December 2009

Healthcare Reform Passes Senate On Christmas Eve

Just after 7:00 AM (EST) on December 24, the Senate passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a 60-39 vote. Both California Senator Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer voted in favor the bill.

Unfortunately, the final Senate bills contains bad compromises such as no Public option, taxing health insurance plans to generate revenue, and dropping the proposed expansion of Medicare to those 55 and over. With its passage, the bill will now move on to the conference committee where we’ll be working to incorporate as many elements of the House bill as possible. For example, the House bill contains a Public option which is paid for by a tax on the wealthiest Americans.

In an effort to make sure that our voices are heard, ULTCW members made 1,471 phone calls to other members who committed to contacting Senator Feinstein’s office and urge her support of healthcare reform that benefits working people. In addition to hitting the phones, ULTCW members also went into their communities to collect signatures that were subsequently delivered to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office. These signatures came from friends, neighbors, ULTCW members and the community in general. All total, ULTCW members collected an impressive 5,306 petitions.

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SEIU ULTCW Wins Recognition at Two Kindred Facilities

On Tuesday (Dec 22), nursing home workers at Kindred Stockton and Kindred Redding voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU ULTCW. We’d like to welcome our new members and thank everyone involved in the campaign to ensure that our fellow nursing home workers have a voice in the workplace!

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New Alameda County IHSS Contract Sends Clear Message To Elected Leaders That Homecare Program Must Remain a Priority

Oakland, CA (December 17, 2009) – Today, SEIU ULTCW (United Long Term
Care Workers’ Union) announced that Alameda County In-Home Supportive
Service (IHSS) providers overwhelmingly voted last evening in favor of
its new contract with the County that adds multiple layers of
protection to the current homecare provider wage and benefit levels, as
well as granting additional contract improvements.

“As several Counties are joining the Governor’s desire to slash homecare provider wages to as low as minimum wage, Alameda County is sending a clear message to state legislators and other county supervisors that we must all maintain our commitment to our seniors, people with disabilities and those who care for them,” said Brenda Jackson, SEIU ULTCW Bargaining Team member.

“The homecare program provides a vital lifeline service to thousands of low-income seniors and people with disabilities,” said Alice Lai-Bitker, President of the Alameda Board of Supervisors. “Even in the most difficult of financial times, the homecare program must remain a county and state priority.”

The new contract continues an hourly wage of $11.50 and ensures that the County’s contribution toward caregiver wages and benefits is maintained if for any reason the Courts rule that the State can cut its contribution to minimum wage. If that were to occur, Alameda County homecare wages would not drop any lower than $10.20 an hour. In addition, the new contract assists workers in keeping their health benefits for five months if State cuts place them below the eligibility threshold.

“The need for the homecare program does not change based on the state’s budget. In fact, the need will only continue to grow as our population ages,” said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU ULTCW. “This contract helps ensure that these services continue and that caregivers are able to feed their families while continuing to do this valuable work.”

“Alameda County is dedicated to ensuring that homecare services are not interrupted due to the state’s fiscal crisis,” said Alameda County Supervisor and Board Vice President Nate Miley. “After all, the homecare program not only provides a vital service to low-income seniors and people with disabilities, it does so while saving taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Why would we ever cut such a program?”

The IHSS program (more commonly known as ‘homecare’) serves approximately 17,000 low-income Alameda County seniors and people with disabilities at a fraction of the cost of institutional care. Caregivers assist IHSS recipients with their most basic daily tasks such as bathing and hygiene, meal preparation to prevent malnutrition, domestic chores that help prevent falls, and ensuring that they get to doctors visits on time and remember to take medication.

The new contract takes effect immediately and expires in September of 2013.

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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New Alameda County IHSS Contract Sends Clear Message: Homecare Must Remain A State Priority

Alameda Bargaining TeamOakland, CA (December 17, 2009) – Today, SEIU ULTCW (United Long Term Care Workers’ Union) announced that Alameda County In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS) providers overwhelmingly voted last evening in favor of its new contract with the County that adds multiple layers of protection to the current homecare provider wage and benefit levels, as well as granting additional contract improvements.

“As several Counties are joining the Governor’s desire to slash homecare provider wages to as low as minimum wage, Alameda County is sending a clear message to state legislators and other county supervisors that we must all maintain our commitment to our seniors, people with disabilities and those who care for them,” said Brenda Jackson, SEIU ULTCW Bargaining Team member.

“The homecare program provides a vital lifeline service to thousands of low-income seniors and people with disabilities,” said Alice Lai-Bitker, President of the Alameda Board of Supervisors. “Even in the most difficult of financial times, the homecare program must remain a county and state priority.”

The new contract continues an hourly wage of $11.50 and ensures that the County’s contribution toward caregiver wages and benefits is maintained if for any reason the Courts rule that the State can cut its contribution to minimum wage. If that were to occur, Alameda County homecare wages would not drop any lower than $10.20 an hour. In addition, the new contract assists workers in keeping their health benefits for five months if State cuts place them below the eligibility threshold.

“The need for the homecare program does not change based on the state’s budget. In fact, the need will only continue to grow as our population ages,” said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU ULTCW. “This contract helps ensure that these services continue and that caregivers are able to feed their families while continuing to do this valuable work.”

“Alameda County is dedicated to ensuring that homecare services are not interrupted due to the state’s fiscal crisis,” said Alameda County Supervisor and Board Vice President Nate Miley. “After all, the homecare program not only provides a vital service to low-income seniors and people with disabilities, it does so while saving taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Why would we ever cut such a program?”

The IHSS program (more commonly known as ‘homecare’) serves approximately 17,000 low-income Alameda County seniors and people with disabilities at a fraction of the cost of institutional care. Caregivers assist IHSS recipients with their most basic daily tasks such as bathing and hygiene, meal preparation to prevent malnutrition, domestic chores that help prevent falls, and ensuring that they get to doctors visits on time and remember to take medication.

The new contract takes effect immediately and expires in September of 2013.

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Santa Cruz Members Hold Candlelight Vigil For Homecare

Santa Cruz County Homecare Providers Hold Candlelight Vigil – Calling on Supervisors to Keep The Commitment to Seniors, People with Disabilities and Those Who Care For Them
SANTA CRUZ (December 8, 2009) – Despite temperatures dipping below freezing, approximately 50 Santa Cruz County homecare providers, community advocates and local elected officials participated in a candlelight vigil at the Clock Tower in downtown Santa Cruz on Monday evening – calling on County Supervisors to keep their commitment to the homecare program.

In a letter of support read at the vigil, Watsonville Mayor Luis Alejo wrote that “Santa Cruz County has often times been a leader in ensuring the well-being of its residents, and has understood the importance of taking a stand for those in need.  This is no time to change that course.”

Santa Cruz Vice Mayor Mike Rotkin also addressed the bundled-up crowd encouraging the Board of Supervisors to do the right thing by ensuring that the homecare program remain a County priority.

Currently in contract negotiations with County officials, care providers are simply asking Santa Cruz County to maintain its current contribution toward their wages and their level of health benefits – no more, no less.  If the County were to follow through on its threat to lower care provider wages from $11.50 an hour to just minimum wage, it would place the hourly wage far below the County’s own Living Wage Ordinance.  Lowering provider wages by a staggering twenty percent would also result in the County forfeiting hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in Federal and State funding it receives to help pay for this vital service.

Following the vigil, homecare providers appeared before the Supervisors at their Tuesday Board meeting to share their personal stories and convey the urgency of the situation prior to the Board going into a closed session to discuss contract bargaining and provide direction to their negotiators.

The next negotiation session is expected to take place prior to the end of the year.

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Department of Labor invites members to participate in meeting about upcoming election for ULTCW Officers and Executive Board Delegates

Download the invitation to read more:
Pre-Election Meeting Invitation Pre-Election Meeting Invitation

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