January 2012

The Oscars: A Win for Working People

This past June, ULTCW, CHIRLA, LAANE, PowerPAC and UHW members, staff and supporters met up in Commerce for a very special screening and panel discussion of the film, ‘A Better Life’. Now, six months later, Demian Bichir, the main character, is up for an Oscar for ‘Best Actor’ (among the likes of George Clooney, Gary Oldman and Brad Pitt).

After hearing the news, Bichir states, “The main hope is that more people will see the movie and learn about the 11 million undocumented people in the United States, who are invisible to Americans,” A true dedication to the hard work and positive impact immigrants have on our communities.

In a time when the political stakes are so high and politicians often draw hard lines against immigration it is even more important to recognize story behind every family that comes here “undocumented”. This film reminds us of that reality; that the decision to cross the border illegally is not one that is taken lightly, that moving, often thousands of miles from home, for a chance at a better life is not an easy move to make.

In the film, Mr. Bichir plays an undocumented Mexican immigrant struggling to make a place for himself and his son by working as a gardener around Los Angeles. The film, comes from the Academy Award nominated director of ‘About a Boy’, Chris Weitz, and deals with gangs, parenthood, and the everyday struggles of working families. Through the film we see what a parent will do to give their children the life they never had.

As an organization steadfast in support of comprehensive immigration reform, its great to see this spotlight on the issue. A truly inspirational film, here at ULTCW we see this as a big win for working families, true immigration reform and the American Dream.

Check out the trailer for ‘A Better Life’ here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaLSBdL-zCY

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Hundreds Gather in Hollywood to Protest Against FedEx

On January 25th, 2012, SEIU ULTCW members joined with over 500 union members and community activists in Hollywood to protest corporate tax dodging. The action today targeted FedEx, which made over $4 billion in profit last year but paid just 1% of that income in taxes.The group of protesters sent a direct message to FedEx: Fair Taxes Deliver Good Jobs and Quality Care, tax dodging puts the economic burden on the back of working families; many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.

“It just doesn’t add up for working families,” said Muriel Carr, an in-home caregiver and member of SEIU ULTCW in Pasadena. “If wealthy corporations like FedEx paid their share in taxes, then maybe Los Angeles county could afford to pay home care workers a living wage.”

Muriel was joined by over 200 SEIU ULTCW members, SEIU members from sister locals’, members of the Teamsters union, and activists from Good Jobs LA.

Check out the news coverage and video from the event:

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Taking Giant Steps: 2011 Year In Review

In 2011, we fought for real change for working families; from uniting with workers across the nation to stand up for workers’ rights, to traveling to Arizona to show solidarity and stop legislation that would infringe on our fellow brothers’ and sisters’ human rights, we stood up to banks and saved families from losing their homes to foreclosures, we demanded good jobs and brought a fresh start to over 14,000 community members from Oakland to South Los Angeles, and these are just the highlights. (Check out the video on YouTube for more!)

These are not small things, and they aren’t small steps in the journey to social and economic justice we committed to in 2010. This past year we have shown the meaning behind, “One Team, One Union” and what we can accomplish when we work together. Check out the 2011 Annual Report below or download and print the annual report by clicking on your language preference below:
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Happy Chinese New Year: The Year of Prosperity

Today marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year. This holiday which is celebrated by millions all across the world, lasts for 15 days, is the longest and most important of the Chinese holidays.

Each of the 15 days has a particular role; the first day is often set aside for people to honor our elders. This day is particularly important to our membership, many of whom provide care to their parents and other elders within our communities. Here at ULTCW we will celebrate this day with over 10,600 Chinese members: from Alameda County to Monterey Park.

2012 is The Year of The Dragon; perhaps the most recognized image within Chinese culture, the dragon symbolizes power, strength and prosperity – the perfect symbol of the work that lies before us in 2012.

In the year ahead our union will come together to demand a Living Wage for over 135,000 home care workers in Los Angeles County, negotiate new contracts for home care workers in San Bernardino, Solano, San Benito, Monterey and Mendocino Counties and help elect more local, state and federal representatives who understand the needs of working families and those seeking work. To join us in this fight for social justice, click here.

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South Bay Labor Council: Home Care Workers Occupy Hollister

More than two dozen home care providers of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers and Hollister allies occupied the front steps of the San Benito County Administration building to call attention to the devastating impact a 20% cut would have on seniors and the disabled. They waved signs and shouted ” We are the 99%!” as cars and trucks honked approval along 4th Street, one of the busiest streets in Hollister. Supervisor Rob Rivas joined the group and added his support to tell state leaders to keep their commitment to home care.

Earlier in the day, United States District Court Judge Claudia A. Wilken issued a preliminary injunction, barring implementation of the 20 percent “trigger” cut to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.

Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU ULTCW, said “Judge Wilken’s ruling affirms what long-term caregivers have long known: the in-home care services we provide are the most compassionate option for seniors and people with disabilities and the best alternative to costly institutionalization.

The article was originally published at http://www.atwork.org/k_index1.php?Home_Care_Workers_Occupy_Hollister

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Mercury News: Federal judge says she’ll stop IHSS cuts

OAKLAND — Dealing another blow to an already shaky state budget, a federal judge Thursday further delayed California’s plan to slash about $100 million from its In-Home Supportive Services program for disabled, low-income elderly and blind people.

These were among the “trigger cuts” that Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature had agreed would kick in if state revenues fell short, as they have in recent months. The deal had called for a 20 percent cut in services to 372,000 of the state’s 440,000 IHSS recipients.

IHSS provides housecleaning, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, bathing and grooming, accompaniment to medical appointments and protective supervision for those with mental disabilities. Program advocates argue that the cuts are penny-wise and pound-foolish because care in nursing homes or other institutions will cost the state far more.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued a temporary restraining order in December to block the cuts, set to take effect Jan. 1. She found that the cuts appeared to violate federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Social Security Act by forcing people out of their homes and into residential care — and were likely to cause immediate harm to those who rely on IHSS.

This article originally came from http://m.mercurynews.com/sjm/db_101029/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=pb1bjYoI

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Nor Cal Home Care Workers Fight Against Cuts in Watsonville, Salinas and Hollister

Home Care workers and supporters march outside Assembly Member Alejo's office

Today, January 19th, United States District Court Judge Claudia A. Wilken presided over the decision to continue to halt cuts to the state’s IHSS program based on a Temporary Restraining Order she issued against these cuts back in December. Northern California home care workers decided to take the conversation to their communities to garner support against the cuts from State and Local officials.

In Watsonville, over twenty SEIU ULTCW members marched to the Watsonville office of Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D – Salinas). They brought with them letters and testimonials about how a 20% cut would impact their families, loved ones, and community.

Home care workers and their care recipients knocked on the office door of the Assemblymember and were met by Mr. Alejo’s aide, Tony Madrigal, who also serves on the Santa Cruz City Council. Madrigal invited everyone into the office and listened to their stories and testimonials. He then responded on behalf of Mr. Alejo with this statement, “Assemblymember Alejo supports you and your fight to stop these cuts to seniors and the disabled.”

Salinas' caregivers urge elected officials to "keep the commitment" and fight against cuts to IHSS

In Salinas, another 40 ULTCW in-home care providers braved the first day of rain to protest the 20% “trigger” cuts that would go into effect if the court ruling sided with the state. Supervisor Fernando Armenta joined the protesters and pledged to send a message to State representatives to keep their commitment to home care.

Continuing the fight, 30 Hollister home care providers and allies occupied the front steps of the San Benito County Administration building to call attention to the devastating impact a 20% cut would have on seniors and the disabled. They waved signs and chanted as cars and trucks honked approval along 4th Street, one of the busiest streets in Hollister. Supervisor Rob Rivas joined the group and added his support to tell state leaders to keep their commitment to home care and fight against any cuts to the state IHSS program.

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Judge Continues to Halt Home Care “Trigger Cuts”

Today, United States District Court Judge Claudia A. Wilken issued a preliminary injunction, barring implementation of the 20 percent “trigger” cut to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.

Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU ULTCW, states, “Judge Wilken’s ruling affirms what long-term caregivers have long known: the in-home care services we provide are the most compassionate option for seniors and people with disabilities and the best alternative to costly institutionalization.

“Unfortunately, seniors and people with disabilities have been the target of state budget cuts time and time again, putting their independence and health in jeopardy. This year is no different. Even as this case is in court, a new state budget proposal was released that would illegally endanger the safety and independence of seniors and people with disabilities who need home care in order to live safely at home.

“Rather than subject our parents, grandparents and children with disabilities to an uncertain future year after year, we need to stabilize and strengthen long-term care for the most vulnerable Californians.”

Today’s ruling converted a December 1, 2011 Temporary Restraining Order halting the cuts to a Preliminary Injunction, which means the cuts cannot be implemented at this time. This ruling continues to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe at home with their caregivers.

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ULTCW Home Care Workers Kick Off Living Wage Campaign

On Saturday, January 14, over 700 home care workers gathered in Downtown Los Angeles to kick off the LA Wins campaign which is focused on ensuring that home care workers receive a county living wage of $9.65 an hour. ULTCW represents 135,000 home care workers that live in Los Angeles County. Home care workers care for the elderly, the disabled and those most in need and often times work beyond their hours without pay.

ULTCW members will be collecting signatures from community members for a petition of support that would demonstrate to Los Angeles County Supervisors the importance of home care work and a living wage.
The day-long event focused on member education focused on understanding political equity, living wage community economic impact and the benefits of community political engagement.

For many, an increase of .65 cents would go a long way in buying food, buying gas and paying the bills.

To sign the petition online go HERE.

You can download the petition and help collect signatures in your community by clicking HERE.

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ULTCW members March down MLK Blvd as part of the Kingdom Day Parade

Today, South Los Angeles hosted the 27th annual Kingdom Day Parade, Southern California’s largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance. Over 50 ULTCW members marched down MLK Blvd from Western concluding at Leimert Park. ULTCW members marched along side over 30 marching groups, 20 floats, 17 drill teams, 16 marching bands, 7 color guard teams, 3 dance groups, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department equestrian unit and the LAPD motorcycle drill team. The theme to this year’s march was, “The Dream Continues to Live and Grow.”

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