National Assisted Living Week: A Message From President Becky Williams
As you may know, this week is known as National Assisted Living Week. I want to take this chance to recognize all of you and this very important work.
Members who work at assisted living facilities help individuals maintain their dignity and independence as they age. I know that things have been particularly difficult for members this year and assisted living residents due to the COVID19 pandemic. Thank you for the work that you do each day.
Together, we will continue to speak out for safe jobs with fair wages and benefits, in addition to quality care.
Becky Williams – President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
Standing Together for Nursing Home Safety and Unions for All
Nursing home members with SEIU District 1199 of all backgrounds have worked bravely across West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, during the current pandemic. Members have faced hazardous conditions while providing health care services and support on behalf of long-term care residents.
Last week, a new study was released by a journal called Health Affairs about nursing homes, labor unions, and COVID19. The study found that at nursing homes where workers had a Union in New York State, COVID19 infection and fatality rates were significantly lower than at non-Union facilities. The study concluded that this is likely because “health care worker unionization may play an important role in ensuring access to appropriate PPE and implementing infection control policies that protect vulnerable nursing home residents.”
Members can contact elected officials online about the need for greater availability of personal protective equipment, the importance of a nursing home worker bill of rights, and the Heroes Act, which would guarantee hazard pay for frontline workers. Together, we will continue to speak out for priorities important to nursing home workers and for elected leaders to protect all workers.
Becky Williams — President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
2020 SEIU District 1199 Election Results
Power the Polls and Help as a Poll Worker
Solidarity Newsletter — September 2020
● Dedicated Hospital Member Secures Severance Package. A member who had worked for fifty years at a hospital in Northeast Ohio was not offered a severance package after his job was eliminated. The member and Union worked together and secured a severance package that included healthcare coverage, a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) of $4,800 which can be used until it is exhausted, and a payout of vacation time.
● ResCare Member in West Virginia Granted Pay After Administrative Leave. After being placed on administrative leave, a member with ResCare in West Virginia worked with the Member Resource Center to file a grievance. Through this process, the member was awarded over $1,000 in back pay.
● ResCare Member Successfully Reinstated After Wrongful Termination. A member with ResCare in Lake County, Ohio, with 30 years of service, was improperly terminated while on family medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Through the grievance process, the member worked with the Union and the termination was overturned.
● Hospital Member Receives Extra Pay After Being Denied Hours. A member who works at a hospital in Trumbull County, Ohio, was not contacted about hours that were available. This was a contract violation and the member worked with the Member Resource Center. Through the grievance process, the member was granted pay for all hours that were assigned to other staff in violation of the contract and over $350 in a payment.
● Members At a Nursing Home Speak Out for Safe Staffing. Members at a Toledo area nursing home recently held a candlelight vigil to speak out for quality care and safe staffing. Members at the facility are often mandated and the long-hours raise safety concerns. Together, members from this nursing home are continuing to speak out and stand together so that they can reach an agreement with management on mandation.
SEIU District 1199 Member Benefits
Membership with SEIU District 1199 includes membership with three member benefit programs. Those programs include Union Plus, SEIU Member Benefits, and the SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH membership card. Members and eligible family members can now take classes with Eastern Gateway Community College at no-cost online. In 2019, Union Plus announced a new program with Central State University in Dayton. If you are not a member, you can sign a membership card online.
Member Resource Center Update
The Member Resource Center provides assistance each day to a substantial number of members across West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Whether you need a copy of your contract, assistance contacting Union staff, or advice on how to file a grievance, representatives with the Member Resource Center are standing by to assist members each Monday through Friday. “Your Member Resource Center Has Your Back!”
CEU Credit Opportunity for Social Workers
Social workers play a critical role in Ohio’s health care and social service system. With the current pandemic, there is an urgent need for additional poll workers. Social workers are now able to earn Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) if they serve as poll workers in November.
A county elections board must fill out some basic paperwork, note if there are any breaks during the training to work at the polls, and provide an agenda to offer this benefit. We understand that elections boards for Tuscawaras County, Belmont County, Guernsey County, and Clark County, have already decided to participate.
Ifeolu Claytor (firstname.lastname@example.org) with All Voting is Local is coordinating with the elections boards and National Association of Social Workers in this area. As a social worker, you can contact your local elections board and ask them to offer this benefit and forward details to Ifeolu Clayto. As more counties confirm this opportunity, details will also be forwarded by All Voting is Local to the NASW.
Having a safe and fair election is very important. We will be sure to share additional details as they become available.
Joshua Norris – Executive Vice President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
Tell Congress: Protect All Workers
The U.S. House passed the Heroes Act on May 15th but inaction from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Senate republican leaders has left working families of all backgrounds in limbo. At the end of July, full pandemic unemployment assistance expired. Frontline workers are still without hazard pay, no matter what the conditions. Not only that, our public services are at-risk and losing funding.
Write to Congress today about this issue at this link. Union members are standing together to call on politicians and corporations to protect all workers.
Becky Williams – President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
Register to Vote Online and Request an Absentee Ballot in Ohio
New Data Shows Many Nursing Homes Have Less Than a Week’s Supply of Personal Protective Equipment as the COVID19 Long-Term Care Crisis Continues
New CMS data shows the potential for further PPE shortages and the ongoing crisis within long-term care facilities in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and across the United States. Union workers and nursing home advocates share their concerns as the COVID19 pandemic continues.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
Contact: Anthony Caldwell at (330) 651-2042
COLUMBUS, OHIO – New data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services highlights shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies held by nursing homes across Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The newly released data, which has been reviewed by the American Health Care Association, shows that many nursing home facilities do not have a one-week supply of essential personal protective equipment items, such as N95 masks, surgical masks, and gowns.
“It’s important that nursing home workers have access to personal protective equipment so that they can protect themselves and the residents at the facilities where they work. If nursing home workers contract COVID19 due to shortages or improper PPE, that can put many nursing home workers and residents at-risk and potentially cause further outbreaks,” said Anthony Caldwell, Director of Public Affairs with SEIU District 1199.
As detailed by the American Health Care Association, the CMS data, which was released on July 30th shows the following:
• In Ohio, 15% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of N95 masks, 6% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of surgical masks, and 9% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of gowns.
• In West Virginia, 34% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of N95 masks, 32% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of surgical masks, and 33% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of gowns.
• In Kentucky, 10% of nursing homes do not have a one-week supply of N95 masks, 13% do not have a one-week supply of surgical masks, and 10% do not have a one-week supply of gowns.
In June 2020, a survey by SEIU International, which included members of SEIU District 1199 in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, showed that over 76% of nursing home workers nationwide believe that not enough is being done to ensure access to personal protective equipment. Furthermore, two health care experts recently concluded in the Washington Post on July 28th that nursing home workers now have the most dangerous job in America due to the COVID19 pandemic.
“Nursing home workers put in long hours for low-wages,” said Sheila Hunter, a nursing home worker and member of SEIU District 1199 in Cleveland. “Without the proper protective equipment, nursing home workers aren’t able to protect themselves or the residents that they care for,” Sheila Hunter concluded.
“Even with the proper PPE, health care workers are still at high-risk,” continued Caldwell. “It is possible that the pandemic could worsen and it is certain to continue this fall and winter. Nursing home workers are calling on actors from all levels of government, nursing home operators, and private industry, to work together to ensure that these vital supplies are available,” Caldwell concluded.
Solidarity Newsletter – August 2020
● Member With Youngstown Nursing Home Wins Settlement. A member who worked for a nursing home for over 12 years was terminated. The member contacted the Union, which maintained that this was entirely unreasonable given that the member had only one active disciplinary issue and that this new infraction was common in the workplace. Through the grievance process and working with the Union, the member was able to secure a settlement of $1,000, an agreement by the employer not to contest their application for unemployment compensation, and a neutral reference.
● Bellefaire JCB Members Stand Together For Safety. Members with Bellefaire JCB, a service provider in Cleveland, have been standing together as Union members and co-workers to ensure workplace safety in relation to the current pandemic. Through their Union, these members negotiated a settlement under which Bellefaire JCB will make several important safety improvements, such as re-configuring workspaces.
● Nurse at Northeast Ohio Hospital Secures Back Pay. An RN worked weekends as a PRN but contacted the Union after realizing that she was not being paid the $5.50 an hour premium pay that was negotiated by members in their contract. The employer agreed to pay her $1,000 for the hours she had worked without full compensation. Additionally, the employer agreed to ensure that all similarly situated PRN nurses would be compensated.
● ResCare Member in West Virginia Returns to Work. A member in West Virginia with a group home in Greenbrier County filed a grievance and as a result, an unjust dismissal was overturned. The member then returned to their same workplace, shift, and pay rate. The member was also issued back pay covering three weeks of work that were missed due to the dismissal.
● Southern Ohio Hospital Member Maintains Proper Status After Filing Grievance. A member had applied for a PRN position but was denied. The member had further inquired about working PRN but was told that no positions were available. Suddenly, many months later, the member was told that they were being moved to PRN status but the member no longer wanted or had an application active for such status. Working with the Union, the member was able to maintain their full-time job status.
Social Justice Committee Elections
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
The nomination process for the Social Justice Steering Committee has now closed. A listing with all candidates can be found at this link.
All members in good standing, including retiree chapter members, are encouraged to participate and attend the bi-annual Social Justice Activist meetings. If you have questions, please contact me at (216) 246-8772.
Samara Knight – Executive Vice President
Civic Engagement and Community Outreach
Nursing Home Workers With Menorah Park to Hold Candlelight Vigil in Beachwood
Nursing Home Workers With Menorah Park to Hold Candlelight Vigil – Speak Out About Working in the COVID19 Pandemic and Call for Hazard Pay for all Nursing Home Workers.
Nursing home workers call working in the pandemic distressing and urge nursing home administrators at Menorah Park and all nursing homes to provide hazard pay and protect all workers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Contact: Samara Knight at 877-419-7348
CLEVELAND, OHIO – On Wednesday, July 29th, union workers with Menorah Park, a long-term care facility, located in Beachwood, Ohio, will hold a candlelight vigil at 3:00 PM. The workers with the facility will honor nursing home residents, their coworkers, and nursing home workers across the area. In addition to speaking out about their experiences, they will call for hazard pay for all nursing home workers.
When: Wednesday, July 29th at 3:00 PM
What: Candlelight Vigil at Menorah Park
Who: Nursing Home Workers Providing Health Care and Services in the Pandemic
Where: On Cedar Road in Front of Menorah Park (27100 Cedar Road)
“The workers at Menorah Park and across Cleveland have continued working, no matter what the risk or how difficult the circumstances,” said Samara Knight, Executive Vice President with SEIU District 1199. “They care deeply about their work but they also worry about their families.”
The workers will gather starting at 2:00 pm and the vigil will be held at 3:00 pm. Union workers from Montefiore, a nearby facility that recently merged with Menorah Park, will also join for the vigil to stand with their colleagues. In the last few months, though the number of bargaining unit members is not certain, Ohio Department of Health data shows that 16 staff members at the Menorah Park campus have contracted COVID19.
“They are standing together to speak out about their experiences. These workers had incredibly difficult jobs before this pandemic. All workers deserve hazard pay in this time of crisis. Despite the importance of their work, nursing home workers have always been under appreciated,” concluded Knight.