SEIU-ULTCW members join UHW Solidarity Rally
SEIU-ULTCW members join UHW Solidarity Rally
On February 26, over fifty SEIU-ULTCW long-term care members and staff drove to the SEIU-UHW Solidarity Rally in Commerce, CA. They came to show support for the Employee Free Choice Act, for reforming the healthcare system, and, most importantly, for a strong, united, and statewide long-term care union.
Eliseo Medina, one of the trustees of United Healthcare Workers West, spoke about the importance of solidarity during these tough economic times and talked about the recent advances that have been made on the national healthcare agenda. He stressed that with Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor, now is the time to push the Employee Free Choice Act legislation to the forefront of the national debate.
Homecare provider Michelle Reed spoke from the heart as she gave an impassioned speech to the crowd. She wove a story of the humble beginnings of the long-term care labor movement in California 10 years ago. Reflecting on the recent unification of 240,000 long-term caregivers, she challenged the crowd to keep up their activism by continuing to fight for a fair state budget in Sacramento. The crowd applauded as she said, “Homecare providers deserve better. America deserves better. The test of a country is NOT how it treats its most powerful. It’s how it treats it’s most vulnerable.”
The last part of the program had the crowd singing along and dancing to acoustical folk songs of “Solidarity Forever” and “I’m Sticking with the Union.”
“On February 25, 1999, the dream that started with a few became reality for all as workers voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU 434-B. Nearly 80,000 Los Angeles County homecare workers celebrated their greatest victory over what started out as a dream shared by Verdia Daniels, Ophelia McFadden and other coworkers to have a unified voice that would demand better wages and respect through a collective bargaining agreement.
“This victory turned into one of the largest organizing victories in decades and is referenced today as the event that helped revitalize the LA labor movement. Since 1999, this organizing model has served as the springboard for the organizing of hundreds of thousands of homecare workers throughout the United States.
“On behalf of the members and staff of SEIU 6434 and our International Union, I’d like to thank the brave women who recognized the need to take a bold stand for what was right, took the action necessary to move their dream forward, and persevered when they were told it would never happen. To us all, you are true heroes.
“We will continue to commemorate this milestone more fully and formally later this year. As we celebrate this anniversary, we are reminded how the actions of a few dedicated workers will soon result in the uniting of more than 240,000 long term care workers throughout California.”
~John Ronches, SEIU
Over 200 ULTCW long term care members, their families, and consumers drove to Fresno this Valentine’s day to show their solidarity with their UHW brothers and sisters who are fighting for a new contract.
They left at 5:30am for a 4 hour ride to set a clear example of how important it is to show resistance against the looming state budget cuts that would be so devastating to the IHHS program.
Eliso Medina, an Executive Vice President of SEIU International, spoke to the gathered crowd and urged them to support each other during these hard times. A wall of petitions was signed to show to the Governor and the Fresno Board of Supervisors.
ULTCW members drove to Fresno this Valentine’s day to show their solidarity with their UHW brothers and sisters who are fighting for a new contract.
On Friday, February 13th, SEIU members – including long term care workers – rallied statewide in opposition to any potential budget cuts or spending caps. They demanded accountability and public input before decisions that affect the whole state are made.
In Los Angeles, a group of 54 SEIU ULTCW members and staff joined a coalition group at the Governor’s downtown Los Angeles office. Along with SEIU 721 and other union supporters, they picketed the front of the building while speakers from various occupations told their stories about how the budget cuts would have devastating effects in their lives. Cheryl Hubbard, a homecare worker, spoke about how homecare saves taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year by caring for people in their homes instead of in costly nursing homes or hospitals. She said, “ Cutting wages would hurt our local economy, but most importantly, could lead to a reduced workforce that would be inadequate to meet the demands of the aging population. This is unacceptable.”
Rallies were also staged in Sacramento, Riverside, San Francisco, and San Diego in a large showing of protest against politicians making compromises behind closed doors.