SEIU Member Forum on COVID-19 Vaccines
On Friday, January 15th, there will be a nationwide forum for SEIU members on vaccines for COVID-19. This 75 minute forum will feature a video from a vaccine roundtable. Members from across the Union will also be able to ask questions about vaccine development, efficacy, and safety.
This forum will include Dr. Alicia Fernandez, a Professor of Medicine at UCSF and general internist at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Members can register for this forum and live Q and A online. Register for this event at this link, where you will also be able submit questions about the vaccines.
As you may know, SEIU is encouraging all workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and has adopted 7 principals for the vaccination effort. The vaccines that are available will help make sure that all workers are protected. Together, we will work to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Becky Williams — President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to stay connected by phone and email. Members can make contact information updates online at any time.
Stillwater Center Nurses Stand United for a Fair Contract and Quality Care in Pandemic
Members with the Stillwater Center recently stood united to bargain and ratify a new contract agreement. Nurses with the Stillwater Center have been working bravely during the COVID19 pandemic to provide the best possible care.
In their contract campaign, the nurses received support from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. Numerous nurses have contracted COVID19 during the pandemic.
To have a Union means to have a voice and in the last year, the nurses also spoke out about needed protective equipment and COVID19 protocols.
The nurses voted unanimously for the new contract agreement, which provides for a $600 ratification bonus and an annual wage increase for each of the next three years. The nurses also negotiated having Juneteenth as a paid holiday, as an alternative to Columbus Day. The new contract also includes updated language that may strengthen Union representation.
Together, Union members with the Stillwater Center and across the region are standing strong amid the COVID19 pandemic for fair wages and quality care.
Solidarity Newsletter – January
● Cabell Huntington Hospital Member Challenges Suspension. A technical worker with Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, received a 5-day suspension after following guidelines. Some members must update their credentials, which must be available on a credentialing website by a deadline prior to expiration. Due to a delay in processing, the renewal was not immediately displayed, though updated prior to the deadline. The member worked with the Union and an arbitrator reduced the 5-day suspension to a single day.
● Standing Together Amid the COVID19 Pandemic. Members with SEIU District 1199 have been standing with their co-workers as Union members in the pandemic. Together, members across many chapters have successfully negotiated hazard pay and other agreements to help combat COVID19.
● RN Member at Northeast Ohio Hospital Negotiates Settlement. A member with Mercy Regional Medical Center was terminated in August 2020. The member filed a grievance and was able to negotiate a payout of accrued leave time, which totaled $3,627. Without a Union, a worker can be dismissed for any reason. However, as an outcome of the grievance, the termination was also amended to reflect a resignation.
● Certus Healthcare Members Stand United. Members with Certus Healthcare in Cleveland held a visibility action to raise awareness and pay tribute to Union brothers and sisters working on the frontlines as well as nursing home residents who have lost their lives or been diagnosed with COVID19. The event garnered local news coverage and members were able to share their experiences with the public.
● Member With ResCare Successfully Appeals Discipline. A dedicated member had worked with ResCare for 32 years. The member had no prior record of discipline and was issued a final warning for small infractions. The member filed a grievance and though the employer was not willing to remove the discipline, it was reduced to a 1st written warning in a settlement.
● Ohio Nursing Home Member Receives Settlement After Grievance. A member with a nursing home in Ohio had been terminated and filed a grievance. The member had already found another job but in a successful outcome, the member received a monetary payment and the termination was amended to reflect a resignation.
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!”
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.
SEIU District 1199 Encourages All Members to get COVID-19 Vaccine
The Service Employees International Union has released seven principles that it is calling on employers, public health officials, and elected officials to follow during distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The principles were proposed by a committee of local leaders representing SEIU members and adopted by the Union’s International Executive Board where I serve as Vice President.
The 7 principles for the vaccination effort are as follows:
1. Vaccines are a proven technology to prevent the spread of disease. The COVID vaccine is a critical tool to protect our families, ourselves, and our communities as we fight to put an end to this deadly virus. We encourage SEIU members to take the vaccine.
2. Vaccine distribution must be equitable and transparent and must prioritize communities hardest hit by the virus including essential workers, people with underlying health conditions and disproportionately impacted communities of color.
3. Vaccines must be provided free of charge and workers should be provided with paid time off if the vaccination process requires them to miss work.
4. Employers must not use vaccines as a substitute for worker safety and infection control protocols nor for ensuring access to personal protective equipment.
5. Vaccine distribution plans must include education and outreach activities that involve essential workers and our communities deeply and meaningfully.
6. Outreach and distribution plans must recognize the impact of structural racism in causing trauma and heightened levels of distrust about vaccination in Black and brown communities.
7. The best approach to encouraging universal vaccination is through education and outreach, not through making vaccination mandatory.
SEIU District 1199 members across West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio, continue to call on government at all levels to take action to protect the health, safety, and financial security of working people. The principles outlined above are the latest step in working together to make sure that all workers are protected and so that we can bring an end to the COVID19 pandemic.
Becky Williams — President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
We Rise – Update Your Membership
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we thank you and honor your service and sacrifice.
Becky Williams – President
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH
Members: We’ve Got YOUR Back
By now you have probably received an email from this out-of-state, anti-worker organization calling themselves the Freedom Foundation or OptOutToday? If you are like me, you deleted it quickly and put it in the trash where it belongs.
For those of you who don’t know much about the so-called “Freedom Foundation,” they are funded by out-of-state billionaires who want to destroy unions and elect anti-worker, anti-union candidates that will keep wages low, eliminate paid sick leave, and slash crucial funding for quality public services like the reliable and front line services you provide.
In fact, the Freedom Foundation is a long-time advocate and contributor of so-called Right to Work Laws like Senate Bill 5, which we soundly defeated before and will do again if necessary. We will not allow the wealthy and the out of touch politicians to work in the shadows through failed organizations like the Freedom Foundation to lower wages, take away the benefits, healthcare, and protections you negotiated through your Union. They are trying to attack your solidarity and strength and make your workplaces less safe while eroding your protections and securities to enrich their overflowing pockets.
Don’t believe their lies and misleading information. They are using every trick in the book to further divide workers by badgering SEIU members via your private work email and cell phones. Sowing division and weakening workers’ rights is truly their ONLY goal.
Most of us, no matter our color, origin, or gender, want our communities and our country to be places where freedom is for everyone. We beat groups like them when we defeated Senate Bill 5, and we won’t allow anyone to take away our dignity, rights, and respect on the job and in our communities. That’s why the members of our Union are proud to continue to stand in solidarity, united to fight for the improvement of the lives of all working people as we strive for a more just society for all people. Ignore these out of town billionaires and stand united to win for working families as we have always done.
President Becky Williams
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
Stillwater Center Members in Dayton Ask for Community Support and Stand United for a Fair Contract as Union Negotiations Continue Amid the COVID19 Pandemic
During an outbreak that recently occurred, 25 staff members and residents with the Stillwater Center contracted COVID19. Nurses with the Stillwater Center have been working tirelessly in the current pandemic to protect residents – healthcare workers and their families have also been exposed to a new level of risk as the pandemic continues.
For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 1, 2020.
Media Contact: Carol Walters – Deputy Director: (740) 709-9004.
DAYTON, OHIO – Members of SEIU District with the Stillwater Center in Dayton are currently negotiating their next three year contract agreement. Workers with the facility have continued working bravely during the current pandemic, despite often difficult conditions.
On August 10th, members with the Stillwater Center alerted local media through a press release sent by SEIU District 1199 that workers at the facility believed that some infectious disease control protocols, such as quarantining staff following exposure, needed to be improved. At that time only a handful of cases had been reported by the Ohio Department of Health. Ultimately, 25 staff members and residents contracted COVID19 in that outbreak. SEIU District 1199 represents approximately 32 nurses with the Stillwater Center and numerous healthcare workers there have contracted COVID19 through their work.
“In negotiations, the Stillwater Center has offered minimal wage increases for these brave nurses. We believe that staff retention and caring for those serving on the frontlines of this crisis is within the interests of local government and management at the Stillwater Center,” said Carol Walters, a deputy director with SEIU District 1199. “While we understand budgetary concerns, many staff members at the Stillwater Center have actually contracted COVID19, which may have long-term health implications,” continued Walters.
Workers with the Stillwater Center care deeply about their work and have do everything possible each day to maintain the highest possible level of quality care. This week, the workers submitted a new public records request to management to understand what stockpiles of personal protective equipment (PPE) are available at the facility to prepare for the possibility of a new outbreak. Workers also sent a letter about ongoing negotiations to members of the Montgomery County Commission on September 17th.
“Nurses have always been heroes in Dayton and across our country. Members of the public in Montgomery County are submitting letters to local officials to ask them to stand with these nurses. It’s critical that we care for those who care for others in this crisis,” concluded Walters.
Stand With the Union Healthcare Heroes at the Stillwater Center
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