Issues & Action

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

SEIU District 1199 Members Endorse Avon Library Levy Issue 12

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Last week, members with SEIU District 1199 voted to endorsed Issue 12, a levy for the Avon Library, which is a part of the Lorain Public Library System. This 2-mill levy would increase the current levy by .8 mill and is needed for branch expansion and to make improvements. 

SEIU District 1199 has represented members with the Lorain Public Library System since 1987. Issue 12 will be on the ballot in Avon on March 17, 2020. 

Springfield Regional Medical Center Union Members Unite to Ratify New Contract With Path to $15

contract
Congratulations to all members with Springfield Regional Medical Center. A new contract was ratified last week that includes substantial wage increases for the bargaining unit, including a path to a $15 by 2022. Members will move immediately to $13 an hour, which may equate to a substantial raise.

Below are some of the new terms of the no-concessions contract

A $15 an hour minimum wage for all members by 2022
Annual wage increases for workers who already make $15/hr (and above) 
Language that will give members a personal day, in addition to current PTO time
A new $1 an hour premium for environmental services members 
Non-discrimination language that will protect workers in several areas 
Reimbursement for ServSafe Training for nutrition services members
A simplified 2-step grievance procedure 

Congratulations to the member bargaining team for standing united to bargain this new contract. If you haven’t signed a  membership card, we are stronger together. Sign a membership card here.

Cleveland Library Workers Stand United for Improved Staffing and to Stop Outsourcing, Issue 10-Day Strike Notice

Workers at Cleveland Public Library say taxpayers approved increases in taxes in order to support programs and services for the community, not to give massive pay increases and bonuses to top executives.

CLEVELAND, OHIO – Today, Union Librarians, Library Assistants, Clerks, Custodians, maintenance workers, and a wide range of support staff at the Cleveland Public Library have issued a 10-day notice of their intent to strike after months of negotiations with top executives have failed to yield a fair contract that respects the dignity of their work and supports the public services they provide.  Instead, proposals by Cleveland Public Library administration would outsource Cleveland jobs, and make it more difficult for front line staff that is already stretched to provide valuable services and programs to the community.

“My co-workers and I are committed to providing the best possible service to the people of our community.  We are dedicated professionals who care deeply about our neighbors,” said Debbie Hajzak, an Outreach and Programming Services Project Coordinator for the Library and Member Vice President with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH. “We have done everything we can to avoid going on strike, but enough is enough.  We can no longer stand by while the executives of “The People’s University” line their own pockets at the expense of the public.  We are standing up for the work we do and for the service we provide to our community. We will not allow the Library to replace dedicated public servants with volunteers, outsource work, and continue to add executive positions while they keep frontline and support staffing at a bare minimum at best.”

Despite voters giving overwhelming approval to Issue 60 in 2017, the recent levy campaign in support of library services and programs, Cleveland Public Library has used those resources to give massive pay increases and huge bonuses to their top executives, in addition to luxurious benefit packages. At the same time, more than 100 bargaining unit positions have been eliminated over the past 10 years, leaving most library workers doing double- and triple-duty in service to the community as demand for library programs and services continues to increase. 

“The Cleveland Public Library went to the citizens of Cleveland to ask for an increase in millage and the residents supported this levy increase overwhelmingly, and in return library executives have chosen to give large payouts to top administrators, many of whom are not residents of Cleveland. Library executives continue to ignore the needs of the hard-working people that make this library the Five Star premiere organization that this administration so often boasts about,” said Erick Walker, a Senior Subject Department Clerk at the Cleveland Public Library and Executive Board Member with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH. “Taxpayers approved increases in taxes in order to support the services we provide to our neighbors and our community, but instead Cleveland Public Library executives have shifted their priorities from public service to self-service.  It’s time they get their priorities straight.”

With a vote of support from bargaining unit members of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH at the Cleveland Public Library, notice has been served to library executives and the State Employees Relations Board (SERB) that unless an agreement can be reached, workers will be on strike beginning at 12:00 pm on February 4th, 2020. With only one bargaining session remaining on Thursday, January 23, workers remain willing to meet up to the day of the strike, and after, if necessary. 

To ease the burden on striking library workers, the Executive Board of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH voted to increase strike benefits to offset some of the cost of lost wages for bargaining unit members who work shifts on the picket line outside of each of the 28 strike locations. 

Cleveland Public Library plans to spend up to $175,000 on lawyers and propaganda to further discredit the dedicated workers of the Cleveland Public Library, but the people of Cleveland stand with library workers. You can get the facts by visiting our website here: http://www.seiu1199.org/get-the-facts-cleveland-public-library-workers-are-fighting-for-safety-union-jobs/

Important Update on OPERS Cuts

 

Take Action – Stand With Cleveland Public Library Workers

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The women and men who work at the Cleveland Public Library proudly serve our neighborhoods and community every day, providing vital resources, services and information for people like us. However, decisions by Cleveland Public Library executives have eroded staffing, increased workloads and ignored the concerns of employees about safety at branches throughout the city. 

Take Action to Stand With Cleveland Public Library Workers 

1. Contact Cleveland Public Library. Call the library at 216-623-2827 and leave a Message for Executive Director Felton Thomas Jr. and the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees. Ask them to bargain in good faith for a contract that keeps everyone safe and respects the dignity of their work. 

2. Tweet to Show Your Support. Tweet these two messages of support to stand with Cleveland Public Library workers

3. Write a Letter to the Editor. Submit a letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer to stand with SEIU District 1199 members who are fighting for a fair contract with the Cleveland Public Library. Make letters clear, concise, and under 200 words. Letters can be submitted at this link. A post with details on bargaining is also available here. 

4. Sign the Petition. Submit your name in support of the SEIU District 1199 members with the Cleveland Public Library. Sign the petition here

5. Share Social Media Posts. Visit the Facebook and Twitter (post 1; post 2) pages for SEIU District 1199 and share recent posts to stand in support with the library workers. 

Get The Facts – Cleveland Public Library Workers Are Fighting For Safety, Fairness, and Union Jobs

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Fact: Though the library system continually claims that their Union members are overpaid, Cleveland Public Library CEO Felton Thomas Jr.’s salary increased from $183,983.72 to $220,000 with the start of a new employment agreement on January 1, 2019. CEO Felton Thomas Jr. also received at the time the agreement was reached a $10,000 bonus. Additionally, CEO Felton Thomas Jr.’s 5-year contract guarantees 5% annual wage increases. In addition to other perks, COO Jeremiah Swetel will also receive a $50,000 bonus in 2024 under his employment contract that was approved in September 2019. A recent news report detailed that in addition to CEO Felton Thomas, 11 other managers with the library system earn between $119,000 and $143,000 a year.

Fact: Cleveland Public Library has paid $100,000 in taxpayer dollars for legal services from an anti-union law firm. The library is now proposing spending an additional $75,000 for such services in relation to ongoing negotiations

Fact: Union members with the Cleveland Public Library have been requesting bargaining dates since early 2019 and have been ready to meet throughout the year. Bargaining committee members report that the library was resistant to scheduling bargaining dates and did not allow for enough dates. To members of the bargaining committee, working without a contract and the potential need to strike is concerning, as they have been willing to do anything needed to negotiate.

Fact: Workers with Cleveland Public Library have a number of security concerns that are based on the realities of their work. Workers have seen firsthand serious threats such as violence and other activity that has occurred both inside and around branch locations. 

Fact: The most significant concerns of workers with Cleveland Public Library are not based on economics. Workers are standing together to ensure adequate staffing and good union jobs for the community, in addition to security and safety for library employees and patrons.

Fact: While security and safety are issues of high importance to library workers, the library system recently began a 10-year $100M capital improvement plan. Cleveland Voters approved Issue 60 in 2017, which included a tax increase of 2-mill. Branch renovations are important but the safety of patrons and library workers and other issues brought forward by the bargaining committee should be overriding.

Fact: Cleveland Public Library leaders are now publicly discussing the potential impact of a strike – bargaining committee members are concerned that this will be used to harm the perceptions of the dedicated workers with the library system. Members of the negotiating committee have been willing to continue negotiations into the evening and late into the night but negotiations have concluded promptly. A strike is always a last resort but workers are weighing if it may be necessary. 

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SEIU Convention Delegation Elections

Elections regarding the 2020 SEIU Convention will take place throughout the month of January. All elections will be conducted by secret ballot. Members presenting proper identification may vote at any of the voting sites across the District. 

Voting will be held in the Union’s Columbus, Cleveland, and Huntington Offices, as noted on the schedule. A list with all voting times and locations is available here

Support Cleveland Public Library Workers

 

Mercy Health – $15 Minimum Wage

We Rise – Update Your Membership

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. 

Texas v. Azar: Lives At-Risk as Court Refers ACA Case for Review

SEIU District 1199 Staff Give Back and Issue Donations

SEIU District 1199 staff recently approved holiday donations to charities across West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. The funding for these donations was gathered through voluntary staff contributions. 

Donations are being issued to the following organizations and causes:

• $1,000 to Genesis House Domestic Violence Shelter: Lorain, Ohio
• $1,000 to Turning Point Domestic Violence Services: Prestonsburg, Kentucky 
• $1,000 to the West Virginia Women’s Resource Center: Beckley, West Virginia
• $200 to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank: Cleveland, Ohio
• $200 to the God’s Pantry Food Bank of Kentucky 
 $200 to the Northwestern Ohio Food Bank: Toledo, Ohio
• $200 to the Mahoning Valley Second Harvest Foodbank: Youngstown, Ohio
• $200 to the Akron-Canton Foodbank: Akron, Ohio
• $1,000 to the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center, Ohio
 $1,000 to the Central Ohio Worker Center: Columbus, Ohio 

Job: Member Resource Center Representative

Job:  Member Resource Center (MRC) Representative. This is a FULL-TIME HOURLY position. 

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Summary: Member Resource Center Representative needed to work in Member Resource Center, fielding members’ calls and providing staff support.

Description: A Member Resource Center Representative is a 40-hour hourly position in the Member Resource Center at SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH and is responsible for the following:

  • Answering phones
  • Documenting calls and tracking grievances
  • Problem solving with members
  • Informing members of rights
  • Member representation support
  • Strike support
  • Training
  • Participate in collaborative team efforts
  • Other duties as assigned

Qualifications:

  • Ability to operate a computer, proficiency in Microsoft Office and working knowledge of a database.
  • Ability to type 30 words a minute
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Solid organization skills, with an ability to stay focused and prioritize work assignments
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, capable of interacting professionally, both verbally and in writing
  • Strong analytical and judgment skills
  • Successful candidate shall possess a High School Diploma or GED

Desired Characteristics:

  • Ability to quickly grasp collective bargaining issues and human resource management principles.
  • Ability to understand and apply labor law and employment-related policies, practices and procedures.

Compensation

SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH offers competitive wages, benefits, and training.

Hours: 

MRC Representatives generally work Monday through Friday, between 8am and 6pm.

Who is SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH?

We’re nurses, caregivers, support staff and professionals. We work in hospitals, nursing homes, mental health and DD care facilities, social service agencies, Head Start programs, libraries, schools and other health and human service centers.

We’re 26,000 people united by our belief in the dignity and worth of workers. We organize to improve the lives of working people and their families and lead the way to a more just and humane society.

We’re part of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), America’s largest and fastest growing union. We’re the union of health care and social service workers in Ohio, West Virginia and eastern Kentucky: SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH.

If you want to put your mind and heart to work in the cause of a better world, there’s a role for you in SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH.

To Apply:

Email jobs@seiu1199.org or fax to 614-461-1549, a résumé in which you respond to each of the criteria, a letter explaining why you want to do this work, and names with contact information of three references. Place “Member Resource Center Representative” in the subject line. Women and people of color are urged to apply.

Members With Fairmont Regional Medical Center Give Donations to Local Charities

John Hindman FRMC Donation
(Photo Credit: John Mark Shaver – The Exponent Telegram

This year, instead of receiving holiday candy, SEIU District 1199 members with Fairmont Regional Medical Center gave $600 to Soup Opera and $600 to Union Mission. The hospital is located in Fairmont, West Virginia, and both of these non-profit groups help individuals in the local area.

Pictured above are John Hindman, an Executive Board Member with SEIU District 1199, Bob Adcock, the CEO of Fairmont Regional Medical Center, and Paul Porter, a Union member and sonographer. Though it is the holiday season, the hospital is vital to the region and members with the hospital work on behalf of the public every day. 

As reported by The Exponent Telegram, “It’s great for us to do this, because it’s about sharing and caring,” Hindman said. “That’s what we do here at Fairmont Regional. We care about the community and we share. It’s very important that we share this time of year because it’s the time of year where you need to share and help people out.”

“Instead of a $4 or $5 box of candy, $1,200 does a lot more for the community,” Hindman said. “With all of our members together pooling that money, it’s great. It does a great deal for the community and helps them out. I’m proud of all of my coworkers and union members, and there’s a good working relationship between the management and the union.”

Dozens rally outside East Liverpool City Hospital. (WTOV News 9)

Cleveland library employees remember shooting victim, share branch safety concerns (News 5 Cleveland WEWS)

 

Candlelight Vigil for Cleveland Public Library Staff, Patrons, and Visitors

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You are invited to join the Union Workers of the Cleveland Public Library as we hold a candlelight vigil for the safety and security of everyone who enters our library branches.

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019
6:00pm – Gathering
7:00pm – Candlelight Vigil

South Brooklyn Branch of the Cleveland Public Library
4303 Pearl Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44109

We will join together in solidarity to call on library executives and community leaders to bargain in good faith with the members of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH at the Cleveland Public Library for a contract that keeps everyone safe and respects the dignity of their work.

Members of the community are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Update on the “Freedom Foundation”

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If the Freedom Foundation contacts you, take these steps to fight back:

  1. Visit We Are Ohio to read about the Freedom Foundation and stay updated.
  2. If you receive an email, forward it to media@seiu1199.org and let your local union leadership know.
  3. If approached by Freedom Foundation canvassers, either at work or at home, don’t sign anything and ask them to remove you from their lists.
  4. Reach out to other union members and let them know.

We will continue to update you about this group’s anti-union activity. 

College Programs for Union Members

SEIU District 1199 offers discounts for members and eligible family members through arrangements with colleges. These programs include a range of benefits with Columbia Southern University, Southern New Hampshire University, Central State University, and Eastern Gateway Community College. 

Membership with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH provides access to the member benefit programs detailed below. You can sign a membership card online at this link.

Free College Benefit SEIU District 1199
Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community CollegeEastern Gateway offers a free Associate’s Degree college benefit for members and retirees, in addition to eligible family members. 

Ohio’s Central State University. Union Plus, one of your Union’s member benefit programs, has partnered with Central State University in Dayton, Ohio. Central State University is now offering a program for Bachelor’s Degrees for members and eligible family members. This program is available online at a reduced cost or low/no cost (e.g. depending on grants). The program is open to students with an Associate’s Degree or 60 credit hours of coursework in a related major. Additionally, students who have a degree from Eastern Gateway Community College can now transfer into the Bachelor’s Degree program at Central State University. 

Southern New Hampshire UniversitySNHU offers Bachelor’s Degrees and Associate’s Degrees for $3,000 a year for members and eligible family members.

Columbia Southern UniversityColumbia Southern offers Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, Mater’s Degrees, and Doctoral Degrees. SEIU District 1199 has a tuition discount agreement for members. 

If you need assistance with your member benefits, you can always contract the Member Resource Center. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”

Breaking News: Nearly 1,000 Nurses Vote to Organize with SEIU at Cabell Huntington Hospital

By a majority vote, the Registered Nurses of Huntington’s fourth-largest employer say YES to their Union.

HUNTINGTON, WV – Tonight, nearly 1,000 Registered Nurses will have the ability to negotiate with Cabell Huntington Hospital for safe staffing and improved patient care after voting to organize their Union with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 WV/KY/OH.  With one of the biggest organizing victories since West Virginia became a Right-to-Work state, nurses are sending a resounding message to working people across West Virginia that forming a Union is the best way to shift the balance of power away from corporations and toward the people.

“This is a great day for the Registered Nurses of Cabell Huntington Hospital as well as a great day for our community,” said Joyce Gibson, Regional Director with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH. “The nurses in our community know by uniting together, we can stand up for our patients, our families, and our community.”

Tonight’s victory for the Registered Nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital comes just a little over a month after notifying their employer of the intent to organize in early October. The nurses decided to organize with the SEIU after hospital executives refused to address their concerns about short staffing and mandatory overtime, including in vital areas of the hospital like the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  

“My co-workers and I know the best way to advocate for our patients and support our families is through our Union,” said Stacey Bias, a Critical Care Float Nurse at Cabell Huntington Hospital. “We look forward to sitting down with hospital executives to negotiate a Union contract that allows us to better care of our families and the families of our community.”

For over 40 years, Registered Nurses have worked side-by-side with SEIU members in every area of Cabell Huntington Hospital. Now, with the addition of nearly 1,000 registered nurses, workers will have a stronger voice.

“By coming together and organizing their Union, the dedicated nurses who provide essential, compassionate healthcare are determined to hold hospital executives accountable to the community,” continued Gibson.