June 2008

National Commission on ICE Misconduct and Violations of Fourth Amendment Rights

PicketingI attended the National Commission on ICE Misconduct and Violations of Fourth Amendment Rights at the Cathedral Plaza Conference Center on Tuesday, June 24, 2008.  ICE stands for Immigration & Customs Enforcement. The conference was an immigrants’ rights forum. There was a large panel of dignitaries plus many victim witnesses.

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National Commission On Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) Misconduct

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I attended the National Commission On ICE Misconduct and Violations of 4th Amendments Rights held on June 24th, at the Cathedral Plaza Conference Center in Los Angeles, California from 10:30AM till 1:00PM.

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Staying Committed

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I have been asked by the Union staff to blog about myself and I agreed. I agreed because I have something to say about how belonging to SEIU has enriched my life.

Let me start from the beginning. I have fifteen siblings, and I am number nine in the line up. I grew up in a loving and supportive Mexican immigrant family in the San Francisco Bay area. At 24, I left the Bay area for Los Angeles to get away from the constant cold and rainy weather. In 2000 I volunteered to provide technical support for the first internet National Democratic Convention (DNC) held in Los Angeles. Most recently, I have been a home care worker for the past two and half years and a proud member of my new family, SEIU Local 6434 for the same amount of time.

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Seniors, People with Disabilities and Homecare Workers Pack Budget Cuts Forum in Claremont

Media Coverage:
KPFK/Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles and Workers’ Independent News, a national radio show, covered the forum. Download and Listen here!

Friday, June 20, 2008
Seniors, peoplewith disabilities, homecare providers and coalition groups packed a town hall meeting at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. Friday morning to learn about the Governor’s proposed cuts to In-Home Supportive Services and what they can do to stop them. Budget Cuts Forum

The Quality Homecare Coalition, including SEIU Healthcare ULTCW, hosted the forum to educate Californians on the devastating affects the cuts would have on seniors and people with disabilities. Facing a budget deficit that is pushing $20 billion, the Governor is seeking to slash IHSS recipients hours and threatening to roll back homecare worker pay to minimum wage.

Low-income seniors and people living with disabilities stand to lose vital services such as meal prep, grocery shopping and house cleaning that they depend on in order to live independently in their own homes.

After hearing a budget presentation, dozens of seniors and people with disabilities spoke out about how the cuts will impact them.

“I do not want to stay at home, but I have no choice,” said Maria Valencia, a Pomona-area homecare worker. “I’d rather be out working, but my son is Autistic, and I have no choice. A reduction in hours and my pay would kill us. We wouldn’t be able to survive.”

Brenda Premo, the forum’s moderator and a IHSS recipient, told the crowd that only collectively do we have the power to stop the Governor.

“Remember, each one of you can make a difference now,” Premo told the audience. “You can make a difference by filling out a yellow card, e-mailing your legislator, telling a neighbor about these cuts. We have to let them know, we cannot have these cuts.”
Brenda PremoHomecare worker speaks out against cuts

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SAN BERNARDINO AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY SENIOR AND DISABILITY ADVOCATES HOLD FORUM ON GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED CUTS

CLAREMONT,
Calif.

– The Quality Home Care Coalition held a community forum on Friday, June 20 to
educate residents on the devastating cuts the Governor is recommending to
lifeline services in his recent proposed State budget.The forum at Pitzer College gave concerned
residents an opportunity to speak out and learn how to ensure that local
legislators hear their voices.

As
outlined in his May Budget Revise, the Governor suggests cutting the hours a
care recipient receives along with a possible rollback of homecare provider
wages to minimum wage.Additionally,
the Budget Revise advocates for the delay, suspension and/or withholding of
grants that help low-income seniors and people with disabilities meet basic
living expenses.

“The
Governor’s disgusting attacks on California’s seniors and persons with
disabilities clearly shows he doesn’t understand the IHSS program,” said Ethyl
Motely, a forum panelist, representing seniors.

Tyrone
Freeman, President of SEIU Healthcare ULTCW and chairman of the Quality
Healthcare Coalition, said caregivers and IHSS recipients are mobilizing to do
whatever it takes to stand up to the Governor and make certain these callous
attacks are thwarted.

For
more information, please contact Leigh Shelton of the United Long-Term Care
Workers’ Union at leighs@seiu-ultcw.org
or 213-215-5084

SEIU Healthcare, United Long-Term Care Workers’ Union is the largest union of long-term care workers in California. The more than 150,000 nursing home and homecare caregivers provide vital care and services to seniors and people with disabilities.
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Latest Issue of SEIU Healthcare News Online Now!

Check out the latest issue of SEIU Healthcare News — an online newsletter of all things SEIU Healthcare!

Download the PDF

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LA County Members Rally at Board of Supervisors

Hundreds of Los Angeles County Homecare workers rallied at the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning to urge the BoardLA Board of Supervisors Rally to help settle contract negotiation disputes between workers and the Public Authority.

“Since May, we have been bargaining for a homecare contract with the Personal Assistance Services Council, but they have refused to bargain in good faith. They have not submitted complete proposals, have failed to answer our questions and claim to be powerless when it comes to giving us a contract,” said Hasmik Sahakian.

PASC also failed to show up to a bargaining session this past week, Sahakian said.

Workers gathered and marched in front of the County building in downtown Los Angeles before entering into the chamber to testify in front of the Board of Supervisors.

“With gas so high right now, we can barely afford to get from our homes to our clients’,” said Shanisha Robinson, a ULTCW member. “My paychecks simply don’t cover the necessities anymore. We need to make more than $9 an hour.”

Secretary-Treasurer Amanda Figueroa told the Board that in the union and the county have worked together to meet the needs and obtain proper funding for seniors and people with disabilities. This time should be no different, she said.

“In the past six months the price of rice has gone up more than $25,” said Julie Chow, a ULTCW member. “It’s getting to the point that we cannot afford food.”

After the Board hearing and lunch, PASC came to the Union hall to for a bargaining session, however, no negotiation issues were resolved. The 100-member bargaining team is fighting for a wage increase and better benefits for all homecare workers.

Inside Board of Supervisors

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Why We Need the Employee Free Choice Act

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I have one more 2008 Convention blog-entry I feel I must write. It concerns the freedom of all working people to form a union without interference from their employer. Under the current system, employers use methods to silence employees who attempt to form unions and bargain for better wages and working conditions. Laws and enforcement fail to sufficiently protect workers, offering penalties that are too weak to discourage violations.

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The Governor Responds

This is the letter I received from the governor in reply to the e-mail I sent to him about the budget. I had written him about health care and education cuts. I told him that his healthcare plan was not that helpful because he offered only tax incentives. I said, “What good is a tax credit for those who can’t afford to pay for health insurance in the first place?” He didn’t say much about healthcare in this letter. He mostly addressed education, which I had also addressed. Yet even there, I am not satisfied with his answer.

It appears that I now need to ask for the details of the Budget Stabilization Act. He does not explain it in great detail. Yet this letter is very wordy. I have not e-mailed him back yet. I hope you will read this and send me suggestions. My email address is: robsm10@aol.com.

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Andy Stern Unity Slate Elected

Stronger together and letting their voices be heard, the delegates at the 2008 SEIU International Convention cast 1,218,783 votes out of 1,659,886 to re-elect the Stern Unity slate candidates for the next four years.

ULTCW delegates were especially proud that our Secretary-Treasurer Amanda Figueroa would join President Tyrone Freeman on the International Executive Board.

Addressing ULTCW delegates at a breakfast assembly, International Executive Vice President Gerry Hudson said her leadership for the past eight years has helped unite the rapidly expanding and diverse populations in the field of Long Term Care in California.

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