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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Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel calls out Governor Walker

Gov. Scott Walker needs to talk. He should hold a news conference to explain how much he knew about a secret email system as Milwaukee County executive. And he needs to let reporters ask as many questions as they want.

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Meriter Service and Support Members Seek Better Staffing and Workloads

Last week, the Meriter Service and Support Bargaining Team sat down to put the issues most important to SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin members at Meriter Hospital on the table. The Meriter Service and Support union bargaining team is fighting hard to attain better staffing levels and workloads. Meriter wants their retirement.

Management put very few issues on the table and even less that aimed to create a better work environment. Instead, they put retirement, health insurance and economic issues at the forefront.

The Union Bargaining Team asks Meriter employees to take a stand and attend Bargaining. Say no to cuts to retirements and futures.

Contract negotiations will be held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, February 11 – 13th, 7:30am-7:00pm at the Quality Inn on Fish Hatchery Road at the corner of Cahill Main (just after Copps) in Fitchberg.

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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


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