small bottles of laundry detergent, liquid body wash, shampoo, hand/body lotion, and food gift cards for homeless students in the Madison area.
Laborfest Milwaukee · Hosted by Milwaukee Area Labor Council • Milwaukee
Monday, September 2, 2019 at 11am – 5pm
SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin will meet up at 10:30am to line up for the parade and distribute t-shirts. We generally meet near Zeidler Park; our staging area specifically is on W. Michigan St. between
3rd St. and Vel R. Phillips Ave (former 4th St.). Members are welcome to bring family and friends.
11am Henry W. Maier Festival Park – 200 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
11am March to LaborFest at the Summerfest grounds
Noon LaborFest opens at the Summerfest grounds (*** Free parking is available on the south end of the Summerfest grounds). FREE and open to the public!
Festival offers free entertainment all day long for the kids and family.
Wausau Area Labor Day Parade • Wausau
Monday, September 2
Line up for parade at 3pm from 3rd Ave to Cherry St along West Wausau Ave.
Parade starts at 4:00pm and will go down 3rd Ave and end at the Wausau Labor Temple.
Hosted by the Marathon County Central Labor Council AFL-CIO
Union members at Meriter Hospital, like Joe, Pat and Allison here, and Gundersen Health System are attending trainings to become Worksite Leaders. These SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Union Member Worksite Leaders are stepping up to enforce their union contracts and help build a united workplace!
Interested in becoming an SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Worksite Leader too? Contact your SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Staff Representative. Checkout SEIU’s steward manual here: https://www.seiu.org/cards/the-complete-stewards-manual
I’ve worked Non-Union jobs my whole life, at jobs with no union contract where the rules and policies can change at the whim of whoever is in charge that day, where workers have no say in what those policies will end up being.
When people ask why I became a Preceptor, that answer is easy as well, Information and Communication is important and so often times its inaccurate. As a Union Preceptor I know that when people ask me a question I can ensure the information is correct.
I like the fact that I have someone in my corner and that I’m no longer subjected to the changing tides of whoever happens to be in charge next. I hope the Union and Gundersen can keep trying to work together so we can continue to improve our place of work and our lives.
Thank you all for being part of this union, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, with me, and let me know if you have any questions!
Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) provide essential bedside care to patients and gather vital information necessary for nurses and physicians. They work in a wide variety of environments, from hospitals to nursing homes and even in patients’ own homes. Wisconsin joins 30 states and the District of Columbia in having a training standard higher than the federal government, but politicians in Madison want to lower CNA training standards in Wisconsin. A bill designed to cut training hours is moving in our legislature.
On Wednesday, May 15, the Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote on AB 76, a bill that would cut the educational training hours for CNAs nearly in half.
Having high training standards and receiving high marks for healthcare quality are not unrelated. In fact, they are very closely linked. Having a highly trained workforce ensures that workers are performing at high levels, ensuring a high standard of patient care.
To combat CNA shortages, the answer is to raise pay. Currently, CNAs are some of the lowest paid healthcare workers and they have increased responsibilities to care for our mothers, our fathers, our grandparents, the frail, and the vulnerable. Their work is difficult and often backbreaking – CNAs suffer high rates of workplace injuries.
The important jobs CNAs do should be valued at a higher rate by making improvements in their pay, working conditions, and staffing ratios. This is the only solution to the CNA shortage – not cutting training requirements.
The hasty and reckless public policy proposal to cut training requirements in half for CNAs has the potential to send insufficiently trained CNAs into positions where their lack of training could put patient care in danger.
Stephanie Bloomingdale, President, Wisconsin AFL-CIO
Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer, Wisconsin AFL-CIO