WV/KY Healthcare

SEIU District 1199’s West Virginia and Kentucky Healthcare division represents nearly 7,000 workers. These fields include hospitals, nursing homes, community action agencies, clinics, councils on aging, Head Start, mental health, and blood services including the Red Cross.

Solidarity Newsletter – March 2021

Solidarity Newsletter March 2021Member News and Grievance Victories
● 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 new contract terms and agreements to help combat COVID19. 

● American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan is quickly moving through the legislative process. The plan includes hundreds of billions of dollars for states and local governments. This funding is vital for public services and employers where members work. Send a message to your legislators about this important plan.

● Cabell Huntington Hospital Members Receive Phone Call From First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. During the call, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden thanked several nurses for their work amid the COVID19 pandemic and spoke with them individually about their experiences during the crisis

 ResCare Member Successfully Challenges Wrongful Termination. A member with ResCare in West Virginia was terminated for alleged theft of work time. Management believed the member was at a personal appointment. The member and Union were able to show through text messages and documentation that management had false information. While the member had already found another job, management offered the member $1,500 and a neutral reference. 

● Cleveland Public Library Members Successfully Enforce Contract. Members with Cleveland Public Library recently filed a grievance around COVID19 policies and procedures. Two workplace committees cover COVID19 issues but only two SEIU members were a part of those committees. As an outcome of mediation, 8 members will have a voice as representatives or alternates. Minutes will also now be taken and shared with all members.

 ResCare Awarded Settlement Through Grievance Process. A member with ResCare in West Virginia was terminated but the member no direct connection with an event in question. The member had already found a new job but wanted to clear her name. Through the grievance process, the member was awarded a monetary payment and granted a neutral letter of reference.  

● Ohio Nursing Home Workers Issued Proper Payment. Under the new contract, nursing home members at the end of 2020 negotiated an increase in the hourly afternoon shift differential for LPNs. They also negotiated an increase in the hourly shift differential for night shift aides and LPNs, which was brought from $0.35 to $0.45. After they did not receive the increase, working together as co-workers and with the Union in 2021, the members were able to quickly get the pay they were missing recognized. Back pay was also issued to the bargaining unit members.

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. 

Basic Grievance Chair Training

 

Hospital Members in Ohio Valley Receive Settlement After Contract Violations Amid COVID19 Pandemic

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After a hospital department with 4 members declined to be laid off at the start of the COVID19 pandemic, they faced schedule changes and significant changes in work hours. The members did not know if they would be working their next shift or if they would lose their pay.

Working with the Member Resource Center, the members stood together as co-workers and filed a grievance. Some members had also used PTO time to supplement lost work hours. Through the grievance process, the members were able to demonstrate that contract violations had occurred.

Together, the group of members proved they should have received payment for nearly every hour lost. In a successful outcome, the health care members received a settlement totaling $6,400.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden Recognizes Cabell Huntington Hospital Nurses – Honors Fallen Nurse Mary Meadows

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In a phone call with nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden expressed gratitude for their work at the hospital amid the COVID19 pandemic. During the call, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden also acknowledged and honored fallen nurse and healthcare hero Mary Meadows. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden sent condolences on behalf of herself and President Joe Biden to all of the nurses at the hospital.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, who was joined by Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, spoke with each nurse participating in the call individually about the challenges of the pandemic. She also discussed the urgency of the vaccination effort, assured the nurses that West Virginia would not be left behind, and praised them for helping West Virginia lead the way in the area of vaccinations.

Nearly 1,000 nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital formed a Union with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH in November 2019. The nurses work in all areas of the hospital and have been working bravely on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic. Nurses at the hospital ratified their first contract in January 2021, which protects quality care, in addition to wages and benefits.

Several nurses participated in the call:

• Deanna Donahoe, a float pool nurse, has worked at the hospital for 9 years.
• Holly Bragg, an operating room nurse, has worked at the hospital for 7 years.
• Madea McGuire, a NICU nurse, has worked at the hospital for 15 years.
• Cammie Melvin, a surgery center RN, has worked at the hospital for 4 years
• Betty Dillon, a nurse practitioner, has worked at the hospital for 39 years.
• Brenda Martin, a surgery nurse, has worked at the hospital for 18 years.  
• Denise Johnson, a mother baby nurse, has worked at the hospital for 7 years.

Mary Meadows was a registered nurse who was a leader in the effort to form a union in 2019. She worked for 37 years at Cabell Huntington Hospital and lost her life due to COVID19 in January 2021. The nurses were grateful for the call and are doing everything they can on behalf of the public in the current crisis.

 

Cabell Huntington Hospital Nurses Stand United With Retirees

Cabell Huntington Hospital is Cancelling Supplemental Health Insurance for Retired Nurses

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Union Members Express Outrage After Cabell Huntington Hospital Cuts Health Insurance for Retired Nurses Amid COVID19

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Retirees who had worked as nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital recently received a letter that the hospital system would “terminate” their supplemental health insurance coverage. Supplemental insurance for retiree nurses had been a long-standing promise and policy at the hospital – a matter of survival for some retired seniors, especially amid a pandemic.

For Immediate Release: February 4th, 2021.
Press Contact: Joyce Gibson, jgibson@seiu1199.org, 304-654-0824.

HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA – Retired nurses were recently notified by letter that they would lose their retiree supplemental health insurance. The letter notified nurses, some who had worked for Cabell Huntington Hospital for decades, that the hospital would discontinue their supplemental insurance. For service and maintenance workers who have long been union members at the hospital, retiree benefits are written into their contract and guaranteed.

“Supplemental insurance was a long-standing commitment made by Cabell Huntington Hospital to these nurses who provided outstanding care. The hospital told them, if you retire from Cabell Huntington Hospital and have 17 years of service or more, we will provide you with supplemental insurance and prescription drug coverage,” said Joyce Gibson, Secretary-Treasurer with SEIU District 1199. “Supplemental insurance for retiree nurses was the policy of the hospital – this was their promise,” Gibson continued.

Retiree nurses received letters dated January 28th that the hospital would no longer continue their supplemental insurance. For pre-65 retirees (Read: Pre-65 Retiree Letter), monthly costs will now range from $125 for a basic plan to $265 a month for coverage with a spouse. For post-65 retirees (Read: Post-65 Retiree Letter), the Medicare Supplement Plan promised by the hospital has been “terminated.” The letter to Post-65 seniors states: “Our records show that you are enrolled in the Post-65 Retiree Medicare Supplement Plan currently offered to you by Cabell Huntington Hospital Inc. This letter is being sent to notify you that your coverage under this plan will terminate effective March 31, 2021.”

“Cabell Huntington Hospital made a promise to these workers and in addition to a $10.55M acquisition of the Huntington Internal Medicine Group by St. Mary’s Medical Center in 2020, total annual executive compensation was recently in the millions,” said Joyce Gibson. “These nurses worked at Cabell Huntington Hospital year after year and they were always here for the people of Huntington,” Gibson concluded.

SEIU District 1199 has represented workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital for over 40 years. In the largest victory since West Virginia became a “right-to-work” state, nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in November 2019. Technical workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in February 2020.

National Town Hall Events for SEIU Members on COVID19 Vaccines

Solidarity Newsletter — February

Solidarity February 2021● Mahoning Valley Hospital Member in Ohio Restored to Employee Status. A member in Youngstown was furloughed at the start of the COVID19 pandemic. The member was returned to work but only as a per diem employee, which was a contract violation. As a per diem employee, the member would have lost their substantial sick leave and personal time balances, which had a value of over $8,000. Standing with the Union, the member filed a grievance and was returned to the proper status with leave time restored. 

● Cleveland Public Library Members Win Class Action Grievance. Members with Cleveland Public Library have  contractual “special close” language that grants time and a half pay when members work while libraries are closed. The Board of Trustees for Cleveland Public Library tried to circumvent this contract provision by passing a special policy. Members stood united behind the grievance and three members participated in official proceedings. An arbitrator recently issued a decision in favor of the library members and found that they were owed over $62,000.  

● West Virginia Member With ResCare Receives Missing PTO Hours. A member with ResCare contacted the Union and believed that she was missing PTO hours dating back to October 2019. The member filed a grievance and just before mediation, ResCare confirmed that there were 120 PTO hours that were missing. The value of the PTO hours totaled approximately $1,200. 

● 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 combat COVID19. 


● Cabell Huntington Hospital Nurses Negotiate and Ratify First Contract.
Nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital stood united in negotiations and throughout their organizing campaign that started in 2019 to form a Union and then ratify their first contract. The nurses, who have been on the frontlines of the COVID19 pandemic, negotiated significant improvements in important areas such as quality care, wages, and benefits. 


American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan would provide hundreds of billions of dollars for states, schools, and local governments. This funding is vital for public services and employers where members work.
Send a message to your legislators about this important recovery plan.

● Dedicated ResCare Member Returns to Work.
A member with ResCare was terminated after 12 years with the company due to a misunderstanding. Ultimately, 23 employees with ResCare called the Member Resource Center on the member’s behalf and 12 members wrote character reference letters to submit to ResCare. In a mutually agreeable settlement, the member returned to work and received $1,500 in backpay. 

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. 

Members at KDMC in Ashland (KY) Ratify New Contract Amid Pandemic

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Members with King’s Daughters Medical Center of all backgrounds in Ashland, Kentucky, recently ratified a new 1-year contract agreement.
Members with KDMC have been working bravely through the COVID19 pandemic. The new agreement includes no concessions and the following provisions:


A wage increase for all bargaining unit members

• An additional 2% market wage adjustment for couriers, clerks, and secretaries
• Virtual Union orientation, which will help the bargaining unit stand united
• A $200 contract ratification bonus

Members with King’s Daughters Medical Center have been united as Union members and on the frontlines of the crisis. Together, we rise.  

Willow Tree Healthcare Center Members Stand United to Ratify a 3-year Contract

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Members with Willow Tree Healthcare Center recently stood together to negotiate a new contract agreement.
Members ratified the agreement in a unanimous vote. The agreement includes the following provisions:

• Added gender discrimination to the contract to protect all workers
• Increases in shift differentials for Union members
• Expanded bereavement leave – if needed
• Added to members established delegate Union rights
• Wage increases of 3% in the 1st year, 2.5% in the 2nd year, and 2.5% in the 3rd year

In 2020, members with Willow Tree Healthcare Center bravely cared for residents at their facility in one of the worst nursing home outbreaks in the region.

Take Action — American Rescue Plan

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Nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital Vote Overwhelmingly to Ratify Union Contract Amid COVID19 Pandemic

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Nurses and Union leaders say that in addition to now having a voice on the job and the ability to speak out about quality care, organizing a Union allowed the nurses to negotiate improved insurance coverage and wages, which will strengthen staff retention and benefit nearly 1,000 workers and their families.

For Immediate Release: January 15, 2021
Press Contact: Joyce Gibson, jgibson@seiu1199.org, 304-654-0824

HUNTINGTON, West Virginia – Nurses and nurse practitioners with Cabell Huntington Hospital have overwhelmingly approved a three-year contract agreement with hospital executives. In the largest victory since West Virginia became a “right-to-work” state, the nurses voted to form a Union in November 2019.

Pam Waugh, a medical surgical RN said, “I have been a nurse for 29 years and a union contract gives my family security and peace of mind. I now have job security and do not have to worry my benefits will be taken away.”

With nearly 1,000 nurses and nurse practitioners represented in the bargaining unit and to ensure COVID-19 protocols, the workers voted in significant numbers in a two-day contract vote held at the Double Tree Hotel in Huntington, West Virginia. The vote started on Thursday, January 14th and concluded in the late evening on Friday, January 15th

“Nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital stood united at the bargaining table and they were diligent in negotiating the details of this agreement,” said Joyce Gibson, Secretary-Treasurer with SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH. “Locally, these nurses are not just health care workers but family members, friends, and neighbors. That’s why this agreement is meaningful not just for these nurses but for the entire area,” said Gibson. “The new agreement ensures that these vital nurses will have job security and a voice for the patients they serve and it will strengthen quality care, in addition to wages and benefits,” concluded Gibson.

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

Holly Bragg, an operating room nurse said: “In these uncertain times, with a national nursing shortage, we no longer have to worry about losing exceptional nurses who care for those in our community due to corporate restructuring and greed. Our nurses will now be able to take care of themselves so that they will be able to take care of others. We made history at Cabell Huntington Hospital and paved the way for nurses across the nation to stand up so that they may no longer be cast into the shadows, work dangerously short-staffed, and stripped of workplace benefits. We thank you, our community, for your support during our endeavors over the past year and look forward to providing you with excellent health care.”

SEIU District 1199 has represented workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital for over 40 years. In the largest victory since West Virginia became a “right-to-work” state, nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in November 2019. Technical workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in February 2020.

SEIU Member Forum on COVID-19 Vaccines

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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.

In Solidarity, 

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. 

Solidarity Newsletter – January

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● 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.

In Solidarity, 

Becky Williams President 
SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH

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. 

Take Action — Nursing Home Workers Need a Bill of Rights

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PPE For Healthcare Workers

 PPE Now

 

Nursing Home Workers Face Staffing and PPE Shortages as COVID19 Cases Increase Among Staff and Residents

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CMS data and analysis by AARP and the Ohio University Scripps Gerontology Center show that nursing workers and their facilities need additional support with protective equipment and staffing.

Staff Contact: Anthony Caldwell at (877) 419-7348
For Immediate Release: Monday, December 14th, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Data shows persistent shortages of essential PPE items and staffing shortages continue as COVID19 cases increase in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and nationwide.

“According to the Ohio Department of Health, as of December 11th, 30,219 nursing home residents in Ohio have tested positive for COVID19 since April 15th. Additionally, 20,822 nursing home workers have tested positive for the virus in that same period,” said Becky Williams, President of SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH. “As of the latest update from the Ohio Department of Health, 4,689 nursing home residents had COVID19 and 3,082 nursing home staff members had active COVID19,” Williams continued.

Data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is regularly being analyzed by AARP, recently showed the following for the four week period ending on 11/15/20:

• In Ohio, 28.9% of nursing homes did not have a one week supply of all PPE during the 4 week period ending on 11/15/20. During that same time period, 36.6% of nursing homes had a shortage of direct care workers.  
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In West Virginia, 35.2% of nursing homes did not have a one week supply of all PPE items during the 4 week period ending on 11/15/20. During that same time, 13.9% of nursing homes had a shortage of direct care workers.  
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In Kentucky, 21.8% of nursing homes did not have a one week supply of all PPE items during the 4 week period ending on 11/15/20. During that same time, 28.4% of nursing homes in Kentucky had a shortage of direct care workers.

“While vaccination efforts ramp up, nursing home workers need support, whether that means governmental aide at the national level for the industry as a whole or assistance with protective equipment, hazard pay, and staffing shortages regionally,” said Becky Williams. “Nursing home workers often do not make a living wage for the work that they do and they have been bravely caring for nursing home residents in this crisis,” Williams concluded.

SEIU District 1199, a healthcare and social service union, represents thousands of nursing home workers across West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.

View the AARP Public Policy Institute COVID19 Nursing Home Dashboard