Sisters and brothers,
I’m very excited to pass on this wonderful op-ed from one of our sisters in Iowa (link and text below), Ann Byrne, who wrote about her support for our union’s decision to endorse Hillary Clinton for president. As Ann wrote in the Gazette, “I’m proud to have been one of the thousands of SEIU nurses who fought for the Affordable Care Act and I trust Hillary Clinton to protect, defend and improve it.”
I couldn’t agree more with Ann. Sec. Clinton has been a part of our fight for quality, affordable healthcare from the very beginning. She also understands the critical role we as caregivers play, as providers and as family members.
SEIU’s International Executive Board (IEB) voted to endorse Secretary Clinton on Nov. 17th after a months-long process that included three polls, multiple tele-townhalls and hundreds of local executive board discussions. While we respect the opinions of members who support a different candidate, the consensus among the IEB, which I sit on, was that Clinton is best prepared to fight, win and deliver for working families.
We will be in touch in the coming weeks to let you know how you can get involved and make a difference for our patients and our families.
On this Thanksgiving eve, I’m thinking of the SEIU nurses who’ll be away from your own families on the holiday to care for others’. I’m thankful and proud.
Chair, SEIU Nurse Alliance
Ann Byrne, guest columnist
Nov 23, 2015 at 9:00 am
Every day as a nurse, I deal with challenges of not enough resources, not enough time and precious lives on the line, and I need to make the right decision. After all, people put their trust in me, just like they put their trust in the nurses, doctors and health care workers they encounter in hospitals and health care centers every day. If you think about it, not a lot can get done in health care without trust.
Thinking about that is why I’m proud that my union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), voted to endorse Hillary Clinton this week. I trust Secretary Clinton. People in the health care profession especially know that she has been making the right decisions in service of the American people for decades. I’m proud to have been one of the thousands of SEIU nurses who fought for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and I trust Hillary Clinton to protect, defend and improve it.
For the first time in my 26 years as a nurse at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, I am finally seeing patients get preventive care. That’s life changing and it is all because of the ACA. Thanks to the health care law, more Americans have coverage than any time in U.S. history. Dads who previously were denied health care because of a pre-existing condition now have affordable insurance, working moms are getting annual screenings and birth control at no additional cost, and young adults can stay covered on their parents’ insurance while they get on their feet after college.
President Barack Obama led the way. But it was Hillary Clinton who put affordable health care at the top of the national agenda for the first time as First Lady. She fought for it then, she kept up the fight as a U.S. Senator. Who better to entrust the continued fight to in the White House?
We’ve made too much progress to put our health care future back in the hands of a Republican president and the corporations that back them. I’m not willing to let tens of thousands of Iowans to lose their health care. Or allow 16 million Americans to lose their affordable coverage at the stroke of a pen. Or see 100 million Americans lose the peace of mind that comes from the lifting of lifetime coverage caps and the end of denials due to pre-existing conditions like cancer and diabetes. There’s not any guesswork here. Every Republican presidential candidate has plans to gut the ACA. We need Hillary Clinton as our next president to stop that from happening.
We also need her new ideas for strengthening health care. Secretary Clinton has outlined plans to take on the out-of-control drug prices that are endangering patients with chronic or serious health conditions. She would require drug companies to provide rebates to seniors on fixed incomes. And insurance companies would have to cover three sick visits to the doctor without triggering a deductible payment. That’s just common sense.
Hillary Clinton has proved that she will fight, deliver and win for working women and men. She knows that when people are able to join together in unions — whether they are nurses, fast food workers, home care workers or adjunct professors — it means a fair shot at raising wages for everyone. Here in Iowa, moms are the sole, primary or co-breadwinners in more than 70 percent of families, and yet their paychecks don’t go far enough. Some 45 percent of Iowans in the private sector do not have a single paid sick day. In the fight for our and our children’s future, Secretary Clinton will be with us every step of the way.
The Iowa caucuses really aren’t far away and every second counts: the holidays are upon us now and before we can blink, it will be February 1. Between now and then, I will join thousands of other nurses and working people to door-knock and phone-bank for Hillary Clinton. I hope you will join me.
• Ann Byrne is a registered nurse. She lives in West Branch.
Please plan to attend Saturday, 11/21 Picket in Sheboygan! CLICK HERE for details.
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.
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
[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.
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
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.|
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
“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
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
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. www.jsonline.com
*** 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.
*** 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:
Get the full schedule HERE
Even more Gundersen membership chapter information available HERE
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