May 2011

ULTCW Members Turn Out to Tell Exxon to Support Our Communities

ULTCW union members and concerned community members turned out in big numbers to support Good Jobs LA’s actions against Exxon to call for more good jobs and better schools in our communities. We were there to call out the Big Business mentality that Exxon is a huge part of, because while Americans are struggling to find work, Big Businesses are enjoying record setting profits.

Our unified voice demanded that Exxon and other big businesses pay their fair share to bring quality services back to Los Angeles! We brought our proposal with us, asking that Exxon donate one day of its first quarter earnings to the families and communities in Los Angeles. With this action we could save more than 1,000 teaching jobs in the LA Unified School District, stop the elimination of childcare for more than 30,000 children or create over 1,000 green jobs in LA.

Good Jobs LA supportes, along with ULTCW members, took to the streets insisting on action at an Exxon in Compton and another in Long Beach while concerned community members and other SEIU locals flooded the sites of 7 other Exxon stations around Los Angeles.

Get more info:

www.goodjobsla.org
www.facebook.com/goodjobslosangeles
Text Unity to 64336 to get involved!

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Laphonza Butler and other major LA labor activists speak on Immigration Reform

Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, held a town hall-style meeting on immigration reform and what it means in the 21st century. The “conversation” included a panel of very notable players in the LA Labor movement, including our own President, Laphonza Butler. The discussion comes at a time when the confluence of events happening all around us, the very soul of our country is at stake. The definition of the kind of country we want to be, at risk.

Laphonza speaks on representing a large portion of the immigrant workforce; “SEIU has members in industries beyond long term care like my home local, but in the hospitals, in property services and in the public sector. All of these are connected in some way to the service economy. And we remain convinced that the current system is broken. And its breaking people and their spirit.”

Basically, if folks are not tired from having to work 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet, then they’re scared about what someone may do to them on suspicion of their status. So, they’re tired. They’re scared. And quite frankly, they’re tired of being scared!

Solis’ call for this meeting is a positive sign that LA is trying to fix this wrecked system. And hopefully we can be an inspiration and support system to our brothers and sisters fighting this same fight all around the country and stand together for comprehensive immigration reform now!

Other panelists were Dolores Huerta, legendary labor activist and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO (UFW); Dr. Ernest Moreno, president of ELAC; Father Richard Estrada, Our Lady Queen of Angels Church; Kent Wong, Director of UCLA Labor Center; and Thomas Saenz, president of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

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SEIU’s Medina: “Business Death Penalty” Wrongly Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. – SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina made the following statement today following the United States Supreme Court’s narrow ruling in favor of Arizona’s so-called “Business Death Penalty” law that strips business licenses away from employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.

“Today’s United States Supreme Court decision upholding a narrow part of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigration agenda is deeply disappointing. For its part, the Supreme Court placed a stamp of approval on legislation that unfairly and unjustly targets working people and honest employers who contribute to local economies and help to make this nation great.

“We must emphasize that this ruling is limited in scope and does not address the broader legal issues contained in Arizona’s SB 1070 law passed last year. In SB 1070, Arizona tried to usurp federal authority on immigration, and lower courts already have found that states cannot violate the federal supremacy principles that govern our nation.

“In this narrow case involving an older Arizona law, the Court decided that Arizona’s E-verify law is not preempted by federal law because Congress expressly permitted states to impose employer sanctions so long as they do so through licensing laws. Arizona’s requirement meets the definition of a licensing law.

“Unfortunately, the ruling may create the wrong perception that states are now free to carry out their own immigration laws.

“We believe the court erred in upholding the requirement that all Arizona employers use the federal government’s E-Verify data base to determine a worker’s eligibility. Congress has not expressly granted permission to the states to do what Arizona has done.

“Currently, the E-Verify system is voluntary and is fraught with high costs for small businesses and too many errors that dislocate legal workers. Making it mandatory and then stripping away the license to do business is surely a business death penalty that hurts the economy.

“As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent: ‘Permitting States to make use of E-Verify mandatory improperly puts States in the position of making decisions for the Federal Government that directly affect expenditure and depletion of federal resources.’”

“Such policies ruin the economy and create a disadvantage for honest employers who are trying to follow the law, while tax-cheating employers drive the underground cash economy with disqualified workers.

“The clear message that should come from this ruling is this: Immigration continues is the sole responsibility of the Federal government, much in the same way that printing money is a uniquely federal responsibility. Immigration enforcement should not be up to the states where short-sighted efforts are more focused on attacking hard working people than on helping our economy.

“Congress must act quickly on comprehensive immigration solutions so that our economy can thrive with workers who become legalized and allow all employers in all states to play by the same set of rules.”

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Contact: Gebe Martinez gebe.martinez@seiu.org 202-730-7152

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Dane County judge strikes down anti-union law

From Kimberly Evon, ULTCW Chief of Staff

While attending the Homecare council meeting in Wisconsin yesterday, President Butler and I heard the great news along with WI leaders Diane Palmer and Alicia Treadwell, that a Dane County judge struck down the anti-union law passed by Governor Scott Walker. The suit brought against Gov Walker claims violation of the state’s open meeting law during approval process.

As members and staff that joined hundreds of thousands of workers in protest a few months ago and participated in the solidarity action April 4 at First AME, we are well aware of the importance to workers everywhere of overturning this law which seeks to remove most collective bargaining rights from public employees in Wisconsin.

This decision may set up a Supreme Court ruling on the case or a second legislative vote on the proposed law.

Our WI sisters and brothers send their thanks for all of our continued support in this effort and are encouraged by this decision as they continue to work with Wisconsin families to recapture pro-worker agenda in the state.

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Exxon! Pay Your Fair Share


Jobs

• One out of every four workers in Los Angeles County is unemployed or under-employed.
• While Americans struggle to find work corporations are enjoying record setting profits. CEO bonuses
for Big Businesses grew by 19.7% last year. Corporate profits of these big businesses soared by 47% last year.
• Exxon Mobile made nearly $11 billion in the first quarter of 2011. That means Exxon made $123 million per day.
• Exxon should pay its fair share. One days worth of Exxon’s profit could create 1,394 green jobs for our communities.

Tax Payer Funded Services

• Los Angeles’ budget crisis has caused 7000 school employees in LA schools to receive layoff notices. The State’s budget shortfalls threatens to result in the elimination of childcare for 30,000 children, and reductions in our parks, public safety, and other services.
• Weeks ago, the New York Times exposed how American multinational corporations have become the world leaders in tax avoidance, with many corporations taking advantage of myriad tax breaks and loopholes, allowing them to pay far less than the actual official corporate tax rate of 35%.
• Exxon was confronted in the Senate just this month with the fact that they pay a lower tax rate than the average American.
• Just one days worth of Exxon’s profit would save 1,230 teacher jobs or pay the salaries of 1,250 police officers in our communities.

Take Action

Let’s tell Exxon to pay its fair share in taxes and to create more jobs in Los Angeles.

Join us on May 27, 2011 from 3 pm – 6 pm outside of these Exxon Mobile Stations:

1502 Firestone Blvd.
@ Compton Ave
Los Angeles 90001

6685 Atlantic
@ E. 67th Street
Long Beach 90805

Get more info:

www.goodjobsla.org
www.facebook.com/goodjobslosangeles
Text Unity to 64336

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SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) Call Residents in 12 Districts throughout California to Garner Support for Maintaining Existing Revenues

Effort Aimed at Trying to Close Nearly $10 Billion Gap in Governor’s Budget

Los Angeles, CA – As part of an ongoing effort to garner support for maintaining existing revenues to balance the budget, members of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) participated in a phone bank this week that targeted residents in 12 districts throughout California. The phone bank was intended to communicate to residents the importance of maintaining existing revenues to avoid severe cuts to public education and safety programs.

“We told people that these cuts would hurt everyone, no matter their income. It would cause teachers to be laid off, and reduce the number of firefighters and police in their neighborhoods. We want them to tell their lawmakers to support these middle class programs, and to stop giving tax breaks to the wealthy oil companies,” said Jerry Jackson, SEIU ULTCW Executive Board member in Los Angeles.

The phone bank efforts will run through June 30, 2011.

California is currently facing a nearly $10 billion gap in revenue for the state budget. Governor Brown has offered his budget with billions in cuts, but there is no way to close the gap completely without maintaining current revenues. Without existing revenues, residents across California could see drastic cuts to state programs that affect education, health care and public safety.

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.

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SEIU’s Medina: President Obama Boldly Moves Towards Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a powerful speech at the Texas-Mexico border today, President Obama addressed the economic imperative for comprehensive immigration reform to grow and protect jobs for all workers. The president also outlined the enormous security improvements that have been made along the border in recent years, including the doubling of border patrol agents since 2004 and the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles that now patrol the border from California to Texas.

SEIU’s International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina attended the president’s address in El Paso, Texas and made the following statement:

“President Obama is to be commended for leading a forthright discussion on one of the more vexing issues facing our nation: immigration reform. By keeping attention on the issue and uniting divergent interests from across the political spectrum, the president is challenging the nation to set aside divisive politics and find real solutions.

“Congress needs to listen. For years, Republicans have blocked congressional debate on comprehensive immigration reform with the false argument – proven wrong many times over – that securing the border was a pre-requisite for comprehensive immigration reform. Their repeated stalling tactic is calling for securing the border before engaging in a debate on other reforms that would resolve the status of undocumented workers and their families already here and also level the playing field for all workers.

“Today, the president made a forceful case for moving forward on comprehensive solutions. There is no question that reforming the system would treat all employers fairly and increase the wage scale for all workers in the U.S. It would eliminate a massive underground “cash” economy that takes advantage of cheap labor and depresses wages and working conditions for everyone. Consequently business and labor leaders across the country and across the political spectrum have stood up against short-sighted state legislation and demanded a federal solution.

“Along the border, the ‘security first’ markers that immigration opponents demanded during the last congressional debate in 2007 have been achieved. Billions of dollars have been spent on personnel, equipment, and the latest in surveillance technology.But there is a limit to what enforcement alone can accomplish without real reform no matter how much money we throw at the problem.

“However, it’s time to acknowledge what voters have been telling us: securing the border before other reforms are made is unrealistic because “total control” is impossible. This approach is nothing more than a costly band-aid, or stop-gap measure. Instead of applying more ‘band-aids’ through costly, short-term fixes, we need solid solutions to improve our economic and national security.

“President Obama is showing great political courage in forcing a national debate on this important issue. Labor and business are at the table; mayors, law enforcement and faith leaders are there too.

“The question remains: When are the Republicans going to quit stalling and start finding solutions that the public is demanding? We are ready to work on it for the sake of our economic and national security and for the American people.”

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www.seiu.org

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Urge Your State Senator to Vote for the California “Dream Act”

Undocumented immigrants may soon qualify to receive private scholarships to help pay for their tuition if a new bill passes the state Senate.

AB 130, called the California “Dream Act,” passed the Assembly this week, and is now making its way through the Senate. The bill applies to students who have completed at least three years of high school in California, obtained a high school diploma or equivalent and pledged to become a citizen if they are undocumented.

If passed, these students, many of our state’s brightest, will be eligible to receive money to help them pay for their education. These kids have lived much of their lives in California, and deserve a good education at our state’s colleges and universities.

Call your state senator today to urge him or her to vote yes on AB 130.
You may find your state Senator’s phone number here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

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Stand Up For California

Recession. Unemployment. A never-ending budget mess.

We are making deep cuts to the things that matter most, like our kids’ education, seniors’ safety, and jobs in our communities.

  • 19,000 teachers just received their pink slips and could be fired in August, meaning that class sizes will keep climbing
  • If deeper cuts are made, college leaders say they will have to turn away more than 400,000 qualified students
  • 30,000 children are losing healthcare in the coming months
  • Over a million seniors are having their basic income and services they need to live at home cut again when the most recent cuts take effect

Now more than ever we need to come together and do what’s best for our state. Unfortunately there are some extremists who are trying to stop any compromise, and too many legislators are listening to them.

But we can do better than this! Join parents, teachers, senior citizens, business owners and people just like you across the state in Standing Up for California.

Make the Call

Call your local legislator at 1-866-864-8567 and tell them “Stand up for California. No more cuts.” It’s free, easy, and really makes a difference.

Across the state, thousands of teachers, mothers and working Californians are standing together. Click here to find an event in your neighborhood.

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Learn More

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What In-Home Supportive Services Recipients Should Know About Home Visits By Social Services

What are Home Visits and Where did They Come From?

In the 2009/2010 California Budget signed into law by then Governor Schwarzenegger, legislators included a number of fraud prevention measures intended to save the State money and to protect the I.H.S.S. program and its consumers.

One the of the measures signed into law gives social services the right to make unannounced home visits to verify that I.H.S.S. services are being provided. To ensure that I.H.S.S. recipients are aware of this new practice and understand their rights, please take a moment to go over this important information with them.

By being informed, we are empowered!

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About I.H.S.S. Home Visits

1. Can county welfare department officials come to my home?

Yes.

2. When can county welfare department officials come to my home?

Home visits may be made during reasonable hours of normal family activity.

3. Do I have any rights when county welfare department officials come to my home?

Yes. County welfare department officials must identify themselves, show photo identification, and wear badges. You must be treated with courtesy and respect and with respect for your rights and the rights of all persons involved. Mass or indiscriminate home visits are prohibited.

Any interviews with you or possible witnesses must be conducted without threats, duress, force, false showing of authority or other misrepresentation.

The county must conduct all investigations in compliance with due process of law. The county may not infringe upon your constitutional rights or the constitutional rights of anyone else. Search of your home or removal of physical items of evidence of fraud is not allowed without either a valid search warrant or your permission after you have been fully advised of your rights.

4. What can the county do if the county suspects fraud?

The county has to follow specific procedures related to fraud investigations. First, the county must refer the matter to the county special investigations unit or the district attorney for a full investigation.

5. What is IHSS fraud?

State law defines “fraud” with respect to the IHSS program as the intentional deception or misrepresentation made by a person with the knowledge that the deception could result in some unauthorized benefit to himself or herself or some other person. Welfare and Institutions Code section 12305.8. Note that this definition does not include unintended actions or mistakes.

6. For what reasons, other than suspicion of fraud, will a county welfare department official come to my home?

A county welfare department official can come to your home for any of the following reasons:

  • To determine your eligibility for IHSS when you first apply for IHSS, and every 12 to 18 months after that
  • To determine your hours of need for IHSS when you first apply for IHSS, every 12 to 18 months after that, and when your needs change
  • To verify that you are receiving the IHSS services that the county has authorized you to receive
  • To verify the quality of services you are receiving
  • To verify your well-being

These are not fraud investigations. They are administrative inspections. However, you have all of the rights listed above.

7. What if I’m not home, or my provider is not there and I want my provider to be there?

The county welfare department officials will have to come back later.

8. What if I can’t let the county official into my home when they first arrive?

The county welfare department officials will have to come back later, for example, if you are sick, still in bed, or not dressed.

9. Do I have to let county welfare department officials into my home at all? Can I ask them to leave if I let them in but then change my mind?

No, you do not have to let the county welfare department official into your home. Yes, you can change your mind and ask them to leave at any time. However, an officer with a valid search warrant can search your home.


10. What happens if I don’t let the county officials into my home or ask them to leave?

The county welfare department official will leave. They will not come into your home without your consent. They will not stay without your consent. However, you could be denied services for failure to cooperate. But the county can deny services for non-cooperation only if the county cannot verify your eligibility, need for services, receipt of services, or receipt of quality services without information that it can get only from the home visit. Also, be aware that an officer with a valid search warrant can search your home.

11. Can county employees search my home?

No. Only an officer with a valid search warrant can search your home.

12. Can county employees ask me to open drawers and closets or take pictures in my home?

Probably not. Any inspection of your home or your possessions has to be necessary for verifying your eligibility, need for services, receipt of services, or receipt of quality services. The need to inspect your home for these purposes is rare, if it exists at all.

13. Can the county look for fraud while they are visiting for another reason.

Yes. In fact, they are required to do that when they visit. However, they are limited to looking for fraud where it is in plain view. If the county suspects fraud, the county has to initiate a separate fraud investigation, as described above.

14. Can county officials carry firearms when they make a home visit?

No, unless they are fraud investigators from the county special investigations unit.

15. Where can I file a complaint if my rights are violated?

You can file a civil rights complaint with the county. You can also file a civil rights complaint with the California Department of Social Services.

16. What resources are available to me if I have further questions?

Disability Rights California provides free legal services, such as counsel and advice over the telephone, for people with disabilities. Call 1-800-776-5746.

IHSS provider unions can help providers who are being investigated.

The California Department of Social Services, which is the state agency that administers IHSS, has information about IHSS on its website:

General information about IHSS is available at http://www.cdss.ca.gov/agedblinddisabled/PG1817.htm.

Information about IHSS quality assurance is available at http://www.cdss.ca.gov/agedblinddisabled/PG1815.htm.

Information about confidentiality, fraud, and state hearings is available at http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/ord/PG319.htm.

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