On lobby day, Service Employees find bipartisan support

Rep. Denny McNamara offers support for SEIU home care workers like Rosemary Van Vickle (red coat), who are pushing lawmakers to OK their tentative contract agreement with the state.

Rep. Denny McNamara and other legislators pledge support for SEIU home care workers like Rosemary Van Vickle (red coat), who want lawmakers to OK their tentative contract agreement with the state.

 

A bipartisan group of Minnesota legislators lined up on the Capitol steps today to show support for a bill to ratify and fully fund home care workers’ first contract with the state.

Winning legislative approval for the contract, ratified by members of the newly organized unit in voting last month, is one of a handful of priorities members of the Service Employees International Union talked with their lawmakers about today during the union’s annual lobbying push.

Union members at a (mercifully) brief outdoor rally laid out other top priorities, including equitable funding for the state’s public schools and legislation enabling all Minnesotans to obtain driver’s licenses, regardless of immigration status.

SEIU Local 26 member James Matias emceed the rally on the Capitol steps.

SEIU Local 26 member James Matias emceed the rally on the Capitol steps.

Rep. Denny McNamara, a Republican from Hastings, said progress on the license issue would be a “small step” in fixing the nation’s broken immigration system. He also pledged to carry a bill in the House to ratify the pending contract for home care workers.

“The contract offers some really great things going forward, and I’m really proud to be a part of it,” McNamara said.

Indeed, the contract would raise the wage floor for 27,000 home care workers statewide to $11 per hour. It would fund training opportunities, protect workers against lost wages and provide full-time workers with five days of paid time off annually.

“These important gains won’t happen until the Legislature funds and ratifies our contract,” Crosby home care worker Rosemary Van Vickle said. “We need lawmakers to do the right thing.”

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