“Right-to-Work” is WRONG for Wisconsin

2015 2 26 Gathering1 for Rally at State Capitol

[CLICK on the above image to watch a news report of Wednesday’s Rally]

On Tuesday, February 24th, and on Wednesday, February 25th, 2,000 Wisconsinites showed up at the State Capitol to speak out against a proposal to make it illegal for private employers to enter into agreements with labor unions that include provisions requiring people pay for the costs associated with negotiating, defending and improving their union contract.

Since 1947, it has been illegal to require a person to join a union as a condition of employment.

This “Right-to-Work” (for less) law, exclusively supported by Republican lawmakers, will likely result in lower wages for most workers as job standards decline. Meriter Nurse Allison Sorg addressed the Wednesday Rally as dozens of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin members attended the rally and registered their opposition to the proposed law. SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin members were among the more than 160 people requesting to testify to the Senate Labor Committee on Tuesday before it was abruptly halted, denying them their voice in the proceeding.

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Gundersen Hospital Members Ratify New Three Year Contract

Gundersen union workers and bargaining team members worked around the clock for months to win new three year contract.

Gundersen union workers and bargaining team members worked around the clock for months to win new three year contract.

La Crosse, WI –

After months of negotiating, Gundersen hospital members of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin settled a new, three year contract with hospital management on Dec 19, 2014 and ratified it a four days later on Dec 23.

Union members made no concessions on benefits and won across the board pay raises,  extended bereavement leave, advance notice of disciplinary or investigatory meetings and a ban on the use of surveillance technology to evaluate or discipline workers.

“It feels really great,” said Jessi Denson, a certified nursing assistant and union bargaining team leader.  “The hospital wanted to take away our union security but hundreds of members stood up and spoke out, and as a result, we won a significantly stronger contract.”

Members say there’s still a lot of work to do at Gundersen hospital to end the subcontracting out of good union jobs and ensure a safely staffed hospital.

Your new union contract is available online HERE

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Thankful For You

Our union gives us a voice on the job and the power to bargain collectively over wages, benefits, & working conditions; the opportunity to move up before outsiders move in; protection & representation when it matters most; and a lot more.

At Gundersen members are working hard to win a good contract that puts workers and patients first. This year, we want 1) Respect for Our Union. 2) An End to Subcontracting Out Our Jobs. 3) Raises For Everybody. 4) Safe Staffing Levels. Last week, we had discussions with management on scheduling, subcontracting, and disciplinary practices, but they will still not move off of their positions on the big ticket items, like trying to take away union security.

This year, we’ve already won extended bereavement leave, prior notice and purpose of meetings, a non-discrimination policy & restrictions on the improper management surveillance of employees.
2014 11 Gundersen-SEIUhcWI Bargaining Team

In the past, we’ve won weekend differential pay, better scheduling practices, generous PTO benefits, pay raises, dozens of grievance & arbitration cases, kept our pensions & a lot more. Let’s go for the gold. Stand up, speak out & we will win. Strength lies in unity. Hope lies in action.

We Are Thankful For Our Union and For All Our Members Who Make Us Strong

Your SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin bargaining team with Gundersen Health System,

Jill King, Environmental Services Assistant
Jim Wemette, Environmental Services Specialist
Sandy Summers, Food and Nutrition
Mike Norquist, Facility Ops
Joe Pitsch, Logistics
Danita Miller, CNA Float Pool
Kateeri O’Brien, CNA Behavioral Health
Jesi Denson, CNA Neuro
Veronica Craig, Environmental Services
Tim Hoeth, Facility Ops
Jonna Peterson, CNA Short

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Causing Better Jobs at Gundersen Health

“Our union was built by those who fought and struggled before us.  Giving their time and energy to build the rights and benefits we all enjoy today.  UNION starts with us!  Please support your union brothers and sisters for we are trying to make this a better environment for all of us, and for all of those who come after us.  It is our responsibility to help build a united front, to stand with our fellow workers.  To take the time needed to make a difference. We have to stand as ONE. It is up to all of us to help better the lives of our co-workers, our patients, and the ones who will come after us!  If we do that and encourage our fellow workers to do the same, then we can be PROUD of ourselves, knowing that we fought the fight for EVERYONE and not just for ourselves.  Let’s join together and make a different in OUR world!  Do ourselves and our families PROUD in this hour of need.”

– Environmental Assistant Kerry Creger

2014 Gundersen Environmental Assistants Scott Breska. Nancy Haynie. and Kerry Creger


Above: Environmental Assistants Scott Breska, Nancy Haynie and Kerry Creger attended contract negotiations on Wednesday and told Gundersen management personal stories from the hospital floor about how being over-worked and under-staffed is leading to increased concerns about worker and patient safety.  Three CNA’s also came as guest speakers and told management that their patient load is too high.

Stand up and support our Gundersen bargaining team on Wednesday, November 19, Green Bay Building, Lower Level Conference Room, anytime between 7:30am – 6pm

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Watch unscripted conversations with the Wisconsin candidates for Governor

These are worth watching. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board hosted unscripted conversations with the Wisconsin candidates for Governor. Polls say the race is tied. These videos feature the candidates talking with Editorial writers.

Watched the visits here:

Click on the candidate’s name to watch them. Nice work Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for making these available.

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Report from Gundersen Bargaining and Attend Future Gundersen Bargaining Sessions

*** Union & Gundersen Management Exchanged Proposals on October 6th

Our Union 2015 contract bargaining has begun. As in the past, both sides attempt to resolve non-economic issues before economics so no economic proposals have been exchanged. Our Union has offered real proposals to improve working conditions, raise member living standards, improve patient care and make Gundersen a better, safer place to work.

Get the full report from the first day of bargaining HERE


*** All SEIUHealthcare Wisconsin / Gundersen Union Members Invited to Attend Bargaining!!

Please mark your calendars to attend bargaining sessions whenever possible. You can come at any time that fits into your calendar and stay as long as you want to. You can only observe while Gundersen Management is in the room but during Union caucuses you can participate in the discussion. Bargaining will take place on the following confirmed Bargaining Dates for 2014 from 7:30 am—6pm:

  • Monday, October 13—Green Bay Bldg Lower Level Training Center
  • Tuesday, October 14—ICE House, 4th Floor

Get the full schedule HERE


Even more Gundersen membership chapter information available HERE

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STUDY: Workers in “Right-to-Work” States Receive 24% More Government Assistance

A new University of Illinois-Urbana study on “Right-to-Work” laws shows that collective bargaining subsidizes low-wage work in some states.  With Illinois facing the possibility of GOP nominee Bruce Rauner winning the gubernatorial race by positioning himself as “the next Scott Walker” and pushing for “Right-to-Work” at the county level, the truth about the matter and its negative effects are timely.

From Labor and Employment Relations professor Robert Bruno and policy director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute Frank Manzo IV:

Our study found that right-to-work laws weaken state economies and strain public budgets.  Right-to-work laws not only sap government revenue in the form of reduced tax receipts, but they also increase government spending in outlays for food stamps and the earned income tax credit.”

The argument is simple: Just as “Right-to-Work” allows some workers to freeload to the detriment of others, it also allows states to promote an anti-labor business model on the dime of those who respect workers.  Workers in “Right-to-Work” states account for 37.4 percent of federal income tax revenues, for instance, but receive 41.9 percent of non-health, non-retirement government assistance.

“Right-to-Work” states typically receive assistance from the federal government without paying their fair share.  Workers in “Right-to-Work” states receive $0.232 in non-health, non-retirement assistance per dollar they contribute in federal income tax.  Workers in collective bargaining states, on the other hand, receive $0.187 per federal income tax dollar, or 24 percent less.

Continue the the full article HERE


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Homecare Workers are Standing UP

2014 7 19F SHO Network Leaders and Bargaining Team

Led by Network Leaders and a strong bargaining team, SHO Members fight for rights and a fair Union Contract. Pictured here are Wyconda, Union President Dian Palmer, James, Deborah and Lola. In the front row are Missy, Andrea, Arkesia, April, Tisha and Tiara. SHO members will be rallying together to demand a fair contract on Thursday, August 14th at 11am at the corner of Harmonee & Wauwatosa Ave in Wauwatosa. Get a Flier HERE and be there!

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Congratulations to SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin nurse Ann Louise Tetreault

2014 5 6 Ann Louise Tetreault..

Congratulations to SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin nurse Ann Louise Tetreault for receiving the Nurse Excellence Award!! Ann Louise is a UWHCA Chapter Steward and is SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin Treasurer. You are recognized by nurses across the country for your leadership promoting the benefits of collective bargaining. Your employer and patients recognize you for your nursing skill and compassion. Congratulations to all SEIU Nurses for Excellence every day in caring for your patients!



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Meriter Service & Support Economic Proposals are on the table: Meriter Wants Your Retirement

Management Economic Proposal:
•    Discontinue Custom Health Insurance Plan. This could make the Tiered Plan more expensive down the road.
•    Hard Freeze your Pension. Anyone hired after December 1, 2013 will be ineligible to participate in the pension plan.
•    Give a 5¢ raise in 2014 and 2015.
•    Keep Short Term Medical Disability (STMD) as is. However, this is NOT off the table. They have not withdrawn it and can propose changes to it at any point in bargaining.

Union Economic Proposal:
•    Wage increase of 5%. Meriter is a profitable hospital and can afford to raise the wages of the backbone of the hospital.
•    Health Insurance premiums to be paid by Meriter at 100% for all plans. The cost of health insurance keeps going up. As healthcare workers, we deserve health insurance we can afford.
•    Tuition Assistance increased to $6,000 max from $4,000. Many of us are going back to school to offer more as employees and to our families. More tuition assistance = a stronger workforce.

Be at Bargaining. Show Management you won’t give in to huge cuts to your retirement.
Bargaining is held @ the Quality Inn on Fish Hatchery Rd. just after Copps every Tues, Wed, Thurs, until March 9th. Join us anytime between 7:30a and 6p

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