December 2007

Member Reporter – Joyce Hayashi SuperDivisional Meeting 2

New Union Backed Housing Project Unveiled at L.A. Super Divisional Meeting

by: Joyce Hayashi

More than 1,500 ULTCW members and their families from Los Angeles and surrounding areas gathered on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Rowley Park in Gardena for a fun and informative Super Divisional Meeting.

ULTCW President Tyrone Freeman kicked off the program with news that the union is working on plans for the renovation of the Jordan Downs Housing Project in Los Angeles. He asked Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson, who were all present, to join the union in an innovative partnership.

Freeman said, “We have the money to build something significant for the residents of South Central Los Angles for the first time in over 50 years and to provide decent affordable housing for the growing number of working families facing homelessness.”

Union members enjoyed reggae, gospel and Mariachi music, a free lunch and raffles as they celebrated our growing strength and solidarity.

The children’s pavilion featured arts activities, free toys and kid-friendly lunches. The union’s “California Dream for Kids” questionnaire provided insights into the dreams of our youth. Here’s a sampling:

Pablo, 15, said he wanted “to have papers to go visit my family in Mexico.”

Xiomara, 12, said her dream was “for my dad to have a new kidney to help my mom take care of him,” and Bryan, 9, said, “I will love to live in a big house.” He also said he knows he can get to his dream if he, “grows big and get a good job.”

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Member Reporter – Ronald Alsup

Quotes from the Anti-War Rally
by: Roland Alsup

What people were saying at
the rally:

Police officers were saying that their California Dream is a crime free San
Francisco. After all, their duty is to serve and protect all people here on the
home front. They are also looking forward to seeing Universal Healthcare for
them and their families.
Long-Term Care Worker Virginia Wilson say that the money spent in Iraq
could be used for healthcare and education for our children here in America.
They feel that it is time to bring our troops home from Iraq and time for Iraq
to take ownership of its nation. Our American troops have helped them win their
major battle already.

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Los Angeles County Homecare Workers

ULTCW is proud to represent Los Angeles County
homecare workers, who provide quality care for seniors and those with
disabilities.

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Member Reporter Elaine Cabrera


My Life as a Homecare Worker
By: Elaine Cabrera

My name is Elaine Cabrera and I proudly take care of my consumer,Sara M.
Sissine, who is 93 years old. Over the years, Sara has developed a heart
condition, breathing problems and high blood pressure. She became my client thru
the In-Home Supportive Services Program over four-and-a-half years ago. Since
then, she and I have become very close friends. Sara is extremely kind, loving
and very appreciative of all the work that I do for her.

There is never
a dull day with Sara. She is so upbeat. On a typical day, when I complete my
daily chores, she will ask that I sit with her and watch the Food Channel to get
cooking ideas. Sara enjoys watching the channel all day. We watch it together to
develop ideas on projects that we work on. We go through magazines to get
recipes. This past Halloween, we read the Ladies Journal together and got ideas
on how to make pumpkin costumes for children. Sara and I have so much in common,
it’s amazing. She is a seamstress and I enjoy knitting in my spare time. I
knitted a blanket for Sara last Christmas. She covers herself with it when she
sits in the living room on her favorite chair to watch the Food Channel. She
also enjoys when I put make up on her and try new hairstyles. Oh, and most
importantly, the lady can not go out the door without her
earrings.

I’ve been a homecare worker on and off since 1987. I took care of my mother
at one point and other clients that I was referred to thru the IHSS Program.
With Sara, I perform housekeeping duties, prepare her meals, do her laundry,
grocery shop and run errands. I also take care of Sara’s personal needs – I
assist her by helping her bathe, dress and groom. I also provide the
transportation to her medical appointments.
Providing Homecare Support is such a rewarding experience. At times it can
drain you but I really enjoy the work and most importantly, the company. The
general public doesn’t realize the hard work and dedication we provide until
they find themselves in the situation through either a parent, sibling or child.
You then appreciate not only what the program entails, but you also appreciate
your loved one more. I love Sara very much and she knows it.

I am sure
that the feeling is mutual.

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Health Trust – Vision Plan

Vision Plan
   No annual maximum

The following services are covered in-full every 24 months for In-Network providers:

Comprehensive vision exam Ophtamologist

Comprehensive vision exam Optometrist
            –  Single vision lenses
            –  Bifocals
            –  Trifocals
            –  Lenticular

Contact lenses for medical necessity

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Member Reporter – Faye Herald Anti War Rally

End the War Now Bring the Troops Home
National Day of Action

by:  Faye Herald

On Saturday, October 27, 2007
I attended an Anti-War rally organized by the Labor Contingent Assembly. 

We gathered at the Federal building located at 450 Golden Gate Ave. in San
Francisco, CA.
In attendance were members from several organizations, including Veterans
For Peace. This organization
became active following the Vietnam War. I spoke with Don, one of the
group’s members who was a
veteran of World War II. Don informed me that his group consists of
veterans who, after being in combat, have changed their views on war. They no
longer feel that killing innocent people is a viable solution to this country’s
problems. As a result, they now fight for peace.
The Berkeley College Republicans did not share that opinion. They were out
there in support of Israel, the war in Iraq and the decisions made by the
President concerning the war effort. Ross Lingenfelder says that his
organization gains support by inviting speakers to keep them informed. They also
have debates on the issues surrounding the war.
Bill Morgan is a 3rd grade teacher and a member of the Bay Area Labor
Coalition. He feels that taking money from so many other much needed programs to
support killing is wrong. There are so many things in this country that are a
higher priority such as housing and education, he says.
Pat Sanchez, the Secretary-Treasurer of OPEIU has a grandson who will be
deployed to a war zone in
November for the second time. He is in the Navy she and her  fellow union
members are against the war.
They support efforts that will bring our troops home.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee was also in attendance. I asked her for
suggestions on what unions could do to help put an end to this war.
Her response was the following:
1) Mobilize our membership
2) Provide regular messages to legislators and the media
3) Voice our opposition to this war
4) Reveal the actual cost of war to our members as well as the general
public.
She also said that there were other issues of higher priority such as:
healthcare, housing costs and mortgage rates.
Among the other speakers were various talk show hosts, bishops and
commissioners.
The rally was very well organized and informative. I received so much
information from people that are against the war and from people that support
the war.
I came away from it all with this thought: On the one hand, we have to
protect our country and its interests, but at what cost?
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Member Reporter – Rodica Mocanu


My Profile of Maria Hernandez
by: Rodica Mocanu

Maria is a
former homecare worker. I say “former” because her consumers passed away. She’s
a member of SEIU, and has been since 2002. Prior to that, she worked in a
medical supply factory.  


Maria lives in Ontario and is on
SSI. She’s now waiting for a new consumer to take care of. She explained to me
that she enjoys working with people and taking care of those who can’t take care
of themselves. I found Maria to be a strong. enthusiastic person, and it was a
pleasure to talk to her.

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Health Trust_ Benefits

Benefits

Plan pays 90%, up to 50,000, for all services annually PLUS $3,000/year for prescriptions

Comprehensive, basic healthcare coverage with the flexibility to meet the particular
          healthcare needs of long-term care workers

No deductible for doctor’s visits and same-day services in the doctor’s office

No deductible for wellness benefits

$10 co-pay: doctor’s vist; urgent care; outpatient surgery; physical, occupational,
          respiratory, chiropractic, rehabilitation therapy; accupuncture/accupressure treatment;
          wellness benefits

 Tier-three pharmacy benefit: $10/$25/30%, extensive pharmacy network, including
         most retail chains and mail-order

Large provider network that allows access to all network primary care physicians,
         specialists and hospitals PLUS provides quality care for less money

No gate-keeper to physicians; patients may self-refer to specialists

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Member Reporter – Joyce Hayashi Michael Moore

Michael Moore speaks out for
Healthcare Reform
by: Joyce Hayashi
Filmmaker Michael Moore, whose new movie SiCKO
premieres citywide this weekend, joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and local
labor leaders on the steps of Los Angeles’ City Hall Tuesday.
The rally was sponsored by It’s OUR
Healthcare!
? a coalition of organizations including SEIU, the Los Angeles
and California Labor Federations and ACORN. About 50 purple-clad ULTCW staff and
members gathered to show their support. The Los Angeles stop was the second of a
six-city “Road to Reform” tour making its way to Sacramento at the end of the
week to meet with state legislators as they finalize key elements of a
healthcare reform package in the next three weeks.
It’s OUR Healthcare! calls for reform
to control healthcare costs and regulate the insurance industry. It wants to
ensure affordable health insurance coverage for all Californians with shared
contributions by government, employers and employees.
Moore spoke about the declining number of
workers in unions. His uncle was in the first sit down strike that founded the
UAW plant in 1936, he said, in that generation health insurance was a right, not
a privilege.
Of the top 25 industrialized countries, the
United States ranks 24th when it comes to health care. In other words, Moore
said, 24 countries believe that if you get sick, “you have the right to see a
doctor” and do not have to worry about paying for it. Whereas, Americans have an
attitude that says we are all alone to fight the family for any crumbs left at
the dinner table, he said.
“Other countries believe that they either sink
or swim together, and if someone falls out of the boat, we help them get back
in,” Moore said. “They know as a society that if too many people fall out of the
boat the society itself will collapse and the boat will sink.”
Moore’s film shares the horror stories of
dozens of Americans abused by the health insurance industry. It is time for
change, Moore said. Not only do nearly 50 million Americans not have health
coverage, but many find that they cannot get care for a serious illness. It
makes no sense when a doctor has to get permission to treat a patient from a
“man sitting in a cubicle 500 miles away,” Moore said.
On Monday evening Moore set up an outdoor
theatre in Skid Row for a special screening of SiCKO, and invited the homeless
nearby to watch. Moore said the St. Julian Street-location couldn’t be more
fitting, particularly in light of the recent patient dumping that has occurred
after some Los Angeles hospitals have refused to treat and admit homeless people
without insurance. SiCKO shows one incident when Kaiser Permante hospital
employees dropped a sick homeless man on a curb because he couldn’t pay. Moore
praised the Los Angeles city attorney for pursuing criminal charges against the
hospital.
Moore called it a disgrace that billion-dollar
hospital corporations treat people with so little regard. He asked Americans to
look inside themselves and remember that there were times when we really did
care for one another. His grandfather, he said, was a country doctor who was
paid in eggs, milk and chickens. He became a doctor because he wanted to help
patients, Moore said, not to make money.
Moore also pointed out that government is not
bad as people are often led to believe. The government put a man on the moon in
eight years, he said.
“It’s not the government that’s bad, it’s the
people that we sometimes elect who don’t know how to run the government,” he
said.
Moore closed reminding Americans that we will
be judged today by how we treat the least among us. And when asked what each
person who sees the movie should do, Moore responded, “go for a 30-minute walk
and go home and eat some fruits and vegetables.” That’s one way we can fight
back against the insurance companies, he said, by taking care of ourselves. “And
I’m taking my own advice.”

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Member Reporter – Joyce Hayashi Asian Pacific Leadership Training

Asian and Pacific Islander Union Members Attend
L.A. Leadership Training

by: Joyce Hayashi

Ethnic diversity found common ground in shared issues at the Asian Pacific American Union Leadership School co-sponsored by the UCLA Labor Center and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) on October 5-7.

Sixty Asian Pacific Islander (API) union leaders with roots in India, Bangladesh, Guam, Samoa, The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan gathered at the Center’s downtown offices to examine the intersection between immigration and labor.

Longshoreman Nosfosala “Junior” Pomale said the workshop on the Immigration Time Line was an eye opener and added, “I can see that the 1964 Civil Rights Act unlocked the doors for us Samoans and Asians.”

Members quickly identified member apathy and worker invisibility as obstacles in forging an influential API voice.

Language was also seen as a huge problem. Mei Lao Lee from AFSCME New York pointed out that the hurdles to API solidarity were multiplied by “at least 70 languages and dialects among Asian and Pacific Islanders.”

At the conclusion of the three day class, SEIU Local 6434’s Mei Wong said she felt that using tools from the “Rap Building” and ”Power Analysis to Move an Agenda” workshops could breakthrough the apathy and isolation handcuffing many API workers.

APALA National Deputy Director Amado Uno acknowledged that cultural and language differences were daunting, but not insurmountable. In his travels across the United States for APALA, Uno has listened to workers’ personal stories from numerous ethnic groups. He said, “Our stories are powerful and reveal we have more in common than we know.”

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