December 2014

2014: Our Drive to Dignity

Check out our 2014 End-of-the-Year Video!

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

 

With just days left before we welcome 2015, our calendars for the year to come are already filling up as we prepare to continue the work of our Dignity agenda.  But before we tackle the challenges that lie ahead, it’s important that we take a moment to reflect on and grow from the incredible victories we were able to bring to the lives of caregivers, consumers, and all who call California home – victories that were only possible because of the hard work and dedication of our ULTCW members, staff, and supporters.

 

In 2014, our members continued down the path to Dignity with a commitment to fight for Quality JobsQuality Healthcare, and Quality of Life for all who call California home. Our work for quality jobs was highlighted by unprecedented victories, from nursing home facility improvements and fair contracts for workers, to maintaining continuity of care for home care consumers, and winning overtime, wait time, and travel time for the first time in history for In-Home Supportive Services workers. We made tremendous strides in winning Quality Healthcare as one quarter of all Americans who lacked healthcare coverage before the Affordable Care Act now have the coverage they need.. We helped bring a Quality of Life to millions of immigrants who have lived in the shadows for decades and now have access to the light at the end of the tunnel through the President’s executive order.  And we made clear that the American Dream can never be fully realized until Justice and safety prevail in every community across the Golden State and the United States.

 

But even with such historic victories, our fight for Dignity is far from over.

 

Looking to 2015, we do so with much excitement as we will continue to build on our members’ success and look further down the road. In addition to our work to restore the 7% cut to IHSS hours, place workers on a pathway to $15 an hour, give unorganized workers a voice in the workplace, and achieve true comprehensive immigration reform for all, we will prepare for the Presidential race in 2016 and ensure that candidates seeking the White House cannot ignore the needs of providers and consumers of long term care.  We will also continue our work to create a future in which working families have access to the American Dream and are no longer living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet because of low pay, irregularly scheduled hours, wage theft, denial of sick days, insecure retirement, and other forms of exploitation and mistreatment.

 

As renowned computer scientist Alan Kay once said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”  And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing in the year ahead as we invent a future where every individual is valued, where their work is rewarded, where our communities flourish, and where our families have opportunities to grow and thrive.

 

Happiest New Year & Holiday Season!

 

In Solidarity,

 

Laphonza Butler

President, SEIU ULTCW

 

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Cambridge Nursing Home Workers Win Big in Healthcare, Wages & More!

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Sisters and Brothers,

It gives us immense pleasure to announce that through almost 6 months of bargaining and mediation, the workers at Cambridge Monrovia, Cambridge Lynwood, and Cambridge Riverside Nursing home facilities, have reached a tentative agreement with management!

This is a major victory for the 255 members who have earned a three year term of agreement, wage scale adjustment including retro pay, model contract language, proper sick leave/vacation representation, and health maintenance at 100%. These highlights of the benefits earned through the hard work and dedication of the bargaining committee have also paved the way for our long term care members across the state to move forward and achieve the same victories in the future. We would like to take this time to extend our congratulations and invite workers from these facilities to join the bargaining committee in voting on the ratification of this agreement on December 23rd 2014.

In Solidarity,

Laphonza Butler
President, SEIU ULTCW

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Happy Hanukkah/Chanukah! No matter how you spell it, we join in the celebration of the Festival of Lights!

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Happy Hanukkah! Happy Chanukah! No matter how you spell it, we join in the celebration of the Festival of Lights!

 

On the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 25th of the month of “Kislev,” and continues for eight days. The name, Hanukkah, comes from the Hebrew phrase, “they rested on the 25th,” noting the anniversary of the end of an important rebellion.
In 175 BCE, when Antiochus IV Epiphanes gained control of Judea, he outlawed Judaism. For 10 years, he desecrated the Holy Temple, and oppressed the Jewish people, until the Maccabees (also known as the Hasmoneans) organized an uprising that led to the defeat of their oppressors.

 

According to scripture, the menorah (a traditional candelabrum) was to be lighted in the Holy Temple, and remain so for eight days. There was only enough fuel to light the menorah for one day, yet the flame did not extinguish even long after the oil ran out.

 

On Hanukkah, Jewish people around the world celebrate religious freedom, and commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of the people of Judea, as well as the miracle of eternal light.

 

Each day, candles on a nine-branched candelabrum are lighted, starting with one candle and adding one more each day. The candle used to light the others is known as the “shamash.” Blessings over the candles are chanted and festive songs are sung, commemorating the Maccabean Revolt.

 

Children (and adults) play a game using a dreidel, a spinning top that shows four Hebrew letters: nun, gimel, hey, shin, which spell out the phrase “A great miracle happened there.” (In Israel, one letter is changed: nun, gimel, hey, pey, to stand for the phrase, “A great miracle happened here”). It is also customary to give gelt (chocolate coins) as a small gift.

 

To wish someone a Happy Hanukkah, in Hebrew say “Hanukkah Sameach,”Chag Sameach,” or if you want to show off, say “Chag Urim Sameach!

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Attention IHSS Providers! New Info. from CA Dept. of Social Services:

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Free Training on How to Complete New 2015 IHSS Timesheets!

ULTCW’s developed an animated video to walk you through how to fill out your timesheet.  This step-by-step video addresses common errors that could otherwise result in caregivers not being paid on time.

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Our Youth Convince LAUSD Schools to Support Immigration Action!

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On December 9, Children Over Politics founders, Yamlix Rustrian, and Belle Lopez, daughter of nursing home worker, and SEIU ULTCW Executive Board Member, Dina Lopez, went before the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.

As a result, the Board moved unianimously to help ensure that District schools are “safe havens” in support of President Obama‘s immigration action.

Administrative Relief, announced last month, potentially gives deportation relief 5 million undocumented adults and children.

A resolution jointly introduced by board members Steve Zimmer and Monica Garcia at the urging of SEIU Local 99, SEIU USWW, SEIU ULTCW, SEIU California State Council, and the California Table, pledges that the District will develop a plan to assist any students needing help with immigration records or applications.

LAUSD announced plans to send a letter home with students advising their their parents and guardians to be cautious of ‘so-called ‘notarios’ and dishonest lawyers who prey on the hopes of individuals and families seeking a better life.

The letter was signed by representatives of LAUSD, SEIU Local 99 and UTLA. Before the board meeting, Garcia and Zimmer held a press conference with leaders of the two unions.

Here is the full text of the resolution unanimously approved by LAUSD’s Board of Education on December 9, 2014:

Ms. García, Mr. Zimmer – Uniting Families and Strengthening America

Whereas, The Los Angeles Unified School District has the responsibility to protect the educational rights of all children and serve those who comply with laws that mandate compulsory education;

Whereas, Our success as a District depends on students that are ready to learn, families that encourage learning outside of the classroom, educators and support staff with high expectations of success, and a community that demands 100 percent graduation;

Whereas, The District embraces all students and families, regardless of citizenship, on their quest for the American dream;

Whereas, Like education, citizenship is an important symbol of full membership and participation in society that should be encouraged, not barred;

Whereas, When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was initiated, the District responded to the call with solutions to improve records systems, and support for current and former students to obtain their school transcripts;

Whereas, The District launched the Student Enrollment and Placement Assistance (SEPA) Center to facilitate enrollment and adaptation to newly arriving immigrant students to District schools;

Whereas, Partner organizations have held many DACA informational workshops across the District, educating hundreds of students and families that would qualify for the program; Bd. of Ed.

Whereas, Labor, community and faith based organizations continue to band together to stand as one to provide these children and their families dignity and justice;

Whereas, Our District family of students, parents, teachers, educators, and support staff continue to assist in the dissemination of information and resources for our impacted families and stand ready to assist with President Obama’s most recent action;

Whereas, Students should not be punished for their immigration status. Instead, they should be given recognition for their sacrifice, hard work, and determination;

Whereas, President Obama’s executive action to address this immigration crisis, including the expansion of DACA, the opportunity for work permits, and reducing the likelihood for family separations, will benefit many District families;

Whereas, This executive action is a victory for a broad coalition of immigrant rights, labor, and student activists, like our DREAMers, across the nation and here in Los Angeles – the epicenter of the immigrant rights movement;

Whereas, Our District will be ready once again to help eligible students and their families;

Whereas, Immigration is a federal responsibility and a comprehensive approach to solve our broken immigration system would strengthen our District and the economy of our country and allow aspiring citizens to make an even greater contribution to our communities;

Whereas, The executive action is a step in the right direction and we continue to require a permanent Comprehensive Immigration Reform solution from Congress;

Whereas, We hope to see the day when the children we welcome in the District will be equally embraced in our society and that the lessons we teach in our classrooms about equality, inclusion, and tolerance no longer contradict the laws that govern our country; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District stands in solidarity with President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform and encourages subsequent measures that will involve even more families in relief from deportation;

Resolved further, That the Board exhorts Congress to pass a permanent solution to fix our broken immigration system;

Resolved further, That the Board embraces the opportunity to work with the federal government and partner organizations to coordinate and collaborate as it relates to this executive action;

Resolved further, That the Superintendent prepare all options to assist eligible students and their families for President Obama’s executive action on immigration when the application and guidelines are released by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services;

Resolved further, That the Board requests that the Superintendent work with the Office of Instruction and the Student Involvement Development and Empowerment Unit to develop a plan for engaging high school students to become a volunteer force to assist families and eligible applicants in the information and application process around the executive action; and, be it finally

Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be sent to each member of Congress.

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SEIU ULTCW Proudly Celebrates International Human Rights Day!

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Today we proudly celebrate International Human Rights Day!

On 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration arose directly from the inhumanity experienced during World War II and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled.

That said, there are many misconceptions about human rights. Please take this quiz to find out how much you really know about your internationally recognized and affirmed human rights:

http://theelders.org/article/human-rights-quiz

#HiumanRightsDay #Rights365

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SEIU President Mary Kay Henry on Non-indictment in Choking Death of Eric Garner

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SEIU President Mary Kay Henry Statement on Non-indictment in Choking Death of Eric Garner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Published 7:46 PM Eastern – Wednesday, December 3, 2014Beau Boughamer, 202/765-9143, beau.boughamer@seiu.org

WASHINGTON–SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement in support of national demonstrations aimed at fighting to fix America’s broken criminal justice systems:

“Intense grief and outrage fell upon the SEIU family today with the news of a non-indictment decision in the choking death of Eric Garner by a Staten Island Grand Jury. Our hearts are with the children and family of Mr. Garner, at this trying time. No family should have to live under constant anxiety and dread of what may befall their loved ones at the hands of a broken criminal justice system every time they leave the house.”

“From the streets of Ferguson to Times Square in New York, our communities have come together in demonstration to demand a fix to a criminal justice system that treats communities of color by a different standard. The growing voices and cries in our streets, remind us over and over that injustices against our communities and children of color reverberate nationwide and send America spiraling backward in our quest for fairness and justice for all.

“America will never truly thrive as a nation until every human being is respected and every community has equal opportunity to thrive. We applaud the Department of Justice’s decision to investigate the tragic taking of Eric Garner’s life. To ensure that the criminal justice system holds everyone equal under the law, regardless of the color of their skin or the zip code in which they live, policies and practices must change across the board. We will not rest in this effort until America is a more just society where all lives matter.”

 

 

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On Thurs., Dec. 4 Join Us As We Fight for $15! #homecare15 #nursinghome15

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Thursday, December 4, 2014

CONTACT: Shannon Garth-Rhodes, shannongarthrhodes@gmail.com, (832) 545-1851

Elizabeth Brennan, elizabeth.brennan@berlinrosen.com, (213) 999-2164

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On Second Anniversary of Fight for $15,

LOS ANGELES FAST-FOOD WORKERS TO STRIKE AS MOVEMENT FOR $15, UNION RIGHTS HITS 160 CITIES, GROWS IN NEW INDUSTRIES

Airport Workers at LAX to Protest; Home Care Fight for $15 Doubles Reach; Biggest-Ever Fast-Food Strikes as Walkouts Spread to Jackson, Knoxville, Buffalo

Two years after New York City fast-food workers sparked a nationwide movement for $15 an hour and union rights, Los Angeles fast-food workers will walk off the job Thursday, joining strikers in more than 150 cities—the most cities ever.

Baggage handlers, skycaps, wheelchair attendants and aircraft cleaners at Los Angeles International Airport will come together with fast-food workers and home care workers as the Fight for $15 movement continues to grow in new cities and industries. In many cities across the country, the home care workers will be joined in their calls for $15 by their clients.

WHO: Workers from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, Domino’s and other fast-food restaurants; Airport workers; Home care workers and their clients; Councilman Huizer and Councilman Koretz

WHAT: Home care and airport workers join together with striking fast-food workers.

WHEN: Thursday, December 4th at 5a and 12p

WHERE: TBA and City Hall

The strikes will come one week after Walmart workers led nationwide strikes on and leading up to Black Friday to protest the company’s illegal threats against workers calling for $15 an hour and full-time work. The growing Fight for $15 has been credited with elevating the debate around inequality in the U.S.  Slate called the movement a “stunning success” and wrote that, “dedicated fast-food workers have managed to completely rewire how the public and politicians think about wages.” What seemed like a far-fetched goal—$15 an hour—is now a reality in SeaTac and Seattle, where Bloomberg News said the city adopted “the rallying cry of fast-food workers” and where local low-wage airport workers played a leading role in winning the historic wage increase. In November, San Francisco became the third city in the U.S. to adopt a $15 minimum wage, and since the first strike in 2012, 7.6 million low-wage workers across the country have gotten raises through local ballot measures, city and state legislation and contract negotiations.

“The fast-food giants have seemed clumsy, and wrong-footed by the surge of protest,” according to the New Yorker, responding to the workers by telling them to get a second job, sing away their stress and apply for public assistance. But fast-food workers have responded by turning up their movement. At their first nationwide convention in Chicago last summer, they vowed to do whatever it takes to win $15 and union rights, and in September, nearly 500 were arrested during strikes that hit 150 cities. Now, inspired by the bold national actions of fast-food workers, home care and airport workers are joining together for higher pay and union rights.

The Fight for $15 is drawing support from key political figures. President Obama praised the fast-food workers, saying in a Labor Day speech that they are, “organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity.” And Hillary Clinton applauded them in a speech to leading Democrats, calling the fast-food workers’ fight for higher pay, “a movement that is not waiting for Washington with its gridlock and grandstanding.” The urgent need for solutions to America’s low-wage crisis is already emerging as a key issue in the run-up to the 2016 election. In the New York Times, David Leonhardt wrote, “[a]s the 2016 presidential campaign begins to stir, the central question will be how both parties respond to the great wage slowdown.”

 

 

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