Membership Vote – July 26!

The Leadership Assembly ratified the proposed plan for 2014, and created a subcommittee to propose a specific increase in our revenue. This subcommittee presented its proposal back to the stewards on June 14th.The full membership  vote over this proposal to make our union stronger by increasing our revenue, will be July 26th.  Details on the proposal were mailed to all members, and you can get more information by  talking to your steward, or come to the union hall at 706 1st Street N, Minneapolis.

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Proposals for 2014 Leadership Assembly


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Affordable Care Act and Open Enrollment

Affordable Care Act and Open Enrollment

Our annual open enrollment period is here and runs now through October 31, 2013. This is the time when all eligible full time employees can enroll or make changes to their healthcare plan. This year, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there are understandably a lot more questions and confusion than in previous years. We’d like to help make this process as easy as possible, so here’s some information you need to know.

Remember, due to healthcare reform, all adults are required to have health insurance coverage by 01/01/14!

For most Local 26 members, the easiest to obtain and most affordable coverage available will be the union healthcare plan. If you are already enrolled, and don’t need to make any changes or add any dependents to your plan, you do not need to complete a new enrollment form. You coverage will simply continue into the next year with the new benefit improvements included.

Benefit Improvements:

·         Elimination of the annual cap on medical insurance: The current $100,000 calendar year benefit maximum is replaced with an “unlimited” benefit maximum. The rest of the medical insurance plan (through Cigna) will remain the same.

·         Elimination of the annual cap on prescription drugs: The current $5,000 calendar year benefit maximum is replaced with an “unlimited” benefit maximum. The rest of the prescription drug benefit (through Caremark/CVS) will remain the same.

·         Improved Dental: The current plan pays for services on a “fixed schedule” basis, often leaving us with big bills. The new plan (through Delta Dental) will pay for services on a “percentage” basis, which means less out of pocket costs for you.

·         Vision coverage included: The current plan offers no vision coverage, but starting in 2014 the new benefit for vision care (through Cigna Vision) will include a yearly exam and new glasses or contact lenses once a year.

If you are not currently enrolled, all eligible full time employees should have received an enrollment packet by 10/01/13. If you have not received an enrollment packet, please call the union hall at 855-265-6225.  Your enrollment form must be completed and returned to your company’s human resources department no later than 10/31/13.

Part-time workers, spouses, and others not covered on the union plan: Our union healthcare plan will not offer coverage for part-time workers or spouses, so it is important for you to learn about coverage options available through the “healthcare exchange” which may have subsidies available to help afford the necessary coverage. These and other options will be discussed at our upcoming healthcare fair.

Union Healthcare Fair:If you have any questions about the healthcare benefits through our union, or if you want to sign up for new state programs which may cover part-time workers and spouses who are not covered by our union healthcare plan, come to our Local 26 Healthcare Fair. Saturday October 19: 10am-6pm, Sunday October 20: 12pm-3pm, and Monday October 21: 6am-6pm. The location will be our Local 26 Union Hall located at 706 1st St N, Minneapolis, MN. Please contact Barbara Zeiss 202-730-7548 or or the Local 26 hall at 855-265-6225 if you have any questions about your health care benefits.


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Workers Vote to Ratify New Contracts, Celebrate A Win for Working Families

Minneapolis, MN – After two months without a contract, hundreds of hours of negotiations, and a one-day strike, today SEIU Local 26 janitors and security officers voted to approve new contracts which will help strengthen the middle class in the Twin Cities.

“This is a major victory for working families,” said Margarita Del Angel Lopez, a janitor who works at the IDS Center in Minneapolis. “We work hard to support our families, we fought hard against cuts that would have destroyed thousands of jobs. This shows that when we stand together, we can move forward together. These are the best contracts in the history of the local service sector industry.”

“Suburban security officers have been working for years without a raise,” said Fred Anthony II, a security officer from St Paul. “Some of them haven’t had a raise in up to eight or 10 years. This is the first time they have guaranteed contracts, guaranteed health care, guaranteed job security. It helps bring them out of poverty.”

More than 6,000 janitors and security officers won $1.20 raises over three years, which will pump $48 million into local communities. They also protected stable, full-time positions for thousands of workers. In addition, janitors and security officers secured better employer-based healthcare coverage, which will enable workers to access affordable coverage, rather than be forced to rely on public programs paid for by taxpayers.
This marks the first contract for 1,000 suburban security officers who formed their union with SEIU Local 26 in January 2011 – in addition to getting raises for the first time in years, they gained employer-based healthcare coverage for the first time ever.

“So often, we see the rich get richer, while the rest of us continue falling behind,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26. “Seeing working people win is a very important thing. It’s a beautiful thing. And so congratulations to all of our members who worked hard for this win. Together, we are working toward a better future for all of Minnesota, where people who work for a living are able to make a living. We showed that the labor movement is alive and well in Minnesota.”

SEIU Local 26 janitors reached a tentative agreement last (more…)

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After 1 day strike, Security Companies agree to same standards that Janitors won!

American settled early Wednesday morning, G4S, Whelan, Securitas, Viking and Allied Barton settled Thursday.

Our Tentative Agreement on a 3 year contract includes:

-A first contract for 1000 officers in the suburbs that have fought for more than 8 years for a union. Now all of the language protections enjoyed by officers downtown, will also be shared by suburban officers.

- Raises of $1.20 over 3 years:
Downtown — Suburbs
3/1/13 $0.50— $0.30
3/1/14 $0.35— $0.30
3/1/15 $0.35— $0.30
8/1/15 $0.00— $0.30

- Protecting full time jobs through new limits on subcontracting
- Vacation Roll over of up to one week
- Disability pay increased to 49% of income, for up to 12 weeks
- Additional sick day 2 after 3 years, and 3 after 5 year
- Improved Health insurance for individuals for $35 per month, and $240 for children, on our union plan. We eliminated the annual inpatient caps and the pharmacy caps. The suburbs currently have a mix of no health insurance or expensive employer plans, and now those officers will also get the better union plan at $35/mo by the end of the contract.
- Better protection from arbitrary “client requests”
- Stronger, faster grievance procedure, including Written warnings out of your file after 1 year.

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Security Officers Win Tentative Agreement on a Great New Contract

On Heels of 1-Day Strike, Twin Cities Security Officers Reach Tentative Agreement to Strengthen Middle Class

With their first union contract, suburban security officers grow Local 26 by 1,000 members

Minneapolis, MN – Twin Cities security officers are celebrating today after reaching a tentative agreement with all of their employers that strengthens the middle class through stable, full-time jobs. The major victory came late Thursday, when the remaining six subcontractors finally came to a tentative agreement with 2,000 security officers.

“We are exhausted, but elated,” said Elena Krelberg, Local 26 security officer. “We won because we all stood together. Standing shoulder to shoulder with our community, security officers and janitors together won the best contracts in the history of the local service sector industry.”

SEIU Local 26 security officers spent Wednesday on the streets in a one-day strike; employers came back to the bargaining table Thursday morning. After another marathon bargaining session, security officers were able to win a contract with many of the same standards won by 4,000 SEIU Local 26 janitors last weekend. This agreement marks the first contract for 1,000 suburban security officers who formed their union with SEIU Local 26 in January 2011 and have been working to settle a contract ever since, growing the labor movement in Minnesota. The tentative agreement with security officers includes hard-fought gains in:

  • Full-time work: Security officers protected hundreds of full-time jobs that would have been converted to part-time, resulting in lower wages and loss of health care and other benefits. Instead, they secured stable, full-time positions, strengthening job security.
  • Wages: Security officers agreed to wage increases of $1.20 over three years. The wage increase helps bring security officers out of poverty and pumps an additional $18 million a year into the local community.
  • Healthcare: Major gains were made in healthcare coverage for security officers. Suburban security officers will be offered employer-based healthcare coverage for the first time ever. All security officers secured better health care coverage, which will enable workers to access affordable coverage, rather than be forced to rely on public programs paid for by taxpayers.
  • Sick days: Security officers won one additional day of sick time, allowing them to stay at home when ill.
  • Professionalizing the Industry: With the creation of the “Senior Officer” job classification, security officers made gains in their efforts to professionalize an industry that keeps so many people and so much property safe.

The tentative agreement is being hailed as tangible evidence of how union membership and participation can help workers improve their lives. At a time of widespread wage and benefit stagnation, security officers in the Twin Cities have been able to keep more of the profits they provide to some of Minnesota’s wealthiest corporations. In 2002, security officers were paid as little as $7.00 an hour with few, if any, benefits. By negotiating several union contracts—each one better than the last—with their employers over the years, security officers have created a path to work themselves into the middle class.

Security officers will join janitors Saturday when both groups will meet to ratify their tentative agreements.

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Twin Cities Security Officers Call One-Day Strike Today to Protect the Middle Class

Minneapolis, MN — Just after 4:00 a.m., SEIU Local 26 security officers reached a tentative agreement with one of the subcontractors, American Security, after 14 hours of emergency bargaining through the night. American Security is the market leader in the Twin Cities and also based in St. Paul. Due to the tentative agreement, security officers will not be striking against American Security. The remaining six employers would not agree to the tentative deal, however.

Security officers are today launching a one-day strike against the remaining (more…)

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“They make more money by foreclosing on you than by accepting your payments”

A couple of years back Minnesota security officer John Vinje and his wife bought a little home in Bloomington, Minnesota.

“For whatever reason, she fell in love with this itty bitty house in Bloomington,” John says.

Bloomington is a nice town, a place where lots of folks would want to live. It offers urban living, lots of parks, and prosperity—thanks to a thriving retail and hospitality sector. There’s also a memorial to local hero Tom Burnett, a Bloomington native, who was among the 44 people killed on United Airlines Flight 93 during the September 11 terrorist attacks. John, a veteran of the United States Air Force, appreciates that.

They bought the house and moved in. John had his job. His wife had hers. They met their responsibilities, working hard and making house payments to USBank, which is headquartered in Minnesota. They were comfortable and well established.

Or so they thought.

“Due to a change in my wife’s work duties, she lost $2,000 a month in income,” John says.

Soon they were unable to make payments. They tried to work things out with USBank. “We tried to get a loan modification like you’re supposed to. USBank would say, ‘Yes, we’ll work with you.’ But they kept saying they never got our paperwork or that they lost it. We must have sent the stuff in like eight times. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, they were pursuing foreclosure.”

John and his wife lost their home to USBank—the nation’s fifth-largest commercial bank, which raked in $19.1 billion in revenue in 2011.

Why did they lose their home to USBank? “They can make more by foreclosing on you than by accepting your payments,” says John.

John and his wife are trying to get back on their feet. John is one of 6,000 Twin Cites janitors and security officers who are negotiating with their employers for the good jobs that our community needs to strengthen our economy and bolster a rising, thriving middle class.

Knowing that rebuilding the middle class is a task for all of us, John and his fellow security officers are joining together with members of community groups, faith-based groups, environmental groups, student groups, and labor groups under the banner of “Unlock Our Future” to open the doors of prosperity to all Minnesotans.

“If they keep this up, pretty soon there isn’t going to be a middle class,” says John. “We’re going to have ghost towns like during the Depression.”

But John will be taking to the streets with fellow Minnesotans, proposing an alternative version of the future. “Communities will benefit from the creation of good jobs because there wouldn’t be all these vacant, boarded-up homes. People will be able to spend more in the local community and we’ll be able to invest in infrastructure.”

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I can’t just leave my wife out in the cold for healthcare, she gave birth to my sons.

St. Paul security officer Gene Worley works hard. “Right now,” Gene says, “I can’t take a night off because of staffing.”

A 13-year veteran in the security industry, Gene works at a building containing some very high-profile facilities. “There’s the Department of Motor Vehicles, Homeland Security, State Patrol, and the Attorney General’s office,” Gene says. “It’s a heavy-duty site.”

The 50-year old remembers a time in America when if you worked hard for a living, (more…)

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How Wells Fargo is Holding One Minnesota Family Back.

Minnesota security officer James Matias has worked at the same job for seven years.

It’s a good thing because James has a lot of responsibilities. He and his wife have been blessed with six children.“Five of them are still at home,” James says. “They’re great kids. My daughter plays basketball. My son plays football. And my other son is a dancer in a conservatory.”

Study after study shows that when children are involved in extra-curricular activities, they learn how to succeed—not just in sports or the arts, but in life. James will do whatever it takes to give his children a chance to succeed.

He and his wife have tried to save. “It’s been our struggle just to put five bucks away here and there,” James says. “But the ends just don’t meet so we end up using the money we save up.”

So James has been forced to resort to direct deposit advances at Wells Fargo—which has $1.4 trillion in assets.    (more…)

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