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More Health Care Workers join growing movement for respect and a voice to provide nursing home residents quality care!

2014 1 23 Birchwood Workers Winning Together1CNAs at Birchwood Health and Rehabilitation Center in Milwaukee are now represented by SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. On January 23rd, Birchwood caregivers voted 32-16 and will soon begin negotiations for their first SEIUhcWI union contract! Birchwood Workers have joined the effort with SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin to increase low wage worker pay!

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Impact of UWHC Management Plans When Collective Bargaining Ends

This paper is a summary of key issues raised by the transition plan announced by the hospital. Our collective voice has had an impact. CLICK HERE to stand with other UW Health Employees to maintain an independent voice for workers at UWHC and to have a say in our working conditions.

The UWHC Transition Plan in response to ACT 10 was unveiled in parts by the hospital shortly before and within days after the December 4th rally and petition delivery to Donna Katen-Bahensky and the UWHC Authority Board. Even though the hospital receives no direct taxpayer support and hospital management states they did not ask to be included in Act 10, the transition plan represents a fundamental shift in the management’s approach. The hospital appears to be using Act 10 to reduce not only employee’s independent voice, but also the overall wages, hours and working conditions the unions have helped secure in a long term partnership.

Its not too late. UWHC Can Do Better.

Our unions have approached Ms. Katen-Bahensky and the UWHC Authority Board with a willingness to meet with them to discuss proposals that would maintain a high level of patient care and improve employee morale. The hospital, to date has chosen not to work with the unions in developing its plans. Despite Katen-Bahensky’s claim that ACT 10 prevents her from working with our unions we believe that our relationship can include the following elements:

  • The hospital could embrace the concept of elected employee representatives with whom it can meet and confer on hospital employment policies.
  • The hospital could now sit down with representatives from each bargaining unit and together work out personnel policies for the new employee handbook, including within it current contract provisions that have worked well for the parties.
  • The representatives could enforce the handbook provisions through an established grievance procedure and have input into any new policies or proposed changes to the handbook.

Economic Issues:

I. Supplementary Pay – On November 19th, after previously saying no adjustments would be made, the hospital announced that it was going to provide supplementary pay increases to our members to offset the increase cost in health and pension benefit contributions. On July 1, 2014 our members would receive a 4% pay BONUS and every 6 months for the next two years that BONUS would be lessened by 1% until July 1, 2016 when there would be no additional bonus.

Unfortunately, the employee share for pension contribution is increasing by nearly 7%. In addition, monthly health insurance premiums are nearly doubling.
Example: A typical nurse earning $34/hr and working 90% would see an annual increase of over $4,200 in pension contributions. Their monthly insurance premium for a family plan would increase to over $200, with total additional insurance premium increases of over $1,000 annually.

UWHC Could fully reimburse all employees

Over the last 3 years this non-profit health care organization has averaged an 8% profit margin earning $101,473,000 in 2012, and showing a return on equity of 13.10% last year. The UWHC’s growth in equity last year was 15.84% compared to a median of 7% for other Wisconsin hospitals. By any measure the UWHC is doing well financially. The state imposed employee increases in pension and health care costs result in direct savings to the hospital. UWHC is choosing not to fully offset those costs for all employees.

II. Wages for SEIU employees – 1% increase on July 1, 2014 & step increases thru 6/30/15. After July 1, 2016 the hospital plans to increase wages through Merit Pay based on a future comprehensive compensation study. Merit pay without an independent employee voice to monitor its fairness could further damage employee relations.

III. Tuition Reimbursement – After July 1, 2015 all SEIU employees who are first applying for tuition reimbursement regardless of seniority will receive their reimbursement in proportion to their FTE. Currently employees with 5 or more years of UWHC service and/or at least .8 FTE receive 100% reimbursement.
Example: Nurse Betty applies for tuition reimbursement in August 2015 for the fall semester. Betty is a .6 FTE with 6 years of UWHC service. Her tuition for the semester is $2500. Under the Transition Plan she will be reimbursed $1500. Under the SEIU contract she would have been reimbursed $2500.

IV. Overtime – Hours paid for sick leave will no longer be counted toward an employee’s 40 hour work week.

V. Other “known” and possible reduction in benefits and rights:

  1. PM differential starting time changed from 5pm to 6pm
  2. Call back pay reduced from 4 hours to 3 hours
  3. Sick days reduced from 13 to 12 days per year
  4. Seniority bonus capped after 7/1/17 and limited to employees who achieve 25 years seniority by 7/1/17.
  5. Differentials after 7/1/15 are subject to a future comprehensive compensation study.
  6. Low census guidelines may be changed to a mandatory low census policy.

CLICK HERE to stand with other UW Health Employees to maintain an independent voice for workers at UWHC and to have a say in our working conditions.

Seniority Benefits Reduced

I. Nurse residents who were in the program prior to 7/1/2006 lose their retroactive seniority as all seniority is now hospital seniority.

II. Best qualified will be used instead of ability and job requirements that are comparable, for filling job vacancies.

III. Vacation scheduling may take seniority into consideration.

Patient Care Issues

I. HR will develop general guidelines regarding scheduling.

Issues of concern:
1. Posting and adherence to schedules.
2. Scheduling Options
3. Restrictions on 12 hours shifts and shift rotation
4. Shift Preferences
5. Floating
6. Mandatory Overtime
7. Extra Shift Scheduling

II. Labor Management Meetings will be eliminated.

1. Staffing issues will no longer be brought to and discussed with management by your elected representatives.
2. Employees will no longer be able to send Notice of Risk to Patient Care forms to elected representatives so they can elicit responses from management.

Worker Rights

  1. Grievance Procedure: The “improved” grievance procedure for employees who wish to contest disciplines will allow you to have a non-paid co-worker attend formal grievance meetings. If you are suspended you might go before a panel review consisting of handpicked employees and managers.
  2. You will no longer have Weingarten Rights (the right to have a representative at an investigatory interview) and you will no longer be eligible to have your case heard before an impartial arbitrator.

To date, the UWHC Transition Plan is the result of a fatal flaw – the failure to involve employees elected by their peers to develop the plan. UWHC has the ability to remedy this flaw now and after the union contracts expire.

The 5000 Strong Member Action Team is working to change the process and the current plan.

CLICK HERE to stand with other UW Health Employees to maintain an independent voice for workers at UWHC and to have a say in our working conditions.

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SEIU Member Forum with Special Guest MARY BURKE, 2014 Candidate for Wisconsin Governor

Join Us For

SEIU Member Forum with Special Guest MARY BURKE
2014 Candidate for Wisconsin Governor

This Sunday January 19, 2014 1:00pm
SEIU Wisconsin State Council
260 E Highland Ave – suite 300 Milwaukee, Wisconsin

With less than a year until the Governor’s seat is up for election, now is the time to find a candidate who will be a champion for us!

The forum will be open to members to share the issues facing the hard working men and women across the state, and to hear Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke speak on how she plans to fight for the families of Wisconsin.

Members will then be invited to fill out a survey reviewing their thoughts on the candidate that will be used in the official endorsement process.

This is a free event open to all members of SEIU

Free transportation may be available from Madison and Racine—call for details
Please RSVP to Dominique Salice at 414.469.4817 or Salice@seiuwi.org

HOSTED BY THE SERVICES EMPLOYEE INTERNATIONAL UNION

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2013 – Year in Review

2013 Year In ReviewEvery victory, no matter how big or small, builds a path to power for all working people by creating momentum for a larger movement.

Thanks for all you’ve done to move us forward in 2013. Here a few of our highlights from the past year:

  • Faced with losing their independent voice on the job, the 5,000 union members of UW Hospitals & Clinics rallied together to create 5000 Strong. Throughout the year, they held actions to put public pressure on the hospital. Most recently, 108 union members and community allies rallied outside UW Hospital and Clinics before turning in 1,198 petitions to Donna and the Board requesting they formally recognize our right to have an independent voice on the job.
  • SEIU HCWI worked tirelessly to educate and promote others about the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act. With the help of community partners, we held a Health Fair Expo to allow individuals opportunities to sign up for the healthcare exchanges. Thanks to the ACA, millions of uninsured, hardworking Americans who currently don’t get affordable insurance through their employers or can’t afford it on their own will finally have an opportunity to quality for affordable healthcare insurance.
  • Recognizing that healthcare workers all across Wisconsin are all facing the same issues, SEIU Healthcare launched the first-ever Wisconsin Quality Care Lobby Day. We know it is not enough to win rights one bargaining table at a time; we need to create real change. Hundreds of healthcare providers lobbied their legislators to support new legislation to address critical problems including collective bargaining rights, safe staffing levels, mandatory overtime practices, and workplace violence.
  • After nine months of negotiations, the Meriter RNs won a fair contract that did not compromise quality care. Throughout the process, the nurses remained united and committed, standing strong for their patients and themselves.
  • The CNAa at EastCastle and the LPNs at Golden Living Colonial Manor Nursing Home voted “Union Yes!” to join together in SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin. Together, they are uniting for a strong voice in the workplace. They recognize that together we can work towards better conditions for all healthcare workers through safer staffing, better pay, improved scheduling, and input into the decisions that affect the quality of care we provide.
  • Income inequality has become a major problem for our country. SEIU Healthcare participated in nationwide days of actions to raise the wage, as we stood beside our brothers and sisters at fast food restaurants working for a living wage and union representation.
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Latest News from UWHCA: Union Advocate

The Union Advocate is member-produced publication for and by our members at UW Hospitals & Clinics.

Click here to download a PDF version of the newsletter.

uw What’s Happening at UWHCA:
IS UWHCA REALLY A NURSE “MAGNET HOSPITAL” DURING 2014?

HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATION HEARS FROM UWHC EMPLOYEES

The UNION ADVOCATE is looking for articles. Please share your experiences at UW Hospital and Clinics with your co-workers. Write to the union office on 4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 300 Madison, WI 53705 or email LarrryW@seiuhcwi.org.

 

 

 

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HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATION HEARS FROM UWHC EMPLOYEES

Delivered 1,198 signed petitions

On December 4th, 108 union members and community allies rallied outside UW Hospital and Clinics before turning in 1,198 petitions to Donna and the Board requesting they formally recognize our right to have an independent voice on thejob. Our efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The December 11th issue of the Capital Times printed an editorial in support from Michael Schuler, senior administrator of the First Unitarian Society. Additionally, staff writer Jack Craver covered our action.

We’re gaining momentum and the public is watching!

 

 

 

 

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IS UWHCA REALLY A NURSE “MAGNET HOSPITAL” DURING 2014?

Over the years, UWHC employees worked tirelessly to improve working conditions and quality care. Through our efforts, achieved through union bargaining, we achieved many successes like improving staffing and banning mandatory overtime. These efforts did not go unnoticed, and UWHC was awarded with Magnet status. These provisions led to UWHC’s Magnet designation; the conditions didn’t come from our Magnet status.

The award was, and remains, a trophy for the UWHC Board to display as evidence of its credibility, more important to administration than to the average nurse who appreciates and helped cause the pt centered and nurse empowering conditions.

We’ve seen nurses approach management with ideas for improvements that would benefit pt and staff, but UWHC management too often rebuffs these for flimsy reasons. The general attitude of management has seemed that they listen to our collective voice because they have to. They haven’t treated empowered care providers as partners, but as adversaries. In the absence of a union contract, nurses serving on committees to affect pt care will likely find their participation even more frustrating.

We could soon lose our independent voice at the table through our union contract and our contract provisions that helped UWHCA gain the acclaimed “Magnet Status”. (more…)

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Support Living Wage Ordinance in Milwaukee!

Next week, the Milwaukee County Board is holding a special hearing to decide whether or not to pass a living wage ordinance.

By enacting a living wage law, our county supervisors will guarantee that workers paid with public money earn enough to get by, and with them the board can lift thousands of Milwaukee residents out of poverty – but only if there’s enough public support. A MAKE OR BREAK hearing on the living wage is set for Monday at 9AM.

Living Wage Hearing
Milwaukee County Finance Committee
9AM, Monday, December 16
Courthouse, 2nd floor, 901 N 9th St

We need you there to make sure this bill gets through. Corporate interests are already lining up to fight back. Let’s make sure they hear the truth from working families.

Today, over one-third of Milwaukee’s workers are stuck with poverty wages. It doesn’t have to be this way and the county board has the power to change it.

Monday’s hearing will decide whether or not we move forward. Don’t let corporations have the loudest voice. Only by packing the room can we guarantee that supervisors have the support they need.

RSVP for the MAKE OR BREAK hearing today – the future of thousands of families depends on us taking action!

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Fasting for Families: Wisconsin Edition

On Wednesday, faith, community, labor, and immigrant activists will partake in a 24 hour fast in solidarity with the national movement to enact commonsense immigration reform. 

Fast for FamiliesThis year, we have come the closest ever to achieving real immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill (S.744). Now, the House of Representatives has chance to complete the dream for 11 million aspiring Americans by addressing the moral crisis that is our broken immigration system.

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the House continues to delay a vote on the one issue that holds strong bipartisan support and is backed by a breadth of communities and groups across the country.

Every day the House leadership stalls on a vote for immigration reform, families and communities suffer the impact of deportations, deaths on the border, exploitation at work and the fear of living in the shadows with no path to citizenship.

By fasting, we hope to follow the examples of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to touch the compassion and sensibilities of our elected leaders to address the moral crisis of an immigration system that fails to comport with our national values, our creeds and belief in justice.

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Remembering Nelson Mandela

Photo credit – Biography.com

Nelson Mandela, the iconic South African leader who spent 27 years in prison, dedicated his life to fighting for, in his own words, a “free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”

The SEIU family joins communities the world over in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela, a revolutionary leader who led with courage and grace. Mr. Mandela’s decades-long campaign to end apartheid shows that meaningful change might not happen overnight, but it can happen.

HCWI president Dian Palmer remarked, “We may have lost a hero, a man of who fought for decades who fought for justice and equality, but his legacy will not be forgotten. Mandela will forever inspire generations of activists to challenge the status quo demanding social and economic justice for all. As he famously said, “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” Like Mandela, we will continue to persevere, even in the face of insurmountable odds. Mandela’s history shows that there is nothing we cannot accomplish if we are persistent. As we remember Mandela, let’s work together for a world where everyone has a fair shot at a better future.”

 

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