July 2012

Monterey County ULTCW members vote Yes to ratify a new contract


On Saturday, Monterey County ULTCW members voted Yes to ratify a new contract. This vote concludes nearly 6 months of negotiations with the county Board of Supervisors.

The new contract maintains wages at $11.50 per hour and includes the following new and expanded benefits for home care providers in Monterey County:

  • Increases the county share of health benefits
  • Eliminates a 3 year waiting list for health benefits
  • Adds 153 care providers to the health plan
  • Creates a health care benefit safety net for care producers if they lose hours due to budget cuts
  • Mandates that the county to share enrollment information at provider orientations about other county health insurance options
  • Provides notices of weekly provider orientations

This new contract will be in place through December of 2013.

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All-China Federation of Trade Unions Delegation visits ULTCW

On June 27th, a delegation from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions visited ULTCW to learn more about how our union works and gain a global perspective on our mutual labor fight. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is a Chinese labor organization of the working class formed voluntarily by the Chinese workers and staff members. Founded on May 1, 1925, it now has a membership of 134 million in more than 1.713 million primary trade union organizations.

Delegation members were welcomed by ULTCW President Laphonza Butler and Executive Vice President Julie Chow. They were also educated about the inner workings of all of the departments of ULTCW.

Through visits like these, ULTCW members and staff are able to expand their horizons on the global labor movement.


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Mendocino County Members Turn Out to Call for an Increase in the Federal Minimum Wage

ULTCW Home care providers in Mendocino County showed their solidarity with the national movement to raise the federal minimum wage in three cities as part of the National Day of Action.

Workers held picket signs on busy street corners that read, “Raise the minimum wage”, as cars and trucks passed by. The actions were held in Willits, Fort Bragg, and Ukiah.

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National Latino Advocacy and Civil Rights Groups to Embark on ¡Todos a Votar! Tour

Groups travel to key states to engage Latino voters to register and vote

WASHINGTON, DC — National Latino advocacy groups including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) will embark this week on the ¡Todos a Votar! (“Let’s Vote”) Tour to register and mobilize Latino voters throughout the country.
The Latino voter engagement tour will kick off in Northern California on Wednesday, July 25 and continue to San Diego. From California, the voter registration campaign will go to the key Latino vote states of Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, and Texas.
Joining forces in the national public education effort are SEIU, Mi Familia Vota (MFV), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Center for Community Change (CCC), Presente.org, Voto Latino, and the Hispanic Federation. The organizations will work with activists on the ground and online to register Latino voters, inform them of the issues at stake in this election, and help mobilize them to the polls.

The first event will be a Twitter Town Hall on Wednesday, July 25, at 5 pm Pacific, 8 pm Eastern. Latino voter and youth leaders will chat online about key issues such as voter protection. The hashtag is #voto12

Field and online activities will continue throughout the state including Stockton, Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Diego from Wednesday to Friday. Also on Friday, LCLAA will contact 5,000 Latino houses as part of a vote canvassing operation in Orlando, FL.

SEIU Int'l Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina

“This is one of the most important elections for the Latino community because there’s a lot at stake—an agenda that calls for good jobs, tax fairness, affordable health care, and creation of a sensible immigration process,” stated Eliseo Medina, SEIU’s International Secretary-Treasurer. “We have a chance to shape this agenda via the ballot box, but it’s all in our hands. We have to make sure we are all registered, educated and ready to vote come November. That’s what the ¡Todos a Votar! Tour is all about.”

“The national picture shows that the Latino community is no longer sitting at the sidelines. Today, people of Hispanic origin make up this nation’s largest ethnic minority, with fifty million strong,” said LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “In some key battleground states, the number of eligible but unregistered Latino voters runs into the hundreds of thousands or even millions—on top of these millions of potential voters, DHS estimates that there are 8.5 million legal permanent residents that are eligible to become citizens and vote in the fall election. LULAC’s work with voter registration drives is critical to mobilizing the 50.5 million Hispanics to register and vote.”

ULTCW Member and Executive Board Member, Georgina Casteneda

Among those knocking on voters’ doors will be first-time voter Georgina Castaneda, an SEIU-ULTCW member from Los Angeles. “We, as Latinos, need to be united and we need to vote and have our voices heard. It’s about voting for a better quality of life, fighting against discrimination and the attacks on Latinos, and it’s about our seniors having better healthcare. I work for our seniors at a home care facility and I see the needs of our seniors. We can’t afford any cuts to Medicare,” Castaneda said.

Mi Familia Vota Executive Director Ben Monterroso agreed that the potential of the Latino vote has yet to be maximized. “If there was ever any one year that the Latino community needs to come out and vote, this is it. We are going to do all we can to get Latinos registered and voting,” he added.

According to LCLAA Executive Director Hector Sanchez, “At a time of unprecedented challenges for the Latino community, engaging Latinos to vote in record numbers is more important than ever. Increasing our participation in the political system will help enact policies to prevent families from being torn apart, allow Latino children to achieve their dream of attending college, and fight the scourge of racial profiling.”

Voto Latino President Maria Teresa Kumar said, “Young American Latinos represent this country’s future, and our communities have to act quickly to empower them to register and vote. The stakes in this election are too high to ignore the power and the potential of young voters.”

According to recent NALEO projections, over 12 million Latinos are expected to vote this presidential election. Latinos are also poised to determine the outcome of the national election for president in several battleground states, including, but not limited to, Nevada, Colorado, and Florida. Both congressional and presidential candidates have made vast efforts to appeal to the growing Latino electorate.

For more information about the ¡Todos a Votar! Tour, contact Gebe Martinez, gebemartinez@SEIU.org, (202) 714-2136.

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San Benito Members vote to extend their contract. Pledge to fight for a wage increase.

San Benito county home care workers voted to extend their contract today.  They celebrated by pledging to protect their political voices by voting NO on proposition 32 and preparing to fight for a San Benito wage increase.

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10 Tips for Staying Healthy in the Heat

As we head into the heat of summer (some of us have already been experiencing heat in the triple digits!), we wanted to share a few tips to help make this summer fun and safe for you and your consumer:

1)  Drink plenty of water. Make sure to talk to a doctor about the right fluid levels for you and your consumer. Use reusable water bottles that are “BPA free” and avoid leaving regular plastic bottles in the car or under direct sunlight for too long. 

2) Replace salt and calories. Heat and physical activity will cause you and your consumer to burn extra calories and lose salt through sweat. Check with a doctor or nutritionist, but you will probably need to incorporate additional or different drinks and foods. Healthy Choices: Broths and soups (contain sodium); fruit juice, soft fruits, vegetables (containing potassium); sports drinks that contain electrolytes.

3) Avoid sun exposure during peak sun hours (10 AM – 6 PM) and remember sunscreen! Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapplied if swimming, sweating or toweling off.  Make sure to pay special attention to how much your consumer is sweating and touching their skin, as this can tell you when you’ll need to re-apply!

4) Look for shade whenever possible. Going out to parks can be fun for you and your consumer, but make sure to secure a spot in the shade to avoid heat exhaustion. 

5) Plan outings to local museums and indoor cultural events (even an indoor shopping mall). Sometimes even though it’s a beautiful day outside you can have more fun (and stay cool!) indoors where it’s air-conditioned.

6) Don’t forget — a wheelchair can get hot. When metal and plastic surfaces on a wheelchair are exposed to direct sunlight for a long time, they get hot.  It doesn’t take long for the metal on a wheelchair to potentially burn you or your consumer. More Info: http://www.powerandmobility.com/summertime-safety-tips-wheelchair-users-caregivers/

7) Give your consumer a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath. This alleviates symptoms of heat exhaustion and lowers the risk of heat stroke. Feel free to repeat throughout the day and before bed on hot nights which will help your consumer sleep better. Video on how to give a sponge bath: http://youtu.be/hYXYcOHT6aE

8) Build a backyard water park. This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually fun and rewarding, especially if your consumer is a child. One easy and safe way to create water fun is to use a water hose and manually create a variety of sprays using your fingers and hands. Special Note: Sit your consumer on a shower curtain or towel on the lawn for more comfort. You can also have a variety of “water rides,” including: a small splash pool or garden sprinkler to run through. Sometimes a different one each day helps mix things up!  Video: Water Safety for Families with Children with Special Needs http://youtu.be/j2Sjx1S-g9M

9) Create your own air conditioning. If your home or apartment does not have an air conditioning system, you can create your own by filling a container with ice and placing it in front of your fan. The fan will blow chilled air into the room. A similar effect can be done by placing a chilled damp towel over a chair and allowing the fan air to blow through it.

10) Have fun! Above all, the best way to beat the heat is to have a good time with people you love.

Looking for more information and resources? Here are some we recommend:  http://www.wellchild.orghttp://www.diabetes.orghttp://www.heart.org and make sure to follow us on Twitter @seiuULTCW for immediate updates.

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Governor Signs Homeowner’s Bill of Rights

On July 11th, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights,” a bill drafted by Attorney General Kamala Harris, which would protect working families across the state against unfair bank lending practices that ultimately lead to foreclosures. “The California Homeowner Bill of Rights will give struggling homeowners a fighting shot to keep their home,” said Attorney General Harris at the signing event. “This legislation will make the mortgage and foreclosure process more fair and transparent, which will benefit homeowners, their community, and the housing market as a whole.”

This is a big win for all Californians and sets an example for a larger, national conversation.

Our union was one of the first to endorse Attorney General Harris in 2010 and we worked tirelessly to get her elected. She promised to work hard for our members and all Californians, and she did just that through this legislation.

In November of 2011, ULTCW member Rose Gudiel and her disabled mother stood up to OneWest Bank and Fannie Mae to save her La Puente home in a historic fight that set the tone for families fighting against unfair foreclosures. Earlier this year, ULTCW members collected hundreds of petition cards from their communities, churches, neighbors and friends to show our overwhelming support for this initiative.

Between 2008 and 2011, one million Californians lost their homes to foreclosure and another 700,000, many of whom are our own ULTCW members, are on the brink. Thanks to the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, working families now have a voice over unfair big-bank policies.

This proves even more that when we fight, we win.

Will you join us in thanking Attorney General Kamala Harris for standing up for working families? Click here to send a thank you message.

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