Issues & Action

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See below for issue updates, organizing news, member action alerts, and more. 

Mercy Health Lorain Service & Maintenance Members Unite to Bargain $15/hr & Above

Mercy Health 2Members of SEIU District 1199 at Mercy Regional Medical Center last Monday overwhelmingly approved a new contract. The contract is a milestone in the fight for fair wages for all workers and members of our Union.

In our continuing fight to improve staffing and working conditions, improvements were made in areas such as representation and distribution of assignments. Our member bargaining committee was also able to secure significant wages increases, bringing those of us earning less than $15 an hour up and above $15 by January 2022. In addition, there will be increases for those already above $15 to recognize the years of dedication and hard work that it took to get there.

This victory was not easily won and was the culmination of years of work not only in the chapter by members and leaders but also by SEIU and our allies in the Fight for $15 – the local and national fight to increase wages and deliver dignity for all workers. The Union has organized workers across the country to advocate and demonstrate for a living wage, resulting in minimum wage increases from San Francisco and Seattle to Illinois and New York.

Under this new 5-year contract, the average wage will increase 21%. Some members will see even greater wage gains. These increases will mean we can give up a second job or send our children to a quality daycare, preschool, or later to college. For all of us, these increases recognize the work that we all do every day to care for our patients and our families.

Facing Short-Staffing and Unsafe Working Conditions, Registered Nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital Organize Union with SEIU

together-we-riseRegistered Nurses say mandatory overtime and short-staffing in critical care areas like NICU/ICU among major concerns as they united together to file for Union recognition.

 HUNTINGTON, WV – Today, Registered Nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital will deliver official notice to hospital executives of their intention to file for formal recognition of their Union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), after concerns about the patient care rise.  
The decision by the nearly 900 registered nurses to organize comes after drastic changes in the operation of the hospital made by Mountain Health, the new parent company of both Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center, have nurses concerned about the future of quality care in the region. 
“The registered nurses of Cabell Huntington Hospital have worked side-by-side with Union workers for more than 40 years, but they have made the decision to come together now after Mountain Health has refused to properly staff the hospital and proposed major changes in hospital operations that could put quality care at risk in our community,” said Joyce Gibson, Regional Director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. “The nurses of our community take great pride in providing exceptional care to their patients and they refuse to remain silent while greedy, profit-driven hospital executives make unnecessary cuts which could put both the patients and the caregivers in greater danger.”
Among the many concerns shared by many hospital nurses are mandatory overtime and short-staffing in critical care areas like the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). By uniting together in their Union with SEIU, nurses will have a collective voice on the issues that impact their families and the care they provide our community. 
Registered Nurses and SEIU leaders will hold a brief press availability at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, October 9th, in front of Cabell Huntington Hospital, 1340 Hal Greer Boulevard Huntington, West Virginia 25701. 
Registered Nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital
RNs Announce Organizing Union with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
Wednesday, October 9th at 3:45 pm
In front of Cabell Huntington Hospital
1340 Hal Greer Boulevard 
Huntington, West Virginia 25701
(Hoops Family Children’s Hospital Entrance)

College Programs for Members

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SEIU District 1199 has joined as a partner with Columbia Southern University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community College. Union membership can greatly reduce or even eliminate the cost of tuition with these programs. 

Columbia Southern University
 Southern New Hampshire University
• Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community College

Whether in-person or online, Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community College offers a free college benefit for members and retirees, in addition to eligible family members. If you need assistance with your member benefits, you can always contact the Member Resource Center. “Your Member Resource Center has your back!”

Lorain Labor Day Festival 2019

We are looking for volunteers to work our SEIU District 1199 booth at the Lorain Labor Day Festival. You can work an hour or the whole day, no volunteer will be turned away. 

The Lorain County Organized Labor’s 24th Annual Labor Day Family Celebration is hosted by labor unions, the Lorain County Labor Agency, and the Lorain Port Authority. All members and the public are invited to attend.

What: Lorain Labor Day Celebration by Organized Labor
When: Sunday, September 1st from 12 PM to 6 PM
Where: Black River Landing at 421 Black River Lane in Lorain, Ohio 44052

2019 Work & Wages Conference Recap

SEIU Members from District 1199 WV/KY/OH, Local 1 and the Chicago Regional Joint Board of Workers United joined over 100 people gathered in Cleveland for the “Which Side Are You On: Cleveland Work and Wages Conference” hosted by Policy Matters Ohio on Friday, August 23rd.

Lynn Radcliffe, SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH Retiree Executive Board Member, kicked off the conference telling the crowd that Unions for All is the best way to build an economy and a democracy that works for everyone.

“Our Union is out there every day fighting for better wages and working conditions for all workers,” said Radcliffe. “And that goes beyond the walls of our Union shops and pages of our contracts, we are also fighting for our community because we are the community.”

Lynn’s words were reverberated throughout the day with many speakers and panelists echoing our call for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and a union for all working people—Black, white, and brown—and to work together to hold politicians accountable.

Grievance by Healthcare Member Results in Additional Staffing and Successful Outcome

Members with SEIU District 1199 often speak out about issues of concern on behalf of their co-workers and members of the public. Being a member of a Union means having a voice to speak out and stand with co-workers if needed.

A dedicated healthcare member with Fairmont Regional Medical Center in West Virginia had concerns about staffing levels for her unit. She contacted the Union and joined with a co-worker to file a grievance. As a direct result, hospital administrators took quick action and placed two additional job postings for positions with the unit. 

Representatives with the Member Resource Center are standing by to assist members Monday through Friday. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”

SEIU Members & Appalachian Regional Healthcare Reach Agreement on Highlands Regional Medical Center

PRESTONSBURG, KENTUCKY – SEIU District 1199 and Appalachian Regional Healthcare have collaboratively reached a recognition and contract assumption agreement for Union members who work at Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. SEIU District 1199 represents over 250 workers with Highlands Regional Medical Center and has represented members at the hospital since the 1980’s. As of August 1, Highlands Regional Medical Center is now a part of the ARH system.

While the full details of the agreement are confidential, the parties worked hard to ensure that a fair and equitable agreement was reached. The agreement offers improved healthcare coverage for bargaining unit members at the hospital with 100% paid in-network coverage. The agreement also recognizes the seniority of the hospital’s dedicated unionized employees and will carry-over accrued personal time, sick leave, and vacation time.

“This agreement will reward the hard work our members do, and it shows that negotiations conducted in good faith can lead to a contract that is beneficial for workers, the hospital, and the community,” said Joyce Gibson, West Virginia and Kentucky Healthcare Division Director for the Service Employees International Union District 1199.  “By standing together, our members were able to improve benefits, provide union security and preserve quality care and services for our patients and visitors. We thank Appalachian Regional Healthcare for their commitment to this important hospital and the provision of quality care.”

CONTACT | Joyce Gibson, West Virginia / Kentucky Healthcare Division Director for the Service Employees International Union District 1199 | Phone: 877-419-7348.

Member With Morrison Community Living at Judson Manor Back at Work

Robere and Members 7-26-19

This week, Robere Melton’s co-workers greeted him enthusiastically when he returned to work after almost 7 months off. Mr. Melton is a dedicated employee who works for Morrison Community Living, which contracts with Judson Manor in Cleveland. Prior to being unjustly terminated, Mr. Melton had been on the job for 19 years. 

Mr. Melton was terminated at the end of 2018, with no prior disciplinary action of record. The employer terminated him without a fair and impartial review to determine if a policy was violated. The employer also did not use a reasonable level of discipline, given a spotless work record and many years of service. 

Mr. Melton, who had also previously served as a Union delegate, will receive full back pay and compensation for all denied benefits. We are stronger together. 

SEIU Members Endorse Levy for The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County

This week, members of SEIU District 1199 voted to endorse renewing the library levy for the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. The levy will be on the November 2019 ballot and is needed to maintain services.

In 2018 alone, the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County had 952,262 individual visits and staff answered 252,916 reference questions. This 5-year renewal levy would not increase taxes, as an existing 2.4 mill property tax levy is set to expire at the end of 2019. There has been a union presence with this library system for decades. 

Public libraries make our communities stronger. We are encouraging all local voters to support this levy renewal in November.  

Protect Ohio’s Communities


Public Libraries Receive Funding Increase in State of Ohio Budget

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We are excited to announce that Ohio’s public libraries will see a vital increase in funding for the services that library workers provide to our communities. Congratulations to all library members and partner groups on this significant victory.

Through your advocacy, we were successful in preventing a previously enacted budgetary provision under the Kasich administration that would have reduced the Public Library Fund (PLF) to 1.66% of the General Revenue Fund (GRF). A new provision also increased the PLF by an additional 0.02% to 1.7% of GRF. Finally, language was included in the final budget to retroactively fund libraries and make them whole for the month of July at the 1.7% level. 

Thank you to all library workers, advocacy groups, and partners, who spoke out in support of increased funding for public libraries. We are stronger together. 

Working People Across Cleveland to Declare Independence from Poverty Wages, Call for Swift Passage of Federal Raise The Wage Act

Working People Across Cleveland to Declare Independence from Poverty Wages, Call for Swift Passage of Federal Raise The Wage Act

CLEVELAND, OHIO – On Wednesday, July 3rd at 11 AM, local healthcare workers and community members, will hold a protest and press conference outside of Key Bank Tower in Cleveland. As our country prepares to celebrate freedom on Independence Day, Cleveland area workers will declare their independence from poverty wages, urging federal lawmakers to pass the Raise The Wage Act and local employers to lead the way by raising wages now. 

With the United States recently shattering the record for the longest gap between increases in the federal minimum wage, working people across Cleveland are taking their “Fight for $15 and a Union” back to the streets saying that nearly a decade of a $7.25 poverty wage is long enough. This time workers will rise up in the shadow of Key Bank Tower, calling on Key Bank CEO and Chair of the Cleveland Clinic Board of Directors Beth Mooney to stand with workers at the Clinic who struggle under the weight of poverty wages.  

Workers like Destiny Bates, who works as a housekeeper at Cleveland Clinic Lutheran Hospital, are fed up with greedy corporations not paying wages that allow employees the economic security to raise their families and live with dignity. Destiny is just one of over a hundred Cleveland Clinic workers who were promised to have their wages increased, but were later denied that raise by hospital executives. Earning just $13.85 per hour, Destiny struggles every day to make ends meet while taking care of her two children and, with the help of her mother, also providing for her younger sister and grandmother.

“Despite working for one of the wealthiest hospital systems in the world, workers like Destiny Bates are not paid the living wage they have earned,” said Anthony Caldwell, spokesperson for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199. “If the Cleveland Clinic has the money for boujie hospitals in the Middle East, Florida and near Buckingham Palace in London, then they can take care of their hard-working employees right here in Cleveland.”

Workers aren’t just relying on employers like the Cleveland Clinic to raise wages. Working people across Cleveland are also making phone calls, sending letters and writing emails to federal lawmakers seeking independence from poverty wages. According to Politico, top House Democrats have vowed to hold a vote on the Raise The Wage Act for a $15 per hour minimum wage bill before the August recess; however, there are only 12 legislative days in July for Speaker Pelosi to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

“Since the creation of the federal minimum wage, there has never been a gap as long between increases as the one that’s happening right now,” continued Caldwell. “It is up to all of us to reach out to our elected representatives in Washington and demand a vote on the Raise The Wage Act to increase the minimum wage to $15 for everyone who works in this county.”

Membership Meeting in Huntington

Regional Membership Meeting in Huntington on August 14th. 

4:00pm – 4:30pm
Dinner & Refreshments

4:30pm – 6:00pm
Membership Meeting

Join with us at the Venue on Madison at 1905 Madison Avenue, Huntington, West Virginia 25704. All SEIU District 1199 Union Members are encouraged to attend this Regional Membership Meeting hosted by President Becky Williams and other Union leaders.

We Rise – Update Your Membership in 2019

An updated membership helps to ensure that our chapters and Union remain strong. We are stronger together.

Sign a Membership Card
The membership form is available online.  Membership also provides access to the Union’s benefit programs, a free community college benefit, an annual scholarship program, and more. 

Visit the membership form online to submit a new membership or update/renew. 

Justice Riders Trip to Detroit, Michigan (Photos)

Donations Needed for Dayton Labor Food Pantry

New SEIU District 1199 Solidarity Shuttle

Advanced Grievance Chair Training in Columbus

An Advanced Grievance Chair Training will be held this August in Columbus. The training is a great resource and will help with the knowledge and tools needed to fight back and win at work. 

When: Wednesday, August 21st, 2019
Where: SEIU 1199 Office at 1395 Dublin Road in Columbus, Ohio
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Any member is welcome to register and attend. To receive lost time and/or mileage, the member must

• Be an Executive Board Member, Delegate, or Grievance Chair 
• Have attended a Basic Grievance Chair Training
• Have not attended an Advanced Grievance Chair Training in the last two years. If you attended in 2017, you are eligible in 2019. 

Registration for this training is now closed. We are stronger together.

American Red Cross Workers Win Union Recognition & a Path to $15 in Beckley (WV)

In April, American Red Cross workers in Beckley, West Virginia, won Union recognition and a path to a $15 an hour wage. Members with the American Red Cross do vital work providing community services, performing blood draws, and working as lab technicians. 

Members at this facility had previously worked under a different service provider. In addition to a path to a $15 an hour wage over the course of the contract, they now have standardized work hours and a more favorable insurance rate – with reduced co-pays and employee contributions. We are stronger together. 

Support Ohio’s Public Libraries