SEIU Michigan Voters Celebrate Wins for Pro-Worker Leaders and Ballot Measures in Midterm Elections

Working People Joined Together to Vote to Protect Our Freedoms, and Leaders Who Will Build Michigan That Works for All

Following a decisive election night, workers and leaders of SEIU Michigan, issued the following statements, on behalf its members and workers with the Fight for $15 and a Union:

“After months of knocking doors, making calls, and talking to my neighbors and co-workers, I am thrilled to see our hard work pay off. In the face of racist attacks and power-hungry politicians trying to spread lies and mistrust, working people turned out to pass ballot measures that protect our freedoms to decide what to do with our bodies and to ensure every person, regardless of race or zip code, can exercise our fundamental freedom to vote. All across our state, Black and brown voters and young voters and working class voters of all backgrounds decided this election on leaders who stand with working people, not greedy corporations.

Just like we did in 2020, when extremist Republicans, motivated by racism and lies, tried to overturn the will of the people and silence Black and brown voices, we are prepared to defend our votes and make sure the board certifies the results. And we know our fight doesn’t start or stop at the ballot box. We’re going to keep organizing—on our jobs together in our unions, in our communities and wherever we can–to build our power together. We won’t stop until every person in our state can live with dignity and have a real say in the decisions that impact our lives,” said Dorothy Bates, nursing home worker in Detroit and member leader with SEIU Healthcare Michigan for over 25 years.

“From the UP to Detroit, Marquette to Down River, Benton Harbor to Flint, working people showed up in force to elect leaders at every level who are committed to building a Michigan that works for all of us. We are proud to congratulate Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel on winning re-election as well as the new majorities in the House and Senate. We look forward to working with them to truly deliver for workers, lift up our communities, and build a better, more just future for all.

This has been SEIU’s biggest midterm field program in our history. In Michigan, we knocked over 200,000 doors across our state to engage working people on the issues that matter most to them. As a union of service and care workers that unites tens of thousands of diverse members across our state, we believe in the power of joining together on the job and in our democracy. Together is the only way forward to the future we want where all our rights are respected, all our work is valued, and all our communities have what they need to thrive, no matter our race, zip code or background,” said Brandice Mullen, Vice President of SEIU Michigan and MI State Director of SEIU Local 1. 

Trinity Stewards Form Roundtable

Trinity Hospital leaders from three bargaining units work to solve staffing and other workplace issues

It’s no secret that there is a serious labor shortage in the healthcare industry.

The shortage cuts across all classifications for hospital workers – whether you’re cleaning a room or providing direct patient care. In order to bring a unified voice to tackle staffing shortages, stewards at Trinity Health have formed a roundtable to address issues head-on.

At Trinity Hospital in Muskegon, SEIU has wall-to-wall representation with over 1,800 workers in three bargaining units which includes service and support, techs, and RNs. This month concluded the elections for a new slate of steward leaders, and now these stewards will be charting the course for workers in their hospital.

At its first meeting, stewards created a plan to address the staffing crisis which has created challenges in every department. Stewards are planning a Halloween-themed event to show that short-staffing is spooky, kicking off an awareness campaign to bring changes to the hospital.

SEIU Nurses Confront Urgent Staffing Crisis

After nearly three years of the pandemic, nurses look for solutions to the industry-wide staffing crisis.

Laken Gray has been an ICU nurse at McLaren Bay for the last 13 years. She loves her job and the intensive care she is able to provide every day.

“I love being able to take care of critically sick patients and get them approved to the floor. And when we can’t achieve that right away, we keep patients and families comfortable as they receive care,” says Gray.

But nurses like Gray are being routinely pushed to the limit, picking up shifts and working long hours as they contend with a staffing crisis that hasn’t spared any hospital. As a result, providing quality patient care has become increasingly challenging. For patients in the ICU, that could mean the difference between checking and reducing a patient’s blood pressure in a timely manner.

“We are assigned two patients, sometimes up to three, which means patients don’t get one-on-one care. We try to give our patients the best care possible,” says Gray.

At Munson Cadillac, RN Bonnie Alworden has observed an influx of patients with mental health challenges in the ER due to a lack of community services. This system failure puts a strain on the healthcare staff already dealing with so many challenges. RNs have come to their Union for support in these tough times.

“Working together in our Union makes a huge difference. We have a lot of newer stewards, but we are making huge strides. It’s becoming more of a group effort,” says Gray.

“Though I was originally skeptical, I’ve been a Union steward for 30 years now. The stability of the Union contract makes a big difference. It provides stability and a voice, and when we use our voices we get heard,” says Alworden.

Across multiple hospitals, RNs are leading the way to create solutions and pushing for changes – in their workplaces and the industry as a whole.

At Munson Cadillac, retention bonuses have eased some of the staffing issues. The Union and the hospital negotiated a $5,000/year retention bonus for a 2-year commitment. It’s been a helpful stopgap, but Alworden says bigger solutions need to come from the state and federal level.

“Between 2023 and 2030, we will lose 25-50% of staff due to retirement because we are aging out and wearing out. Not enough new nurses are coming into the industry. We need to bring back federal programs that support nurses for choosing to work in rural areas that are struggling to recruit staff.”

Gray continues to advocate for patient-to-staff ratios and bringing back intern programs.

“We need intern and extern programs back, many got rid of them in the last 5-10 years. This can help with recruiting new nurses in the pipeline; 2 or 5 years down the road it could be helpful.”

Nurses will continue to lead the way in solving the staffing crisis and being a voice for change in their industry as a whole through their Union.

Ascension Organizing Pays Off

“Glad to be a part of our SEIU family. When we stick together, and with the full support of our Local, we get the awards and recognition that we deserve!”

Julie Watkins, Ascension Allegan Hospital

With some organizing and a little bit of grit, Ascension workers were able to secure an extra $500 in their pockets. Previously excluded from the award, Union members signed a petition demanding to be treated equally and won a decisive victory.

Last week, all full-time SEIU members who were eligible for the award received a $500 payment while part-time employees received $250. Their victory is a testament to the power of what workers can achieve when they use their voice to unite together for higher wages and better conditions on the job.

Sinai Grace Workers demand Racial justice, Community of Care Campaign Launches

Sinai Grace Hospital workers are standing up and fighting for the changes they need to fix health disparities while demanding racial justice in their community.

Sinai Grace is home to hundreds of hospital workers like Respiratory Therapist Tracie Alexander. She lives close to the hospital and is deeply connected to the community.

“Where I live in Northwest Detroit, we are fighting to reduce health disparities and increase resources to a community that has been neglected and overlooked.”

Her statement underscores an important truth: in order to improve health outcomes, we must address the systemic racism which is the root cause of so many health disparities prevalent in the community.

After several meetings with her Union SEIU, Tracie and other leaders at Sinai Grace created a plan to survey community issues and connect with leaders and organizations that also may be tackling issues around health and racial justice. After the survey results are compiled, they will be presented to the community and elected leaders in the region.

“We all have the right to be heard and involved in decisions that impact our community and our quality of life. Democracy works best when everyone’s voice is heard,” says Alexander.

SKLD Nursing Home Workers in Bloomfield Hills Win Union Voice to Improve Workplace Conditions, Quality of Care

Despite months of union-busting, workers emerge victorious with 25-21 vote

With union voice, workers gain pathway towards safe staffing, fair pay, resources to ensure quality care for patients

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Workers at SKLD nursing home in Bloomfield Hills, including certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses and support staff, voted to join together in a union Thursday, winning a voice on the job to negotiate safer staffing and greater resources to ensure quality care for every resident.

The workers’ victory comes despite consistent interference from SKLD management, including an aggressive campaign to spread misinformation, cut workers’ hours in response to their organizing efforts and holding illegal mandatory anti-union meetings. Workers faced months of union-busting tactics by their employer, including legal maneuvers during the ballot count, that ultimately had no power to change the outcome, in order to delay final certification of the union. Nonetheless, the workers voted 25-21 in favor of joining together in a union. 

“With this victory, we showed what is possible when workers take action together to demand better in our workplaces and in our lives,” said Aulana Harper, certified nursing assistant at SKLD in Bloomfield Hills. “Despite SKLD’s shameful, illegal tactics to interfere with our organizing and silence our voices, we stayed united and won our union! Now, we will stick together and keep building our power to secure a strong first contract that ensures all of us can care for our patients in a safe and healthy workplace. We encourage nursing home workers at other SKLD facilities to join us in this fight to win the changes our residents and our families need.” 

In July, workers at SKLD nursing home in Bloomfield Hills went on strike to demand safer staffing, a voice on the job and greater resources to ensure quality care for every resident and an end to retaliation and intimidation. Just days later, they filed for union recognition. After their successful union election, the workers will become members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan.

“SEIU Healthcare Michigan is thrilled to welcome the courageous CNAs, LPNs, dietary, activities aides and other support staff at SKLD Bloomfield Hills into our union. We look forward to supporting them in their fight to improve pay and workplace conditions to ensure quality care for their patients,” said Dian Palmer, SEIU Healthcare Michigan Trustee. “In the face of intense pressure and intimidation from SKLD management, these workers persevered. Even when their victory was all but certain, their employer refused to acknowledge the vote instead choosing to delay the results. SLKD’s behavior mimicked election officials in our state who tried unsuccessfully to overturn the 2020 election. We are so proud because  our workers have shown others across the industry, the state, and the country that nothing is more powerful than a united voice. We are optimistic that their organizing efforts will inspire other SKLD workers to join us in the fight for a better, brighter future for all.”

Workers Win Union Amid Michigan’s Long-Term Care Crisis

Michigan is the nation’s fastest-aging state, according to AARP. By 2025, there will be more Michiganders over 65 than under 18. Michigan will need to fill 178,000 direct care jobs by 2028 to meet the growing demand for care. Across the United States, ten thousand people turn 65 daily and demand for care is skyrocketing. 

This industry has long been dismissed and devalued due to racism and sexism, leading to low pay and underinvestment in workers. Eight in ten nursing home workers in Michigan state are women and the majority of all nursing home workers come from Black, brown and otherwise marginalized communities. What’s more, nursing homes where residents are majority people of color have experienced devastating, outsized loss of life from Covid-19 as well as chronically poor standards of care

“All across the country, workers are rising up to demand the opportunity to join together in unions to bargain for better jobs,” said Kasandra Kemp, certified nursing assistant at SKLD. ”Here at SKLD Bloomfield Hills, we faced retaliation at every turn. But we refused to be turned around, because we knew we’re fighting for what’s right: better staffing and conditions and the resources we need to give our patients the best care. This fight is about finally respecting and valuing the work primarily done by Black and brown women, which has long been devalued and dismissed due to racism and sexism. Because we stuck together, we’ve made it over the first hurdle to win a better future for ourselves, our families and our patients.”

A recent Health Affairs study shows that nursing homes with union workers have lower COVID-19 resident mortality rates when compared to non-union facilities. According to the study, nursing homes with unions are far safer places for workers, with worker infection rates 6.8% lower than in nursing homes without unions. Importantly, these union benefits spread to nursing home residents, who are 10.8% less likely to die of Covid-19 in nursing homes with unions.

A recent Gallup survey found 71% of Americans approve of labor unions, the highest level of support since 1965. Nurses organizing a union at SKLD Bloomfield Hills join fast-food workersairport workers, other nursing home workerstech and Starbucks workers demanding fair pay, safe and healthy workplaces and a voice on the job from coast to coast. 

These candidates are fighting for frontline workers in Oakland County

If you would like to see a sample of your ballot, you can use this tool made available through the state of Michigan website: https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/Voter/Index. If you have questions about candidates in your district, please let us know. 

SEIU Healthcare Michigan members,

Next week, we encourage our members to go to the polls on August 2nd to elect candidates who support legislation that will improve the working conditions for essential workers across the state.

Whether it’s repealing Right to Work, expanding hero pay, or improving the quality of patient care, our elected leaders can make or break the policies that determine the working conditions in our healthcare facilities. Though SEIU has endorsed many candidates for office in 2022, we wanted to spotlight these three candidates who are in competitive races that could truly make an impact in our state for years to come.

Andy Levin, Congressional District 11

Andy Levin is THE union organizer in congress. Following in the footsteps of his father Sandy Levin, Andy has been a devoted public servant who stood on the strike lines to make sure that workers are respected, protected, and paid.

Andy Levin is the most progressive candidate to represent Oakland County and represents the demands of frontline workers everywhere in congress. We can count on him as a champion to pass pro-worker legislation and work to strengthen unions while in congress. 

These candidates are fighting for frontline workers in Wayne County

If you would like to see a sample of your ballot, you can use this tool made available through the state of Michigan website: https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/Voter/Index. If you have questions about candidates in your district, please let us know. 

SEIU Healthcare Michigan members,

Next week, we encourage our members to go to the polls on August 2nd to elect candidates who support legislation that will improve the working conditions for essential workers across the state.

Whether it’s repealing Right to Work, expanding hero pay, or improving the quality of patient care, our elected leaders can make or break the policies that determine the working conditions in our healthcare facilities. Though SEIU has endorsed many candidates for office in 2022, we wanted to spotlight these three candidates who are in competitive races that could truly make an impact in our state for years to come.

Adam Hollier, Congressional District 13

The new 13th Congressional District includes Detroit, the Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Hamtramck, most of Downriver (including Romulus and Taylor) and the southern part of Dearborn Heights. It’s an important seat that represents the majority of the city of Detroit. 

Though there are many candidates in this primary, we feel it’s important to have someone raised in this district like Adam, whose family has lived in the north end of Detroit since the 1940s. 

During his time in the state senate, Adam has delivered on his promises to represent Detroit. He has brought millions of dollars to his community in state funding and sponsored bills to improve the lives of residents in his district. 

SKLD Bloomfield Hills nursing home workers go on strike and MI service and care workers host Unions for All Summit

SEIU Healthcare Michigan members,

Healthcare workers continue to move towards action and demand respect, protection, and pay in their workplaces. This couldn’t be more evident than workers at SKLD Bloomfield Hills who went on strike Monday and demanded union recognition. 

SKLD Bloomfield Hills nursing home workers go on strike and file to unionize.  Workers at SKLD Bloomfield Hills nursing home, including certified nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses, on Thursday announced they have filed to join together in a union, just days after going on strike to demand safer staffing, a voice on the job and greater resources to ensure quality care for every resident and an end to retaliation and intimidation. (Read the story in the Detroit Free Press)

  • The workers’ formal filing declaring their intent to join together in a union comes days after workers held a 24-hour unfair labor practice strike Monday, during which the striking workers spoke out against the increase in retaliation and union-busting tactics they’ve faced from management since announcing their plan to strike. (See all photos from the strike line)

SEIU service and care workers host Unions for All Summit: On July 11th, service and care workers came together for the Unions For All Summit to demand EVERY job be a good union job. We know that no matter where we work or what we look like, all working people deserve fair pay, dignity, and respect. The summit featured Governor Gretchen Whitmer and speakers from Local one, the Fight for 15, and a striking worker from SKLD Bloomfield Hills. We must vote for progressive candidates who support workers up and  down the ballot and that begins with the election primary this August 2nd. (See all photos from the Summit)

Congrats to SEIU Healthcare Michigan members who voted to approve new contract agreements and who won grievance victories:

  • Regency at Chene and Qualicare ratified their contracts. Workers won raises across the board. 
  • Courtney Manor service unit ratified their contract. Workers won raises across the board, increases in life insurance, and longevity bonuses.
  • Wellspring Lutheran Livonia Woods LPNs reached a tentative agreement. LPNs will be voting this Friday on the contract. 
  • Grievance Settlement with Mercy Health. SEIU won a $12000 grievance settlement from Mercy Health representing 2 members. 
  • We continue to negotiate contracts at DMC, Crothall, McLaren, and several nursing homes. 


SEIU hosts DMC Steward Training. HCMI hosted a training for DMC stewards at the Durfee center in Detroit this week. Stewards focused on their leadership, organizing, and grievance skills as they fight for quality care and better working conditions. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Do you have an unsung hero in your workplace? Tell us about it! We would like to start featuring SEIU members regularly in our newsletter. Email kevin.lignell@seiuhealthcaremi.org and tell us why they deserve to be highlighted as an unsung hero. 

If you have any questions, please email us at info@seiuhealthcaremi.org or call Latoyia Comb at 313-985-1246.

With the strength of our members, we continue to grow and thrive. 

In Unity,

Dian Palmer, Trustee