November 2008

Ventura Contract Negotiations

Long Term Care Workers and the Board of Supervisors have held three bargaining sessions in Ventura County. Homecare workers on the bargaining team are hoping to make progress and improve their wages and benefits, but there is much work yet to do.

With the high cost of living in Ventura County, the average cost of a home is $575,000 and the average median income is $52,298.  Homecare Workers average $834 per month, $10,008 annually.

We are making it clear that unless homecare workers receive a wage increase, the elderly and disabled population in Ventura County will be unable to find and retain providers.

On November 6, 2008, as a result of the announcement from the Governor to propose cuts to the IHSS program, the Public Authority canceled our scheduled negotiations. The Public Authority’s position is that they are unable to provide any responses to our economic proposals until they have a final answer on the State Budget reductions to the IHSS Program. They want to resume negotiations in the last week of November or the first week of December. Our position as stated in our letter to the Public Authority is that we have submitted the economic and non-economic proposal to them at their request.

There should be no obstacle in continuing our negotiations on November 20, 2008 at 5:30 p.m. to further discuss the non-economic proposals that we submitted initially. We are now waiting a response from the Public Authority.

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Oakland Member Reporter Training

Thursday, November 13th marks the day that member reporters attended training in the beautiful city of Oakland. Among those in attendance were: Sherry Liddell, Brenda Blannon, Roland Alsup, Mao Ling Sieu, Yuan Mei Jiang, Ouyang Kelian and Francisco Daza.

English, Spanish and Chinese speakers were able to come together in an effort to enhance their reporting skills. Member reporters learned about the various types of news leads, and practiced writing the opening paragraph to a story using different methods that were taught. Brenda Blannon executed her writing with skill as she wrote a contrast lead, which was given as an assignment. Brenda also volunteered to read her lead out loud to everyone in attendance at the training.

Photo training was also given along with tips on how to take notes. The member reporters were very excited, and eager to go out on assignment. They will be able to attend events, take photos, write stories and get paid for their contributions. Ronald Alsup, a member reporter from Oakland said, “My favorite part about being a member reporter is being able to take photos at events because I really enjoy taking pictures!”

If you’re interested in becoming a member reporter, contact Nicole Reed at (213) 985-0385 or (213) 393-7623, or nicoler@seiu-ultcw.org

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Oakland Member Reporter Training

Roland AlsupThursday, November 13th marks the day that member reporters attended training in the beautiful city of Oakland. Among those in attendance were: Sherry Liddell, Brenda Blannon, Roland Alsup, Mao Ling Sieu, Yuan Mei Jiang, Ouyang Kelian and Francisco Daza.

English, Spanish and Chinese speakers were able to come together in an effort to enhance their reporting skills. Member reporters learned about the various types of news leads, and practiced writing the opening paragraph to a story using different methods that were taught. Brenda Blannon executed her writing with skill as she wrote a contrast lead, which was given as an assignment. Brenda also volunteered to read her contrast lead out loud to everyone in attendance at the training.

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San Bernardino Rally

San Bernardino RallyThe County of San Bernardino is working to cut our wages,  hours, and benefits. In response to this, we must all fight. Supporters of caregivers gathered at the San Bernardino union hall on November 18th to fight these cuts. Our spirits were high as we gathered at the union hall before we spoke at the city council meeting.

We held a brief press conference and expressed our case to the press outside of the city council building. Tom Csekey, a staff member from local 6434, and union members spoke at the union hall, the press conference, and in the council meeting.

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Rally coverage from The Sun, San Bernardino

Home-care workers plan rally at SB County Government Center
Lauren McSherry
Article Launched: 11/17/2008 10:44:54 PM PST

San Bernardino Rally 11.18.08

SAN BERNARDINO – Scores of home-care workers represented by SEIU Local 6434 plan to rally this morning outside the San Bernardino County Government Center.

The union is objecting to stalled contract negotiations with the county.

“A large majority of the wages and benefits are reimbursed by the state,” said Scott Mann, spokesman for Local 6434. “Every dollar that is not utilized is one less dollar that can be brought to the local economy.”

The union had requested a $2 per hour raise and asked for the county to contribute more money toward health insurance coverage, confirmed David Wert, the county spokesman.

Home-care workers assist seniors and disabled people who are enrolled in the state’s In Home Supportive Services Program, which is administered locally by the county. Home-care workers are paid $9.25 an hour and carry out such tasks as housecleaning, meal preparation, grocery shopping and personal care services.

There are 18,000 home-care workers in the county, Mann said.

“This program is an investment,” Mann said. “It keeps people in their homes where they want to be, instead of being forced into institutions.”

The county is unable to put money toward a pay raise and health insurance, Wert said.

Even though some health insurance costs are reimbursed by the state, the county could lose those reimbursements in the near future due to the worsening budget crisis, Wert said.

“Some costs are reimbursed eventually,” he said. “But there is still money out of the county’s pocket, and that’s what the county can’t spare.”

Wert added that the county does not want to appear insensitive but it is facing the worst fiscal crisis seen in a generation.

“The county values the work that these people do a great deal,” he said.

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Weekend Warriors, California to Nevada

GOTVShirley Leonard

One hundred union members from several locals, traveled to Northern Nevada as volunteers for the Member to Member campaign on behalf of Barack Obama’s race for the presidency.

Friday, October 24th, volunteers departed from local 721 and headed for Las Vegas. On the way there, we picked up other members from the San Bernardino office, and we also had briefing and training to prepare us for the volunteer work.

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Weekend Walk for Obama in Nevada

Members from SEIU Local 6434 throughout Southern and Northern California traveled to Reno, Nevada, to campaign for Barack Obama the weekend of October 25 and 26th.It was an extraordinary journey.Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and ready to go.

We made a quick stop in Carson City, Nevada, to join SEIU members from locals throughout the U.S.During our brief stop, we formed groups of threes and fours for our walk.Once all the groups were formed, we were dispatched to our precincts.

My group was sent to the Valley (it was very hot).We began our door-to-door knocking venture. The majority of the people on our list to visit were Republican.

We were out in the field for about three to four hours. Several people we spoke to were undecided about their vote while others said that they always voted for the Republican Party but are now considering the Democratic ticket because of our current economic situation. At the end of the day we picked up all of the groups gathered in Carson City then headed out to Reno, Nevada for some rest.

On Sunday morning, we headed out to continue our efforts in generating public awareness about the importance of the election.

We were sent to a rally in support of Obama. He wasn’t present. However, someone at the rally dressed up as Obama with a mask. Everyone wanted to take a picture with the future president.

Once more, we loaded the bus and headed out to Reno to visit potential Obama supporters. It was a great experience. 

Obama Walk
Donna Davis
San Bernardino Homecare Worker

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Weekend Walk for Obama in Nevada

Members from SEIU Local 6434 throughout Southern and
Northern California traveled to Reno, Nevada, to campaign for Barack Obama the
weekend of October 25 and 26th.It was
an extraordinary journey.Everyone
seemed to be in good spirits and ready to go.

We made a quick stop in Carson City, Nevada, to join SEIU
members from locals throughout the U.S.During our brief stop, we formed groups of threes and fours for our
walk.Once all the groups were formed,
we were dispatched to our precincts.

My group was sent to the Valley (it was very hot).We began our door-to-door knocking venture.
The majority of the people on our list to visit were Republican.

We were out in the field for about three to four hours.
Several people we spoke to were undecided about their vote while others said
that they always voted for the Republican Party but are now considering the
Democratic ticket because of our current economic situation. At the end of the
day we picked up all of the groups gathered in Carson City then headed out to
Reno, Nevada for some rest.

On Sunday morning, we headed out to continue our efforts in generating public
awareness about the importance of the election.

We were sent to a rally in support of Obama. He wasn’t
present. However, someone at the rally dressed up as Obama with a mask.
Everyone wanted to take a picture with the future president.

Once more, we loaded the bus and headed out to Reno to visit
potential Obama supporters. It was a great experience.

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Workers Meet to Join Forces

Dan Ramirez NovemberDear Brothers and Sisters,

On November 8th in Oxnard, California, the first joint Tri-County and LA County Latino Caucus came together to celebrate the unity and diversity that give strength to the workers of locals 721 and 6434.

The celebration was sponsored by a diverse group of labor caucuses: the Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, Lavender, Social and Economic Justice and African American.

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Long-Term Care Workers Celebrate Victory and Involvement in Several Elections Throughout California

One week after historic voter turnouts, members of SEIU Local 6434 – the United Long-Term Care Workers’ Union (ULTCW) and its sister organization, California United Homecare Workers (CUHW), are still celebrating the victories of several political races throughout California in which its members played key roles in their success.

GOTV

“These election victories – both nationally and locally – are victories for working people by working people,” said Norma Cervantes, member of SEIU 6434.

In all, members of Local 6434 and CUHW provided countless hours of support to ten California races that impact its membership – claiming victory in six races and with two too close yet to call.  Elections in which members were involved included Board of Supervisor races in Los Angeles, Imperial, Santa Cruz, Kings, Solano and Ventura Counties; State Senate District 19; and State Assembly Districts 15, 30, and 80.

“I’m so proud of the role I played in getting candidates elected who know and understand the needs of working people,” said Jerry Jackson, member of SEIU 6434.  “Each of these races, along with electing Barack Obama for President, were crucial to ensuring that working Californians are well represented at all levels of government.”

In the Los Angeles County Supervisor race alone, SEIU 6434 members helped bring Mark Ridley-Thomas to victory by speaking to over 23,000 voters on the phone and knocking on more than 21,000 doors!

“It’s truly incredible what can be accomplished when voices unite for a vision of a better future,” said Jackson.  “This is a great time for all working people.”

SEIU Local 6434 – the United Long-Term Care Workers’ Union and California United Homecare Workers represent nearly 200,000 nursing and homecare workers in 35 counties throughout California.

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