SEIU Local 199 and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota have entered into a formal "servicing agreement" where we will be partnering with their local union in Minnesota to build a stronger Union for SEIU Members in Iowa, so what exactly does this mean?
Here are some answers to questions you may have:
Servicing Agreement FAQs
What is a Servicing Agreement?
It is an agreement signed between two Local Unions in which one Local/Union hires the other Local/Union to perform specific services on the first Local Union's behalf. The services may include: taking on the responsibility of member representation, collective bargaining, labor-management issues, as well as helping to build member strength in our units. SEIU Local 199 and our own membership would continue to be guided by our own Constitution and Bylaws, Officers, and Executive Board. Local 199 would continue to hold ultimate responsibility in fulfilling our constitutional and legal obligations to members.
Is there a difference between a Servicing Agreement and a Transfer Agreement?
Under a servicing agreement, the Local/Union receiving the services remains the sole, certified, and exclusive collective bargaining representative, but has contracted with another Local/Union to carry out and support the work.
A transfer agreement results in the permanent transfer or merger of members and units from one Local/Union to another Local/Union. The agreement covers how the receiving Local/Union will fully incorporate their new members into their structure, become their sole, certified, and exclusive collective bargaining representative and address other key issues.
What services will Healthcare Minnesota (HCMN) be providing?
Under the agreement, HCMN will act as the servicing agent for workers in the University of Iowa Healthcare (UIHC) and Finley Units. Its work includes:
- Administering collective bargaining agreements covering workers in these units
- Representing the Units at grievances and arbitrations, labor management meetings, and any similar bargaining matters
- Work on a united plan with HCMN member leaders to build a plan that recruits, engages, and deepens our work with current and future member leaders in Iowa
- Create a path that builds power for members within our bargaining units, communities, and state
Although not directly in the agreement, there is great mutual interest to figure out ways to streamline our Local's work with HCMN and create better efficiencies in back-office operations
What has happened to other SEIU Local 199 units?
It is important to us that our members are matched with other SEIU Locals or Unions that share our values and understand the work we do.
For the Education Units, SEIU Local 199 worked with the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) to sign a Servicing Agreement and took the necessary steps to achieve full recognition by PERB. This transition was recently completed and our previous school members are now members of ISEA. All except two of our original education units are now members of ISEA.
UFCW Local 431 is the Servicing Agent for our Nursing Home and Head Start units. They have not yet received full recognition by their employers. We continue to monitor their progress.
With our new Local 199 Executive Board and Leadership in place, we have turned our attention to addressing the immediate and long-term needs of our Healthcare Units. In discussing our future options, both SEIU Local 199 and HCMN are committed to building greater strength in our Healthcare units and rebuilding our membership and activist base. The agreement with HCMN takes effect on October 1, 2021.
Who do we call?
If you work at UIHC or Finley Hospital, you will continue to contact SEIU Local 199 office staff for any issues, questions, or concerns you may have. Hannah Bott is your SEIU Local 199 Union representative. Hannah can be reached by calling the SEIU Local 199 offices at 319-341-0112 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you work at one of the SEIU Local 199 Nursing Homes or Head Start, you should contact Colleen Huber at UFCW Local 431. She can be reached at email@example.com. Should you have any difficulty reaching her, please contact Katie Biechler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does HCMN know Iowa laws?
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota will continue to our relationship with SEIU Local 199's existing legal counsel in Iowa as the primary legal representative for the workers in Iowa. In addition to this support, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota has a retainer agreement with Cummins and Cummins, the premier Union-side law firm, based in Minneapolis. The law firm has clients in Iowa and is familiar with national and Iowa based laws.
Will our dues change under a servicing agreement?
No, unless there is a formal transfer agreement and we sign membership cards under our new Local, we will continue to have our dues deducted by our Employers and sent to SEIU Local 199.
Does anything change in our collective bargaining agreements?
No, our collective bargaining agreements remain in effect. All terms, conditions, and protections remain. This is simply our Local's right to reorganize in order to get the day-to-day work done. As partners, we are equally committed to quality representation and servicing responsibilities and are most encouraged by HCMN's capacity to support member training.
What happens to our officers and our executive board? Our worksite leaders?
We will continue to follow our Local's Constitution and Bylaws. Thanks to your support, we recently adopted an updated version to have the necessary guidelines that reflect our Local's recent changes.
How will they get to know us?
Jamie Gulley, Healthcare Minnesota's (HCMN) President, has been in ongoing communication with our Officers and Local Executive Board. He is anxious and excited to take this on and learn about us and share their capacity and skills in key areas. It is a Local with Healthcare in its name and their research, legal, organizing, and political programs reflect what it takes to build forward.
Our immediate steps are that we just participated in SEIU Healthcare Minnesota's Annual Leadership Assembly and Convention.
Our plan is to bring our staff together so that we can make sure the transition goes smoothly for everyone, but especially that members' interests remain protected and advanced.
Are we going to be members of HCMN? When will that happen?
We wanted to first address immediate servicing needs. We are committed to sharing with you what the plan is and making sure you understand the changes ahead. By providing direct services to SEIU Local 199, HCMN will both learn from and contribute to our own strength.
As a Local, we have been through a lot. We have battled anti-worker forces who have struck many of our rights. Over the past year, the pandemic has taken a real and devastating toll in our workplaces, on us as individuals, and in our communities. But we remain passionate about what we do and why we do it. The Union is more important than ever. Our strength as a Local will only be achieved if we are able to build our density and build our membership numbers. Unity is Power. We are energized by our discussions so far and look forward to sharing more with you about the vision, strategic capacity, and operations that HCMN is willing to offer.
What happens to SEIU Local 199?
We will remain a Local until all remaining Units are fully transferred to their new Locals and those Locals have been recognized by our employers. During this process, we will monitor their work under the servicing agreements, and follow all legal guidelines and requirements to ensure the rights of our members are protected.
We will partner with the SEIU International Union where necessary, but will remain a self-governing Local until all issues are fulfilled under any Transfer Agreement.