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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Union Settles Three Issues with Management:

  • Managers and supervisors cannot harass, bully, intimidate or retaliate against employees.
  • Workers can now use paid bereavement time whenever they need, not just within five days of a death in the family like before.
  • Schedules must be built starting with all regular employees first, followed by on-call employees second to fill the holes, rather than the other way around like some departments were doing.

Stand Up For Union Security! Don’t Let Gundersen Take Away Our Rights!

Union security gives us the resources and power we need to fight for what’s right at the bargaining table.
Gundersen management wants to weaken our union so they can:

  • Make us work more for less pay;
  • Pay more in premiums for less benefits;
  • Face more discipline with less representation;
  • Gut our pensions and retirement accounts.

Enough is enough! The hospital would not run without hardworking union members and it’s time management starts to respect our rights on the job!

Our next two bargaining sessions will focus on:

  • Staffing,
  • Workload,
  • Scheduling, and
  • Surveillance.

Attend Bargaining With Us:

  • Tue, Oct 21, 7:30am-6pm, Heritage 2R Training Center (above the credit union),
  • Wed, Oct 22, 7:30am-6pm, Lower Level Training Center, Green Bay Building.

In Solidarity – Your Bargaining Team

Jill King – Environmental Services Assistant – days
Jim Wemette – Environmental Services Specialist – days
Sandy Summers – Food & Nutrition – days
Mike Norquist – Facility Ops
Joe Pitsch – Logistics
Danita Miller – CNA Float
Kateeri O’Brien – CNA Behavioral Health
Jessi Denson – CNA Neuro
Veronica Craig – Environmental Services – PMs
Tim Hoeth – Facility Ops – Alternate
Jonna Peterson – CNA – Short Stay – Alternate


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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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Nurse Roundup July 2, 2014

July 2, 2014


Critical Month for Healthcare Law

This summer has brought many surprises already.  While the shocking defeat of Congressman Eric Cantor — who led 50 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, supported Medicaid block grants and wanted to turn Medicare into a voucher system — may seem like good news, we should be worried that even that track record isn’t extreme enough for his Tea Party successor.  It just reminds me how much is at stake in the 2014 elections for the Affordable Care Act.

A divided Supreme Court issued a decision in the Hobby Lobby case that is bad for women’s health, bad for working families and bad for basic workplace protections. It came down just minutes after the Harris v Quinn ruling, another closely divided ruling by the conservative wing of the Court that upheld collective bargaining rights for Illinois home care workers but also said that individuals, could reap the benefits of collective bargaining without paying a “fair share” fee.

The Hobby Lobby ruling stripped away the right of millions of working women and their families to make their personal healthcare decisions in consultation with their healthcare providers — not their bosses.   SEIU President Mary Kay Henry immediately issued a statement warning that this decision -which Justice Ginsberg called “startling” in its breadth — could harm not only women but all workers. As nurses, we’ve advocated for decades for our patients, and we will continue this fight.

We have a lot of work to do, but I can’t imagine better colleagues with whom to be in this fight!

In this issue we also highlight:

  • US Labor Secretary Perez Meets SEIU Nurses in Pittsburgh;
  • Nurses Visit White House and Weigh in on Immigration  Reform; and
  • Polls Show Support for Healthcare Law.


In Solidarity,

Dian Palmer, RN
Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare

News From The States

California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

Nurses Joined President Obama at the White House to Discuss Immigration

On Monday, June 9, President Obama met with nurses from across the country in the Oval Office, to discuss common sense immigration reform. The President underscored his commitment to passing reforms and highlighted the importance of this issue to nurses and medical professionals.

SEIU was represented by Janielle Alana Bennett, Care Pavillion , Folcroft, PA; Patricia Noemi Lopez, Riverside Community Hospital, Riverside, CA; Mary Malaney, Meriter Hospital, Madison, WI; Lejla Sivonjich, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA; Alvin Nadal Vitug, Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Simi Valley, CA; and Eva Zavatti, St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, Hobe Sound, FL. These SEIU nurses shared their own immigration stories and their experiences with workers and their families from the frontlines of care.


LETTERS: SEIU-member nurses key great care

SEIU member Michael Collins sets the record straight in a letter published in the Las Vegas Sun Journal.

To the editor:

Richard Berman, a Washington, D.C., lobbyist for special interests and large corporations, recently wrote a commentary in which he offered a dangerous misdiagnosis of what’s ailing American hospitals (“Congress must curb SEIU’s health care imposition,” June 5 Review-Journal). As a nurse for 30 years who has spent my career making patients my priority, I would like to share my perspective on why the united voices of nurses and other health care providers make an enormously positive difference for patients.

To read the full letter, click here:


US Labor Secretary Perez Meets with SEIU Nurses in Pittsburgh

US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez traveled to Pittsburgh on June 11 to meet with frontline nurses at Allegheny General Hospital and recognize their collaborative work with hospital administrators as a national model of innovation for improving patient care and satisfaction while reducing costs.

“One of the best way to change the culture at AGH is to involve as many nurses as possible in studying a process, seeing its successes and flaws and leading the way to help fix it,” said AGH Chapter President Cathy Stoddart, RN. “Our work has been made possible because we as union nurses have the ability to have a significant voice on the job and the ability to foster strong, collaborative relationships with hospital administrators through our union.”

RNs have been working with management at AGH since 2003 to create unit-based Patient Care Committees and a hospital-wide Nurse Collaboration Council allowing nurses and management to think through issues together to make the hospital run more smoothly. Through these, nurses and management launched a variety of initiatives to improve quality and contain costs.

Read more:


SEIU Nurse Named Citizen of the Day

Vanessa Patricelli, a SEIU 1199NW member, was named Washington State Citizen of the Day by Governor Jay Inslee for her work for her work reaching out and educating those in her community about the expansion of Medicaid and about the new healthcare law.

Patricelli is a 31-year-old registered nurse who works at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Back in November, she took two weeks off from her job to work full time promoting the new healthcare law.

In addition to setting up information tables at her hospital and talking to people on the street, Patricelli and her fellow SEIU 1199NW members spent time visiting small business owners in the Seattle area. They let them know how they could guide their employees to some of the lower-cost or even free healthcare plans that were starting Jan. 1.

Read the full post here:

News Nurses Need

Uninsured rate holds at record low in survey

The ratio of those without health insurance has fallen dramatically since last year but held steady at a new low of 13.4 percent for May and April, according to a poll.

A Gallup survey published Thursday shows the uninsured in the U.S. dropped from 17.4 percent in the last quarter of 2013, when launched, to 15.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, before eventually landing at 13.4 percent.

“The uninsured rate for U.S. adults appears to be leveling off since the open enrollment period for buying health insurance coverage through the marketplace ended in mid-April,” said Gallup. “Across nearly every major subgroup, the uninsured rate is lower now compared with the fourth quarter of 2013.”


Read the full article in the Hill:

Parkland’s Unique Wage Plan Spurs Employee Pay Discussion

At a meeting of the board, Parkland Health and Hospital System decided to raise the wages of their minimum wage employees with funds from an executive bonus pool.  This decision created a great deal of discussion.  Read an excerpt of the article below:

What makes the Parkland situation “unusual,” according to Reich, is how the wage hike is being funded. The cost of the new wages for low-income earners will be covered from an executive incentive pool, said Jim Dunn, Parkland’s executive vice president and chief talent officer. And this is not a one-time event. Dunn said the new $10.25-per-hour rate will become system policy going forward, even if Parkland doesn’t have executive incentives to cover the costs.

It sounds like a bold initiative for a safety net health system that nearly had its Medicare and Medicaid funding revoked, lost more than $450 million from operations in 2013, and is wrapping up construction of a new $1.3 billion hospital.

“If there is a year that Parkland does not have (incentives), Parkland will find a way to fund the increase through other efficiencies,” Dunn said. “We anticipate this will be very sustainable, post the move into the new hospital.”

“Our entry-level positions are just as valuable as our executives,” he added.

Click here to read the full article at Modern Healthcare:

Countdown to Coverage

Bloomberg News Poll: People Don’t Want Repeal

The Washington Post provides an analysis of the new  Bloomberg News poll and finds that it will pose an additional problem to those who simply refuse to accept the reality that, while disapproval of the law remains high, the American people still want to stick with it:

What is your opinion of the health care law?
It should be repealed: 32
It may need small modifications, but we should see how it works: 56
It should be left alone: 10

So 66 percent support giving the law a chance to work with possible small modifications or leaving it alone, versus only 32 percent who want it done away with. This seems like fair wording.

To read the full story at the Washington Post:

See the Bloomberg News poll:

For Women Just Out Of Jail, Health Care Could Be Key To Better Life

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is implementing a new city law allowing its staff to enroll inmates into health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi believes that making sure people have health coverage when they’re released will help prevent them from committing another crime and coming back.


Read the full article in Kaiser Health News:

Report: Medicaid expansion would help thousands of uninsured veterans

The chief executive of the Kansas Hospital Association, Tom Bell, penned an opinion piece highlighting the negative impact that the refusal to expand Medicaid is having on veterans and their families.  Below is an excerpt from Bell’s opinion piece:

But for many, a local access point is problematic. One in 10 of the nation’s nonelderly veterans has no health insurance and does not use VA services — that’s 1.3 million veterans. Nearly 950,000 of their family members also lack coverage. That’s because nearly half of uninsured veterans have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level — $26,951 for a family of three. At this level, veterans would be eligible for coverage under Medicaid as states expand their programs. In fact, if all states would expand Medicaid, nearly half of the nation’s uninsured veterans would have access to affordable health coverage.

For states like Kansas, that have rejected Medicaid expansion for the last two years, the situation is unfortunate. Kansas has 15,000 veterans and 10,000 family members without health insurance. Using the national percentage of 48.8 percent of veterans with incomes below the poverty level, the estimated number of Kansas veterans and family members who would be eligible for Medicaid coverage under expansion would be 12,200.

To read the full opinion piece click here:

To read the article about the release in the Kansas Health Institute click here:

To read the Urban Institute Report click here:

What We’re Reading

The App-Based Healthcare of the Future

At the Northside Festival in Brooklyn on Thursday (6/12/14), a small panel convened to discuss the ways our data-driven tech scene can work to the advantage of every patient in health care–but hasn’t. Called “Empowering the Most Important Caregiver: The Patient,” members included Chris Bradley, CEO of Mana Health, Mario Schlosser of health insurance startup Oscar, Rachel Winokur of Aetna’s tech services division Healthagen, and Paul Wilder of The NY eHealth Collaborative.

“All of this data is being generated in healthcare,” said Chris Bradley, “but it’s not helping the people who need it most.”

Recent announcements from companies like Apple suggest that the next big push in tech is going to be for our health.


To see the full article click here:

‘Bionic Pancreas’ Works for 5 Days in Outpatient Settings

Progress toward the development of a closed-loop “artificial pancreas” has hit a new milestone, improving blood glucose levels in adults and teenagers with type 1 diabetes for 5 days straight in real-world settings.

The findings, from 2 separate studies of 20 adults and 32 adolescents, respectively, were presented here at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2014 Scientific Sessions by Steven J. Russell, MD, PhD, of the diabetes unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. The study results were also simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Read the full article at Medscape:

Quick Links

The Nurse Alliance Roundup is now online.

Want to see past issues of the Nurse Alliance newsletter, beginning in 2013? Now you can.

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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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