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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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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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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“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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