A Review From a Member: Free College Degree Program for Union Members
“Being a Union member can allow you to take chances you never thought you would have the opportunity to take. It was a real benefit to be able to take these classes. I would encourage my co-workers and fellow members to take these classes and engage in studies that interest them.” – Krystin Berry, Healthcare Worker and Member of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
Krystin Berry, a member of SEIU District 1199, recently completed a Degree in Criminal Justice with Eastern Gateway Community College. She wanted to share her story to encourage other members to take this opportunity. This free benefit is open to members with SEIU District 1199 and their families.
“This criminal justice program allowed me to show my daughter that you can work, go to school, and be a good mom,” said Berry. She also has a bachelor’s degree and works far above full-time hours in important areas, including at a nursing home, as a substitute teacher, and with her church. “I learned a lot while taking these classes. You get to know the other students and interact throughout the program. The classes had about 20-25 students and the instructors were helpful with feedback on the course work.”
Currently, Krystin is also working on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic as nursing home worker, though they have not had any residents contract COVID19 at her facility so far. “The classes were free of cost, which allowed me to pursue a degree in the area of criminal justice while still working. It was easy to enroll in the program – the most difficult part was transferring in prior coursework but I was able to get those credits recognized. The program was a great way to earn a degree to further myself and this also benefits my daughter,” she said.
Congratulations to Krystin Berry and thank you for sharing your story. Members can get additional details on college programs at this link.
Riverview Health Care Members Stand United to Negotiate Contract Agreement
Members with Riverview Health Care, a nursing home in Oak Harbor, have been working tirelessly to provide quality care for residents on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic. Members with this facility of all backgrounds recently stood together to bargain their next Union contract agreement.
The members at Riverview Health Care successfully negotiated the following terms and improvements:
1. Wage Increases. A $0.50 raise in the 1st year, in addition to a 3% wage increase. In the 2nd and 3rd years, members will receive wage increases of 2.5%.
2. Night Shift Differential. For workers who are on the night shift, the shift differential increased from $1 an hour to $3 an hour.
3. Perfect Attendance Bonus. Workers will now receive $200 for perfect attendance every three months. Bereavement leave and jury duty will no longer count against attendance.
4. Weekend Makeups. After missing work, members may be placed on the schedule their shift, in addition to a Saturday or Sunday for hours missed.
5. Bereavement Leave. Leave will now be granted in relation to aunts and uncles.
6. Staffing. Pre-mandation hours will now be capped at 20 hours and FT/PT can pass 8 hours to others.
Workers with Riverview Health Care are doing everything possible to provide the highest possible quality care and they have not been any cases of COVID19 at the facility to date. Members successfully stood together in negotiations to bargain a fair and equitable agreement that will help ensure staff retention and quality care.
As COVID19 Pandemic Surges, Nursing Home Workers With Certus Healthcare Demand Dignity, Improved Staffing, and Protective Equipment
Certus Healthcare workers say that although their employer has received millions in government funding to combat COVID19, staffing and protective equipment remain issues of concern.
Staff Contact: Samara Knight at (877) 419-7348
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 10th
CLEVELAND, OHIO – Certus Healthcare workers who are working on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic are speaking out and standing together for good jobs and quality care. More than one member with the Union has been hospitalized and fallen seriously ill after contracting COVID19.
“Nursing home workers have too often been taken for granted,” said Samara Knight, an Executive Vice President with SEIU District 1199. “The weight of this crisis has fallen on nursing home workers that weren’t earning enough and often weren’t appreciated before the pandemic began. They are heroes but nursing home workers with Certus Healthcare have not received hazard pay. Workers have reported to the Union that it can be difficult to get proper protective equipment,” Knight continued. “Some workers have also been concerned, as they’ve been asked to provide their private insurance card without a lot of explanation, and they worry they could be responsible for the cost of testing,” said Knight.
SEIU District 1199 represents workers with five facilities owned by Certus Healthcare, which have received millions of dollars in paycheck protection loans and CARES Act funding.
- Cityview in Cleveland:
- Candlewood Healthcare in East Cleveland:
- Kent Care Center in Portage County:
- Suburban Pavilion in North Randall:
- Heritage Village of Waterville
As noted above, a database by ProPublica that lists paycheck protection loan funding shows that numerous Certus Healthcare facilities received between $350,000 and $1M in forgivable loan funding from the Small Business Administration. According to Nursing Home Compare, all five facilities with Certus Healthcare with members represented by SEIU District 1199 currently have 1 star out of 5 stars for staffing, which means much below average.
“We’ve had workers with Certus Healthcare fall seriously ill,” continued Samara Knight. Cathy Kaufmann, Director of Region 2 with SEIU District 1199, concluded “to have a Union means to have a voice. The workers with these facilities need ample protective equipment and improved staffing to provide the best possible care for facility residents.”
We Honor Your Service and Sacrifice
SEIU District 1199 is proud to represent many Union members who have served our nation. This year for Veterans Day, we would like to share photos to honor those with military service backgrounds.
As you may know, the Union started a Veterans Caucus last year and members can sign up online. If you send us photos from your military service, we would like to spotlight and honor member veterans on social media.
Send any service related photos to be shared online on Veterans Day by sending them to email@example.com. Together, we thank you and honor your service and sacrifice.
Becky Williams – President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
2020 Union Scholarship Winners
Vernal Wiley, Highlands ARH
Stephanie Fiber, child of Tina Fiber, Northern Panhandle Head Start
Andrew Leist, child of Sarah Parks, Cabell Huntington Hospital
Jake Meek, child of Retha Meek, American Red Cross – Huntington
Shauntina Reed, child of Priscilla Reed, Rescare – West Virginia
Tiera Cross, Lutheran Hospital
Andrew Curry, child of Kim Moore, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Valerie Dranchak, child of Christa Dranchak, Greene County Public Library
Amanda Frerking, child of Mary Frerking, Stark County District Library
Christina Fulton, Zepf Center
Stephanie Furino, Cuyahoga County Public Library
Marc Judy, child of Lisa Judy, Steward – Trumbull Regional Medical Center
Ariel McLain, child of Erica McLain, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Keith Nelson, child of Tasha Nelson, Rescue Mental Health
Tamhra Phelps, Mercy Lorain – RNs
Cara Potocki, child of Therese Potocki, Frontline Services
James Snowden, OS – Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections
Gage Thompson, child of Kristina Thompson, OS – Department of Developmental Disabilities
Rachel Witten, OS – Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections
Trisade Zimmerman, child of Dwayne Henson, OS – Ohio Veterans Home
Nursing Home staffing and PPE Shortages Continue, New Data Shows. Nursing Home Workers Express Alarm as COVID19 Cases Surge in Ohio and Nationwide
A new analysis of CMS data by AARP and the Ohio University Scripps Gerontology Center shows that many nursing home facilities lack needed PPE. Concurrently, projections and modeling data show that COVID19 transmission may dramatically increase this fall and winter.
For Immediate Release: Monday, October 19th, 2020
Media Contact: Anthony Caldwell (330) 651-2042
COLUMBUS, OHIO – Nationwide, 84,000 residents and nursing home workers have died as COVID19 has spread across the country, data shows. Nursing home workers have acted bravely by caring for nursing home residents and continuing their work, even in difficult conditions.
In Ohio, this crisis has reached nursing home facilities across the state, with some outbreaks occurring at severe levels. “Nursing home and other workers go to work each day, where they often wear protective equipment and the pandemic is a constant concern. Nursing home workers often work long hours and earn low-wages. Nursing home staffing has always been a concern but at many facilities, staffing levels have further deteriorated. Transmission of COVID19 has been highly prevalent within nursing home facilities,” said Anthony Caldwell, Director of Public Affairs for SEIU District 1199.
New analysis of data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services by AARP shows that 34.6% of Ohio nursing homes in the 4 week period ending on 9/20/20 had a shortage of workers. Additionally, 33.9% of nursing homes in Ohio did not have a one week supply of all critical personal protective equipment items needed during that same period.
Nursing home workers now have one of the most dangerous jobs in America, stated a recent report in the Washington Post. “These workers were not cared for before this pandemic and this is a deepening crisis. Policymakers at all levels of government, long-term care corporations, and nursing home operators, must work together to ensure access to personal protective equipment and that there is safe staffing for nursing home residents,” concluded Caldwell.
SEIU District 1199, a healthcare and social service union, represents thousands of nursing home workers across West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.
View the AARP COVID19 Nursing Home Dashboard.
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
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!”
Register to Vote Online and Request an Absentee Ballot in Ohio