December 2010

FRONT VIDEO (290×242)


Journey to Justice: SEIU ULTCW 2010 Annual Video Report

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FAQ: Changes to the In-Home Supportive Services Program in California’s 2010-11 Budget

As you know, California law makers recently signed a budget that makes some changes to the state’s long term care program (IHSS). We’ve created a document that answers frequently asked questions about those changes.

And as always, please fee free to call the ULTCW Member Action Center for answers to any questions related to the budget or your union: 1-877-MY-ULTCW (698-5829).

Want a printed version of this FAQ? Download and print the SEIU ULTCW California 2010-11 Budget FAQ

Q: What cuts were made to the In-Home Supportive Services program in the 2010-11 California budget?

A: There was a 3.6% across-the-board cut to authorized hours for all care recipients.

Q: Are there any exceptions to this reduction?

A: No, but the consumers retain their right to appeal the hours reductions.

Q: I’m a care provider. What does that mean for me?

A: All of your care recipients will see a 3.6% cut in their authorized hours

Q: With a reduction in my hours, might I no longer be eligible for health insurance?

A: It’s possible; however, you have the option to seek additional work hours with other consumers. Please call the ULTCW Member Action Center to find out more information: 1-877-MY-ULTCW (698-5829)

Q: When does this reduction start?

A: The reduction begins February 1, 2011, so you should expect to see the 3.6% cut reflected in your first paycheck after that date.

Q: How long will the reduction last?

A: Until June 30, 2012, at which point the governor and legislators will re-examine the reductions and decide whether to roll them back, extend them or even increase them.

Q: Were there changes to the rules that disqualify someone from acting as a care provider?

A: Yes. The new budget adds additional crimes to the disqualifying crimes list and splits the list of crimes into two tiers: “Tier 1” felonies — which already existed in previous years; and “Tier 2” felonies, which will become law 90 days after Gov. Schwarzenegger signed this year’s budget – approximately January 17, 2011.

Q: What are the differences in the crime tiers?

A: Tier 1 felonies include fraud against a government health care or supportive services program; and child or elder/dependent abuse. (These only apply to convictions in the previous 10 years, and as always, you can appeal a disqualification to the CDSS Provider Enrollment Appeals Unit.) Tier 2 felonies – which were newly added into law this year – include serious and violent felonies as well as sexual crimes that require registration as a sex offender.

Q: Are there exceptions to the new disqualifying crimes rule?

A: Yes, several: The Tier 2 list of disqualifying felonies is “prospective” – meaning that if you’ve already been deemed eligible to be a provider, you are NOT subject to a new background check based on the expanded list.

Also, care recipients can approve any provider they select – no matter what kind of Tier 2 felonies the provider has been convicted of. So, if you are planning on applying to be a provider, or if you are already in the process, the consumer can override your disqualification by signing a waiver.

(Alternatively, you can apply for a general exemption if you provide evidence of rehabilitation or evidence that the charges have been dropped.)

Q: I already cleared a background check. Will I have to clear another one because of these new rules?

A: No. You CANNOT be forced to take a second background check if you have successfully completed your first.

Q: What’s this I’ve been hearing about a Personal Care IHSS Quality Assurance Revenue Fund?

A: The Personal Care IHSS Quality Assurance Revenue Fund will enable the IHSS Program to take advantage of federal funding — just like hospitals and nursing homes.  We developed this fund as a way for the state to obtain more federal matching funds for home care — without taking any money out of the provider’s pocket.

It is a complicated process, but essentially, your paystub may show a deposit and a deduction in the same amount which will not affect your actual pay and is used solely for accounting purposes.  The state government ends up with up to $190 million in new matching funds – and you will NEVER see a reduction in your paycheck as a result.

Q: How can I get answers to other questions about the budget and how it affects me?

A: Please call the ULTCW Member Action Center: 1-877-MY-ULTCW (698-5829)

You can also reach us via seiu-ultcw.org

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Members Speak Out Against Funding Cuts at Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors Meeting

Santa Cruz Mayor Mike Rotkin Among Rally Leaders

Santa Cruz County ULTCW members and supporters rallied and then spoke out against homecare funding cuts in front of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Dec. 7th.

At issue was the board’s desire to make drastic cuts to the In-Home Supportive Services program.

Over 30 members and supporters attended the board meeting and protest rally outside the chamber hall. Santa Cruz mayor Mike Rotkin was among the protest leaders. (The Santa Cruz City Council, led by Mayor Rotkin, recently unanimously passed a resolution in support of maintaining a living wage for county homecare workers. See pictures and details about that event here)

Listen to an AM 960 radio interview about the campaign here

Read a Santa Cruz Parch news article about the day’s events here

Here’s an excerpt:

Robert Poen, an outspoken union member and lifelong Santa Cruz resident, also spoke at the protest.

He cares for his 14-year-old son, who has cerebral palsy. The last place he wants his son to grow up is in an institution. While he recognizes that he saves the state thousands of dollars each year by caring for his son, he simply can’t afford potential cuts to his pay.

“I’m lucky enough to be able to take care of my son,” said Poen. “But if wages are cut further, I won’t be able to do that.”

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is the governing body that has the power to determine the county’s share of wages for homecare workers. A member-led ULTCW bargaining team is currently in negotiations with the board of supervisors over the contract for county homecare workers. At issue is the hourly wage paid to workers, in addition to other negotiation points.

To send a message in support of homecare workers to the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors, go here

Below is an image from the rally. Check out more pictures of the action here

Santa Cruz ULTCW homecare rally

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LifeHOUSE Nursing Home Workers Vote Overwhelmingly to Join SEIU ULTCW

Two updates about Lifehouse workers joining SEIU ULTCW:

BAKERSFIELD, Calif (December 3, 2010) – Today, workers at LifeHOUSE’s 34th Street skilled nursing facility voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU ULTCW (United Long Term Care Workers). The election, which gives the facility’s 91 workers the right to a collective bargaining agreement, came just months after nursing home workers at LifeHOUSE’s nearby Parkview facility also voted to join the union.

Although management tried to intimidate workers by illegally firing three union supporters and hiring an anti-union firm, the dedication and determination of LifeHOUSE workers to organize prevailed.

“Congratulations to everyone who stood strong and fought to make this victory possible,” said Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU ULTCW. “I’d like to welcome you to the ULTCW family where protecting worker rights and patient rights is our key priority.”

SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) is California’s leading long term care organization dedicated to providing and protecting quality care for some of our most vulnerable residents. SEIU ULTCW represents 180,000 in-home care providers and nursing home workers throughout California, making it the largest union of long term caregivers in California and the second largest SEIU Local in the nation.

BAKERSFIELD (October 15, 2010) – As part of our ongoing organizing efforts to ensure that workers have a voice on the job, we are pleased to announce that twenty-eight licensed vocational nurses (LVN) at LifeHOUSE Parkview Nursing Center voted overwhelmingly to join our union – even though management tried to block the election from taking place. This victory means that the LVNs at LifeHOUSE will now join 106 of their fellow coworkers who voted in early September to join ULTCW.

“We did it! Even though management tried to stop LVNs from having an election and a voice on the job, we stood strong and were able to win ULTCW as our union,” said Shirly Todman, a LifeHOUSE LVN.

Basing their argument that LVNs are considered “management” the owners of LifeHOUSE Parkview Nursing Center attempted to block them from voting for workplace representation. However, a hearing by the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the LVNs and permitted the election to move forward.

The overwhelming vote to join ULTCW and the ruling by the National Labor Relations Board are both great victories for LVNs at LifeHOUSE who now have a voice in the workplace, and sets precedence for all LVNs who have been told that they don’t have the right to organize.

We’d like to welcome our new members to the ULTCW family!

For Media Inquiries:

Scott Mann
Bedrock Strategies, Inc.
323-962-3938

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