Why a Union Contract?

Life is better in a union.
The law doesn’t require an employer to provide any health plan, paid time off, paid vacation, or even a good reason to fire or discipline an employee. The law does not recognize seniority or provide protection for employees based on years of service and expertise. Our union contract does!
Because we stand together, we have the power to negotiate strong wages and benefits. But to protect and continue improving them, each member needs to be active and involved.

What’s my role as an SEIU-UHW member?

Members are what make SEIU-UHW strong and effective. In our union, there is an expectation that members will participate in union activities and play a primary role in standing up for a better future. All members are encouraged to become leaders in our union, and take advantage of available trainings to take on meaningful leadership roles.

What is the union structure?

Members are the foundation of our union, and SEIU-UHW members are active and involved in building our future. The leadership structure of our union reflects members’ commitment to leadership and involvement.Our leadership structure includes a President and Vice-President, an Executive Committee, Executive Board and a set of Advisors:

Executive Committee:
There are eight seats on the executive committee (rank & file member and staff UHW member-eligible) that are elected union-wide. Additional seats on the executive committee are based on a ratio of one seat for every 5,000 members, by division and geography, and only rank-and-file members are eligible. Members from each division elect members to these seats.

Executive Board: These seats are based on a ratio of one seat for every 500 members—by division and by geography—only rank-and-file members eligible; and two retired member seats elected by division retirees. Members elect members from their constituency.

Advisors to the Executive Board: Two financial officers and two ethics officers, elected by each division.

What is a steward? What is a union representative?

SEIU-UHW members fill a variety of leadership positions. Each is designed to support the members in different ways. A steward is an SEIU-UHW member who represents members day-to-day with on the job issues and provides information and opportunities for members to be involved in the union. Each worksite has multiple stewards who were elected by their co-workers to represent them. Your SEIU-UHW steward or area leader is your first stop for questions or concerns at your worksite.

An SEIU-UHW representative is a staff person working full-time with members at specific facilities to help solve problems and plan for the future. They often help lead negotiations for new contracts, or help train stewards in solving everyday work issues.

What about union dues?

It is members’ dues that provide the resources needed to win better contracts, provide excellent representation, and negotiate contracts with better wages, benefits and working conditions. Our dues also pay to help build our strength in the healthcare industry by organizing new workers to raise standards everywhere, defend safe staffing and workloads, and provide legal advice and protection for members.

Together in SEIU-UHW, members are raising standards for healthcare workers and those we care for statewide.

Union dues levels are set by the membership. Only a secret-ballot vote by the membership can change the dues union-wide.

For the exact amount you can expect to pay in union dues, talk to your SEIU-UHW steward or representative.

What is a union contract?

A contract is a legally binding agreement that you and your co-workers negotiate with your employer. Our union contracts spell out all agreements between workers and our employer, including wages and benefits such as health insurance, holidays, sick leave, vacation, and personal time, and covers important issues like scheduling, hours, and working conditions. Contracts also provide healthcare workers with a strong voice on the job to advocate for patients and clients, ensure proper staffing levels, and resolve problems at work.

For a copy of your contract, contact an SEIU-UHW steward or representative.

How is a contract negotiated?

All members have a say in deciding the priorities for contract negotiations with their employer through meetings, discussions, and surveys. Members then elect a group of co-workers to serve on a bargaining team.

The bargaining team puts together contract proposals based on member priorities and negotiates with the employer, with the help of an experienced union representative. Once the team and employer have agreed to a series of “tentative agreements,” members vote to accept or reject them.

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