May 2008

Community Service Honored

AFL-CIODear Brothers and Sisters,

I attended the L.A. County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Trade Tech College Community Service Award Luncheon on Saturday, May 17th at the IBEW/NECA training center in the City of Commerce.  I was there to help honor distinguished award recipients and this year’s class of graduating students who have completed the 10-week community services course.

The master of Ceremonies, Steve Neal, Director AFL-CIO Community Services stated, “This is my proudest day to be present in the same room with all the distinguished dignitaries to honor this year’s graduation class.

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Let it Begin With Me

Community CoffeeDear Brothers and Sisters,

I attended the Division 5 Pasadena Community Coffee on May 15th at Rocio Dunne’s home in North Pasadena. A total of 10 Home Care Workers plus Rocio Dunne, Kiya Stokes (SEIU Division 5 Staff), Kathryn Wright (SEIU Community Relations Coordinator) and guest Harold Sterker, SEIU Local 721 attended the meeting.

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Let the Change Begin With Me!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I attended the Division 5 Pasadena Community Coffee on May 15th at Rocio Dunne’s home in North Pasadena. A total of 10 Home Care Workers plus Rocio Dunne, Kiya Stokes (SEIU Division 5 Staff), Kathryn Wright (SEIU Community Relations Coordinator) and guest Harold Sterker, (SEIU Local 721) attended the meeting.

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LA Times highlights how Gov’s IHSS cuts will hurt disabled

The Los Angeles Times published an article May 19 highlighting
how Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recently-release revised budget will
have devastating effects on California’s disabled.

Check out the full story here.

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Overworked and Underpaid!

SEIU Rallied in front of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento along with other members from all over California.

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NewsFlash: Daily Headlines from ULTCW

SEIU Takes Aim at Blackstone Deal
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal
The SEIU is out in front on this issue in the U.S. Two of the most
prominent activist shareholders in California, CalPERS and CalSTRS,
aren’t commenting on the proposed Blackstone deal.

Calif. Senate rejects sale of LA Coliseum, Sports Arena
Associated Press
State Sen. and candidate for the 2nd district Board of Supervisors seat Mark Ridley-Thomas rejects deal that won’t do any favors for Exposition Park re-development

SEIU joins Nevada medical associations to block healthcare deal
Associated Press
union, national, state and local medical groups, a local government
official and a U.S. House panel filed documents Thursday in Washington,
D.C., in efforts to block the biggest health care deal in Nevada

The documents filed with the federal Justice Department
and U.S. District Court oppose the $2.6 billion purchase of Las
Vegas-based Sierra Health Services Inc. by Minnesota-based UnitedHealth
Group Inc.

Mark Ridley-Thomas finds new methods of reaching voters in race for LA County Supervisor
Los Angeles Wave Newspaper
SOUTH LOS ANGELES — State Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas’ bid for a Los
Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat intersected with national
politics on Saturday, when the L.A. legislator’s campaign office hosted
more than 400 people for a voter registration drive in support of
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

The small army of
volunteers fanned out across the 2nd district in which Ridley-Thomas is
running and, according to Obama campaign organizer Ben Arnon, returned
having registered more than 700 new voters.

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Disability Action Day At State Capitol

Sacremento–The chorus of voices rising in opposition to the
Governor’s budget cuts got louder on Thursday as hundreds of
activists–including many long-term care workeres–turned out on the
north steps of the state capitol to support
Disability Action Day.

Coming just 24 hours after the May revision to the proposed budget was
released, the rally was a strong outcry against possible cuts to
IHSS.  The gathering highlighted how people with disabilities
would be affected if the millions in proposed cuts went into
efect. A large portion of homecare consumers have some sort of disability and rely on IHSS for their care.

 ‘You can’t balance the budget on cuts alone!’  was
the oft-heard theme of the day.

Several unions and community organizations turned out, including
SEIU-ULTCW, SEIU-521, the Disability Rights Legal Center, the
California Coalition for Mental Health, the Community Resource for
Independent Living and the Center for Independent Living.  State
senators and assemblymen showed up and spoke in support of the disabled
and against the proposed budget cuts.

Look for more action soon as ULTCW will continue to defend workers against these cuts.

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No Justice, No Peace!

On  May 13, 2008, SEIU-ULTCW was out in full force at 1221 Oak
Street in Oakland to let the Alameda County Board of Supervisors know
that we want a raise and decent healthcare.

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Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2008-2009 budget May revise includes severe
cuts to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program. 
The budget calls for rolling back state participation in funding
homecare providers’ wages and budgets, contributing funding only up to
minimum wage.  The proposal effectively nullifies the state’s
Aging with Dignity Act (1999), which increased state participation in
IHSS funding in order to preserve the homecare workforce for low-income
seniors and people with disabilities.  The budget proposal also
calls for significant reductions in care for many some homecare

“The Governor’s May Revise shows an appalling and disturbing
willingness to sacrifice the well-being, and possibly lives, of seniors
and people with disabilities in an attempt to balance the state
budget,” said Tyrone Freeman, president, SEIU, Local 6434, the United
Long-Term Care Workers’ Union (ULTCW)   “If homecare
providers are callously relegated to minimum wage status, then we’re
going to see thousands of these caregivers forced to leave the homecare
workforce, leaving countless elderly and disabled without the care they
need to continue living in their own homes.”

The budget further calls for reducing services to more than 80,000 of
IHSS consumers.  This short-sighted proposal means that seniors
and people with disabilities will be left vulnerable to malnourishment,
illness, or injury, which ultimately could force them into a hospital,
nursing home, or institution.  While the proposed cuts are
portrayed as cost savers, the truth is that hospital and nursing home
care for IHSS consumers will cost the state far more than what the
proper allocation of IHSS services would have.  

“I spent my whole life working and contributing to the state through
the taxes I paid,” said Wesley Thompson, a current homecare
consumer.  “The homecare I receive is what keeps me healthy and
alive; it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and I’ve worked hard for
it.  Shame on Governor Schwarzenegger for disregarding people like

The IHSS program is funded through cost-sharing among the state,
federal and county governments.  The Aging with Dignity funding
formula brings the 2008-2009 state wage cap to $11.50/hour—meaning that
this year the state has participated in funding its share of wages up
to that amount.  Many homecare workers currently donate hours
beyond those for which they are paid because many homecare consumers
require care beyond the hours for which they are allocated.

“Homecare workers first and foremost are committed to providing quality
care and making sure the needs of the people we care for are met,” said
Pamela Hall, a longtime homecare worker.  “Homecare workers are
prepared to stand with our friends and loved ones from the senior and
disability communities to fight these cuts and protect this critical
lifeline service because we see firsthand the real difference it makes
in people’s lives.”

To raise awareness of the devastating impact the Governor’s proposed
cuts will have on the lives of IHSS recipients and caregivers, homecare
workers throughout California will be conducting Forums Of Truth. 
These town hall-style meetings will start the week of June 9th and run
throughout the month.  Specific dates and locations will be issued
at a later date.


What Do the Proposed Cuts Mean To Homecare Workers?

If the proposed cuts go into effect, it would be devastating to
homecare workers and their consumers.  Here’s a summary of what
would happen if the proposed cuts are passed:

1.    The state wants to save $187 million from its
general fund by decreasing its share of the cost of home care, which
basically means a return to minimum wage for workers and puts their
health care at risk.  Counties could perhaps make up the
difference, but this is unlikely.  In any case, contracts would
have to be renegotiated for that to happen.

2.    Changes have been proposed to the functional index
scores.  Currently, a person is assessed by IHSS on a scale of 1
(can perform task independently) to 5 (can’t function without
assistance).  While those with an average of 4 or 5 will not be
affected, the state subsidy for those with an AVERAGE of 1 to 3 will be
eliminated.  Nearly $28 million will be taken away, affecting
7,100 consumers and workers.  

3.    Domestic and related services would be eliminated
for consumers with a functional index of 1 to 3, costing $52 million
and affecting 83,000 consumers and workers.


Worker Takes to the Airwaves to Defend Program

May 14, 2008

Socorro Romero, a ULTCW worker in Northern California, was the special guest of Norma Schevrkogel–a.k.a. radio personality “La Brava”–on KPFA, 94.1 FM Radio in Berkeley this morning. Through her personal story, Romero addressed the effects of the proposed California budget cuts on the IHSS program. Socorro cares for her elderly mother at home and knows firsthand that the elderly and sick need love and dignity.  If the proposed cuts pass, Socorro worries that many elderly and disabled people would experience turmoil.

The segment informed listeners of the statewide campaign to stop the budget cuts.  While on the air, Socorro pointed out  that homecare for people with special needs is far more economical and humane than warehousing individuals in a medical or institutional setting.

The segment will be broadcast on the show, “La Raza Chronicles.” The show is broadcast in Spanish and English and features interviews, music and features on communities in conflict.  It airs on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm. will have the audio segment online as soon as it is available.

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