On Friday, January 18th, ULTCW, alongside a diverse coalition of families, immigrant rights groups, faith, business, students, and elected leaders, sent a clear message about California’s leadership role in making immigration reform possible in 2013.
“As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must remember his wise words, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’ and right now, our country must stop the unjust separation of families and act on passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” said Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers.
“It’s important for the American public to realize that a pathway to citizenship includes a pathway for temporary and permanent residents that is much faster and easier than the current system,” said Maria Cibrian, a member of ULTCW. “People want to become citizens, but the current system is broken. We need Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now.”
Just days before the inauguration and the MLK holiday, the coalition announced it’s ready to support immigration reform, keep families together and send California on a pathway to citizenship.
On Saturday, South Los Angeles hosted the 28th annual Kingdom Day Parade, Southern California’s largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance. Over 50 ULTCW members marched along side thousands as they honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. The parade kicked off at 11 a.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue. The route headed west on King Boulevard and Western Avenue, rolled west to Crenshaw Boulevard then south to Vernon Avenue, and concluded with a gospel festival in Leimert Park.
ULTCW members marched with 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, “His Dream Will Never Die.”
In 2012, we passed the Coordinated Care Initiative which will improve the delivery of long term care in California and health outcomes for our seniors and people with disabilities by officially recognizing caregivers as part of their consumer’s care team.
We then went on to win a living wage for over 130,000 home care workers in Los Angeles county, expanded and protected benefits and wages for home care workers in Northern California, and won more than 20 contracts for nursing home workers.
We upheld the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, to secure necessary health benefits for ourselves and our communities.
We stood by California Attorney General Kamala Harris as Governor Brown signed into law her Homeowners Bill of Rights, putting working families first over big banks.
We defeated billionaires and corporations and protected our schools and public safety by making sure California voted No on Prop 32 and Yes on Prop 30.
And lastly, we elected candidates who understand the needs of working families and will work on behalf of the 99% from Sacramento to Washington DC.
I could not be more proud of the work that we’ve done as a union. All of these accomplishments are because of our amazing members and allies who rode busses to Sacramento, were arrested at the Capitol to protect long term care funding, volunteered thousands of hours on the phones and walked miles going door-to door educating voters on Prop 30 and 32 and then turned those voters out to the polls.
In 2012 we made history in so many ways, but 2012 is only the foundation for the work ahead as we continue our journey to social and economic justice for all working families.
Take a look at our Year End video to see some of the inspiring highlights and get ready for 2013.
Today is extremely significant for us as a union and for those we provide care to. In fact, it’s the first time that IHSS hasn’t been under attack in years. This is all thanks to your involvement and the steps we took as a union in 2012 to transform the future of long term care in California and ensure that our state has the revenues necessary to get us back on track.
In June of last year, thousands of ULTCW members rode busses to the state capitol to raise awareness about the importance of long term care in our state. While we were there once again fighting cuts, we also offered a solution: The Coordinated Care Initiative. The passing of this essential initiative will transform long term care to better serve consumers and care providers for generations, a goal we’ve been working towards for 10 years.
Then in the fall, thousands more ULTCW members picked up phones and hit the streets to reach out to almost a million voters on the importance of voting yes on Proposition 30. On November 6th we saw our hard work pay off when California passed this important proposition that would provide our state with the revenues necessary to help bridge the budget gap and avoid additional cuts to public safety and other vital programs like long term care.
2012 has been an unparalleled year of successes. And yet after all that we have already reported to you on achieving, today we come with more good news.
While the Governor’s proposed budget is just the first step in the state’s budget process, we are optimistic that we’ll be able to continue to protect in-home care from cuts and celebrate another victory when the budget is signed in June.
“It’s a great honor to be entrusted to serve as president of the State Council by my peers. I believe in the promise of a great future for all working families in California because I believe in the dignity, value and commitment of those who do the work every day to make California ‘the Golden State’. I look forward to this opportunity to help lead SEIU’s efforts throughout the state while continuing my work as president of SEIU ULTCW.”
SEIU CALIFORNIA ELECTS LAPHONZA BUTLER AS ITS NEW PRESIDENT
LOS ANGELES (January 16, 2013) – Today, California leaders representing the Locals of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) elected Laphonza Butler as the new president of the California SEIU State Council.
“I can’t think of anyone better to lead the California SEIU State Council than Laphonza Butler,” said Bob Schoonover, president of SEIU Local 721. “Laphonza’s passion and dedication to promoting economic equality for the members of SEIU, the communities in which they live and work and all working families in California will benefit us all.”
Over the years, Butler has served in numerous SEIU leadership roles on behalf of working people employed in a variety of industries including healthcare, public sector, hospitality, janitorial and security. She currently serves as the President of SEIU’s United Long Term Care Workers union which represents 180,000 in home care providers and skilled nursing facility workers throughout the state.
“It’s a great honor to be entrusted to serve as president of the State Council by my peers,” said Butler. “I believe in the promise of a great future for all working families in California because I believe in the dignity, value and commitment of those who do the work every day to make California ‘the Golden State’. I look forward to this opportunity to help lead SEIU’s efforts throughout the state while continuing my work as president of SEIU ULTCW.”
Butler’s passion for advocating and leading on behalf of workers and those they serve is grounded in her own personal journey. Growing up in a household where her Mom worked multiple low wage jobs in order to provide for her three children, Butler experienced first-hand the challenges faced by working families who did not have a voice on the job or the power of a union to improve their conditions. Early on, she sought a path that would ensure she contributed to bringing back the values of dignity and respect for workers and to be an architect of the changes needed to promote social and economic justice for all.
Butler succeeds Bill A. Lloyd, who leaves to become a Senior Advisor to SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry.
After a two year struggle to get the LIHP off the ground, the county is now poised to begin insurance enrollment of county residents making 100% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Additionally, a waiting list will be created which acts as a pipeline for MEDICAL eligible community members to apply for health coverage when Obamacare begins in January 2014.
“I feel GREAT,” says Mario Torres a COPA core team leader for St. Marys of the Natividad Catholic Church and an Executive Board member of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers. “A couple of hour’s ago I was just a number. Now sooner than later I will have an Doctor’s appointment, and that feels GREAT.”
The fight for implementing the LIHP was touch and go up to the very end. The Friday before the Board of Supervisors vote, county staff were digging in their heals and were dead set against anything more than 20% of the Federal Poverty Level which would have dramatically reduced who would be eligible for the insurance.
COPA Leaders continued pushing and didn’t give up. The day of the vote, county staff finally relented and accepted the higher FPL limit and Simon Salinas and Jane Parker COPA allies on the Board of Supervisors inserted the waiting list as part of the motion to approve the program.
COPA is an affiliate of Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation. COPA has an institutional membership of 24 churches and non-profit organizations and will soon include the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council as a member.
Over the weekend of January 11, members gathered at coffee shops, living rooms, and even McDonalds to learn lobbying strategies. They plan to put them into practice immediately during lobby visits in the five supervisor districts of Mendocino County.