It’s been quite the year.
COVID-19 changed everything for healthcare workers as it exposed deep cracks in our healthcare system. When the pandemic first hit, our countries lack of preparation put many healthcare workers’ lives at risk. While many of us would have loved to work from home during these frightening times, you didn’t have that choice. Workers had to join together and scrap for every single piece of PPE and every new contract this year. You stayed strong and united during this crisis and we could not be more proud.
Thanks to your unshaken resolve, our union has grown and thrived. In fact, we have nearly doubled our union by adding over 3,000 new members in 2020. That’s a huge accomplishment you all played a major role in achieving. This will allow us to do even greater things in 2021 as we continue to fight for better working conditions for all healthcare workers in Michigan.
Before the year comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate our major successes in 2020:
Beaumont Workers Win a New Contract
In February, hospital workers from SEIU Healthcare Michigan reached an agreement with Beaumont Health over contract negotiations that had been ongoing for close to 18 months.
The new contract provided a raise for nearly a thousand union workers which included service employees, maintenance workers, housekeeping workers, dietary aides, CNAs and patient sitters.
Healthcare Workers Fight to #ProtectAllWorkers in a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed our country into an economic and public health crisis. As the federal government failed to prepare and respond to the crisis, workers were abandoned on the front lines and were forced to take a stand. SEIU members – including hospital, home care, and nursing home workers – used their voices and collective power to come together in a campaign to Protect All Workers to ensure their health, safety, and financial security.
Nursing Home Workers Strike for Black Lives
On July 20th, working people in more than 100 cities demanded action from corporations and the government to dismantle white supremacy and to ensure the health, safety, and economic well-being of every worker. Nursing home workers in Detroit used their power to go on strike and launch protests to demand an end to structural racism and create an economy and democracy that works for all of us with no exceptions.
SEIU Nursing Home Worker Appointed to Governor’s COVID-19 taskforce
Detroit nursing home worker Trece Andrews was named to Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force. Andrews, the only nursing home worker who was appointed to the task force, represented frontline healthcare workers across Michigan who were impacted during the pandemic. The task force presented recommendations to the Governor and worked to improve the care, safety, and wellness of Michigan’s most vulnerable populations. They concluded by presenting their recommendations in August of 2020.
Mercy Health Nurses and Emergency Department Tech’s Vote to Join SEIU
A majority of over 800 registered nurses at Mercy Health in Muskegon voted “yes” to be represented by SEIU Healthcare Michigan. The election was precipitated by the announced consolidation of Mercy Health Muskegon’s Hackley and Mercy Campuses into a new medical tower which was recently constructed at the Mercy Campus. Earlier this year, Ed Techs also voted to unionize and join SEIU. With the addition of both groups, SEIU now represents over 1,800 nurses, technical and service workers at Mercy Health, including ER techs, certified nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, lab techs, dietary workers and environmental services workers. With all nurses and caregivers now united together, they have a much greater voice to advocate for their patients with the administration.
Nursing Home Workers Win New Contracts, Demand Owners “Respect us, Protect us, and Pay us!”
As the pandemic tore through nursing homes in Michigan, healthcare workers are stood up to demand that owners “protect us, respect us, and pay us!” In October, workers organized and used their collective voice to put pressure on owners to negotiate contracts with higher wages, stronger benefits, and protections from COVID-19. When owners refused to budge, workers organized to walk off the job in protest. Owners saw the power of our workers, and 20 nursing homes settled new contracts before the strike could begin– one nursing home settled after only two days of a strike. The success of our campaign is a testament to the strength of our workers united together to demand changes in the nursing home industry.
Essential Workers Elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the Presidency
All across Michigan, from the Keweenaw to Detroit, multi-racial, working-class Michiganders joined together with people from all walks of life to vote in record numbers, demand that every single vote was counted, and deliver our democracy. This wasn’t done in the name of a party or politician, but working-class Michiganders who create this state’s extraordinary abundance and deserve to live full, dignified lives. SEIU workers played a huge role in organizing the vote to elect Joe Biden. From Member Political Organizers working to get out the vote to our members voting at the polls, healthcare workers across the state helped deliver the votes necessary to win.
Andrea Acevedo, President
Ken Haney, Vice President