May 2015

CUHW joins our family!

California United Homecare Workers (CUHW Local 4034) is continuing to bring dignity to the lives of caregivers, and capitalizing on future opportunities like statewide bargaining, by realigning with two of the strongest homecare unions in California — the United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) and the United Domestic Workers (UDW).

CUHW members have always taken steps to empower the voices of caregivers and consumers, and that’s why uniting with ULTCW and UDW, is best way of maintaining the victories CUHW members and supporters won, while at the same time, building for the future of Long Term Care.

UDW will serve as the primary representative for 11 of counties CUHW once served, and ULTCW will serve as the primary representative for 14 of the counties CUHW once served. All contracts won under CUHW are protected, and won’t need to be renegotiated. And all of CUHW’s priorities, such as the full an immediate restoration of the 7% cut to IHSS made during CA’s economic downturn, are priorities that UDW and ULTCW share.

If you have any questions about this transition, please call 1-800-359-0780.


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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Univision Los Angeles, & SEIU California, Announce Partnership for Statewide Public Forums on Immigration

daca dapa long final

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Univision Los Angeles, & SEIU California, Announce Partnership for Statewide Public Forums on Immigration

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

En Español

LOS ANGELES — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that her office will host a series of statewide public forums in partnership with Univision Los Angeles, Service Employees International Union of California and iAmerica to inform Californians about the impact of President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions. The statewide forums will also serve to warn consumers about potential scams and other fraud targeted at immigrant communities.

The public forums will be hosted in eight California counties including: Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Clara and Stanislaus. The statewide public forums will cover topics ranging from eligibility for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, including to how to avoid being a victim of fraud.

“Because of DAPA and DACA, so many families will be able to get out from living in the shadows. We want to shine a light on a new path that frees them from the lure of predators and con artists,” said Attorney General Harris. “These forums will inform immigrants about their rights and responsibilities under the new programs, helping them on their way to realizing the American Dream.”

“Our community trusts us to provide them with the pertinent information on this very important topic that affects so many,” said Luis Patiño, senior vice president and general manager, Univision Los Angeles. “As a media company, it is our role to not only entertain our viewers, but we have a social responsibility to inform and empower them with the resources and tools that will help them understand complex topics such as this one and these town halls do just that.”

“SEIU members in California are proud to partner with Attorney General Kamala D. Harris to protect California families from exploitation, to promote commonsense immigration reform, and to explain how President Obama’s actions will work once they take effect. These policies will make America and our economy stronger. More students and their parents will be able to fully participate in society,” said SEIU California and SEIU United Long-Term Care President Laphonza Butler.

“Hard-working immigrants who are mothers, fathers and youth contribute to our economy and to our communities and yet every day these families are being ripped apart by a broken immigration system. SEIU appreciates Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’ leadership in bringing justice to immigrant families who are ready to be fully included in the country they call home,” said SEIU-USWW President David Huerta.

FORUM DATES

Modesto:
Saturday, May 30 at 11:00 AM
Argus and Endeavor High School
2555 Lawrence St.
Ceres, CA 95307

Salinas:
Sunday, May 31 at 12:00 PM
Hartnell College (Auxiliary Gym)
411 Central Ave.
Salinas, CA 93901

Fresno:
Saturday, June 13 at 10:00 AM
Manchester Mall
1901 E. Shields Ave.
Fresno, CA

Los Angeles:
Sunday, June 14 at 10:00 AM
Address to be determined

San Jose:
Saturday, June 20 at 10:00 AM
Mayfair Community Center
2039 Kammerer Ave.
San Jose, CA 95116

Bakersfield:
Saturday, June 27, 11:00 AM
Beale Memorial Library Auditorium
701 Truxtun Ave.
Bakersfield CA 93301

San Diego:
Saturday, June 27 at 10:00 AM
LIUNA Hall
4161 Home Ave.
San Diego, CA 92105

Riverside:
Sunday, June 28, 10:00 AM
Address to be determined

Major changes to United States immigration policy, like those contained in President Barack Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions announced in November 2014, often lead to con artists emerging to prey on vulnerable consumers seeking help with immigration services.

In November 2014, Attorney General Harris issued a consumer alert informing Californians of these scams and issuing tips to protect themselves. In December 2014, Attorney General Harris issued a consumer alert informing Californians about possible scams targeting immigrants attempting to obtain a driver’s license under Assembly Bill 60 (AB 60).

In March, Attorney General Harris joined 13 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the U.S. government’s emergency request that President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions be allowed to proceed. The brief called on the Court to stay the preliminary injunction entered in the Southern District of Texas blocking the new immigration program. This week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for an emergency stay.

Attorney General Harris also issued two information bulletins to law enforcement agencies outlining their responsibilities and potential liability for complying with complying with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) federal detainer requests for undocumented immigrants. The updated bulletin issued in June 2014 informed the agencies of new requirements they face since enactment of the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tool Act (TRUST Act) and new federal case law that created legal risk for local law enforcement agencies that voluntarily comply with federal detainer requests.

For additional information regarding these forums please contact SEIU’s media contacts:

English Language
Michael Roth
Email: Mike@paschalroth.com  Phone:916-444-7170

Spanish Language
Maria Elena Jauregui
Email: m.jauregui@ocmedia.cc Phone: 818-355-5291

http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-univision-los-angeles-seiu-ca-announce

 

 

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Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! #AAPIHeritageMonth

aapi month may 2015

 

During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we celebrate the accomplishments of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and we reflect on the many ways they have enriched our Nation. Like America itself, the AAPI community draws strength from the diversity of its many distinct cultures — each with vibrant histories and unique perspectives to bring to our national life.

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Job Posting: Member Action Center (MAC) Organizer

 

Member Action Center (MAC) Organizer

ULTCW Member Action Center (MAC) Organizer:  Looking candidates who are interested in helping workers form, build, and grow our union by answering calls that come into the MAC, and providing assistance to union-represented long-term care workers.

Requirements include:

  • Bilingual in Spanish, Mandarin,Vietnamese, Hmong, or Cantonese
  • Answer inbound calls and/or place outbound calls using computer based phone system, and speaking through a head set or phone handset, may include answer, disconnect, place on hold, conference with another call, make “help desk” call
  • Follow call flow script to gather information on caller and answer questions appropriately.
  • Review, update and create new notes by typing in computer databases.
  • Create follow up work orders (escalations, mail requests, etc.) as needed.  This is done using online forms.
  • Use customer service skills and techniques to resolve caller complaints and concerns
  • Use Standard Operating Procedures for a variety of activities including but not limited to: class registration, verification of eligibility for health insurance benefits, first level investigation of member complaints and/or discipline, etc.
  • Proficiency in computer skills such as work and excel.
  • Passing an entry level test for computer literacy and language skills

If you are interested or know of any member who is interested, please email your resume to jobs@seiu-ultcw.org or fax it to 866-396-2163

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Dignity for All: Celebrate Older Americans’ Month! #OlderAmericansMonth

older americans month

The largest group of home care workers in the country live in Los Angeles and are fighting for a pay raise because 81% live in poverty. Please sign the petition to change this today, and ask 15 of your Facebook friends to do so as well. http://www.wecarela.us/

All across California, nursing home workers are fighting to improve the care each resident receives. There are simply not enough staff in California nursing homes to meet the needs of all nursing home residents. Please sign the petition to fix this today, and ask 15 of your friends to do so as well. bit.ly/sb779

Thank you, and Happy Older Americans’ Month!

***

Older Americans Month dates back to 1963, when President John F. Kennedy designated May as, “Senior Citizens Month,” encouraging the nation to honor the contributions and example of those 65 and older. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation changing the name to, “Older Americans Month,” in recognition of the fact that more and more folks were working, care giving, innovating, leading, starting businesses, and enrolling in school, not just blowing out extra candles on birthday cakes.

This year, President Barack Obama, noted, “For the next 15 years, thousands of Americans will reach retirement age every day, and by 2030, there will be more than twice as many older Americans as there were at the beginning of this century.”

In 2013 there were 44.7 million people in the US 65 and older. By 2060, there will be 98.2 million people in the US 65 and older. This means that more than one in five Americans will 65 and older. 19.7 million will be 85 and older. 2.4 million will be 96 and older. In fact, by 2056 the number of Americans 65 and older will outnumber the population 18 and younger for this first time.

Conventional wisdom tells us that Americans 65 years and older are the most reliable voters. And indeed, 69.8% of those who were eligible to vote who were 65 and older, cast a ballot in the last presidential election. But what is even more staggering is the fact that 71% of those 65 and older were living in homes with computers, that majority of which had a high speed internet connection, at that time. Older Americans are in line at post offices to mail ballots, or at polling places to cast them. And older Americans are online, connected to the Internet and social media.

Those 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of Facebook users in the US, likely to number 55 million by 2020. And that’s why it’s so important for younger generations to reach out to those 65 and older online. And for those 65 and older who are online to reach out to one another. SEIU ULTCW is devoted unconditionally to Long Term Care. And we need you to stand up for those who rely on home care and nursing home care today.

The largest group of home care workers in the country live in Los Angeles and are fighting for a pay raise because 81% live in poverty. Please sign the petition to change this today, and ask 15 of your Facebook friends to do so as well. http://www.wecarela.us/

All across California, nursing home workers are fighting to improve the care each resident receives. There are simply not enough staff in California nursing homes to meet the needs of all nursing home residents. Please sign the petition to fix this today, and ask 15 of your friends to do so as well. bit.ly/sb779

Thank you, and Happy Older Americans’ Month!

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Thousands rally & march in Downtown LA in support of a pathway to $15/hour for caregivers

MASSIVE MARCH & RALLY: TUESDAY, APRIL 14

 

CONTACT: Melissa Uribe (213) 590-9091

Maria Elena Jauregui (818) 355-5291 (español)

Scott Mann (323) 333-4850

 

#WeCareLA

www.WeCareLA.us

 

THOUSANDS OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY HOME CARE PROVIDERS AND SUPPORTERS TO RALLY,

URGE COUNTY SUPERVISORS TO LIFT HOME CARE WORKERS OUT OF POVERTY

 

“We Can’t Survive On $9.65”

 

Los Angeles, CA – As the home care provider workforce struggles to make ends meet on current wages, thousands of caregivers and supporters will march and rally urging L.A. County Supervisors to take action to lift caregivers out of poverty by placing LA County In-Home Support Services (IHSS) providers on a pathway to $15 an hour.

 

L.A. County home care workers provide in-home support for elderly Californians and people with disabilities, yet research shows that 81% of LA IHSS workers live in poverty, 33% rely on public assistance, and 18% depend on CalFresh to feed their families.

 

Last month, the members of SEIU-ULTCW launched their contract negotiation campaign known as We Care LA, followed by the launch of hundreds of billboards throughout L.A. County highlighting the fight for a life of dignity for home care workers and those they care for. Since its launch, the momentum of the We Care LA campaign has steadily increased as hundreds of petitions supporting the campaign have been signed.

 

WHO: Thousands of IHSS providers joined by community and labor leaders, and elected officials

 

WHAT: March and Rally urging L.A. County Supervisors to provide a livable wage to IHSS providers

 

WHEN: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5 AM – Early Morning Live TV Remotes @ Grand Park (N. Hill Street)

8:30 AM – Thousands of Marchers Gather at Plaza Olvera

10:15 AM – March from Plaza Olvera to Grand Park

11:30 AM – Grand Park Rally

 

WHERE: March starting point: Plaza Olvera – 845 N. Alameda St. (at the Gazebo), Los Angeles, CA

March ending point and Rally: Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA

(Area of the park between Grand Ave and N. Hill St.)

 

VISUALS: Thousands of L.A. County home care providers, community and labor supporters carrying large banners and wearing We Care LA shirts. Also, a special guest appearance at Grand Park rally by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc.

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Staff & supporters hold rally outside skilled nursing facility in Compton to support SB 779, a bill to raise staffing levels & per patient hours

Help Fix Nursing Homes: Make SB 779 the Law! #Quality4All

SUPPORT BILL TO ADDRESS UNDERSTAFFING IN NURSING HOMES

SB 779 mandates a staff to patient ratio that would improve quality of care for patients and working conditions for nursing home workers.

Nursing home workers, nursing home residents, and those concerned about long term care, support Senate Bill (SB) 779, a bill introduced by California State Senator, Isadore Hall III (D-South Bay) to address the insufficient number of direct care staff available to provide quality care at the skilled nursing facilities (SNF) at which they work.

Currently under federal law, SNFs must have sufficient nursing staff to provide direct care services to maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident. A US Congress ordered study recommends 4.1 hours of care per resident day (hprd); however, currently California is falling short with a minimum nursing staff standard of 3.2 hprd, thus creating a subpar working environment as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are tasked with tending to the needs of too many patients at a time.

SB 779 would increase the minimum direct care service hours to the US Congress recommended 4.1 hprd and would mandate a specified staff-to-patient ratio that affords a healthier living environment for patients and a quality working environment for nursing home workers.

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Caregivers go to Sacramento to demand Governor Brown keep his promise to pay home care workers overtime, travel & wait time

In 2013, the Obama Administration issued a new rule that helps bridge the gap of inequality for low-wage home care workers by giving them the same overtime protections as other workers and ensure the continued delivery of quality care.

And in 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown followed suit and signed a bill into law allowing home care workers to earn overtime, wait time and travel time pay for the first time in history. Many of these workers are among the working poor, and earn less than $10 per hour. 80% of these workers are women, and 70% are women of color – and these new labor protections would help lift many of them out of poverty.

But just hours before they were due to go into effect, the for-profit home care industry succeeded in temporarily halting these overtime protections in federal court. Now, home care workers are calling on Governor Brown to do the right thing and move forward as planned in California.

Stand up for equality and for California’s seniors, people with disabilities, and all home care workers. Urge Governor Brown to move forward with overtime, wait time and travel time pay.

 

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Elba Ramos Gomez, has 27 years of home care experience, 2 daughters to support, & earns $9.65/hour

Long Beach’s middle-class comfort dwindles in a world of low-paying jobs


Elba Ramos is a home health care worker that struggles to live on near minimum wages in Long Beach Friday, March 06, 2015, Long Beach, CA. Ramos is also a member of the SEIU that is seeking higher wages in their contract with the county. Steve McCrank — Staff Photographer

 

POSTED: |

The kind of employment that leads to financial success is getting harder to find.

Sure, there have always been tycoons who figure out how the world is going to change before anyone else does. Rockefeller had oil. Ford had the assembly line. Zuckerberg has data.

But extreme wealth is just that — extreme. People dream, if an old TV show is to be believed, of champagne and caviar. But if Americans really believe their own narratives, success for many has been defined as being in the middle.

OK, maybe the upper middle. Steak trumps hamburger.

But how does one attain — or keep — a traditional middle-class lifestyle when the jobs that used to get people in such a position have gone away?

“One of the reasons why you haven’t seen as much wage growth is due to the jobs that we’re generating,” said Jordan Levine of Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles research and consulting firm.

The way Levine sees it, California is becoming a “barbell economy” with relatively heavy job growth in high- and low-wage occupations while the middle gets squeezed.

But why? Levine contends California has become too expensive for employers to hire middle-wage workers. A lot of the blame for those high costs, he said, can be placed on the state environmental laws and other regulations that make California a more expensive state for doing business.

Besides employers’ direct costs of complying with state requirements, Levine said there is an indirect cost created by regulations and NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard) that has driven up housing costs to a point where its too expensive for businesses to hire Californians, who require higher wages than their counterparts in other states simply to have a place to live.

“I think it’s something that’s going to be a long-term challenge, and it really comes down to the cost of living,” Levine said. “If you look at who’s moving out, it’s people making $50,000 or less.”

PAYCHECK PROBLEMS

The decline of manufacturing employment, which shrank 18 percent in Los Angeles County from 2007 through 2013, is perhaps the trend most commonly associated with the vanishing middle class.

“The biggest place where you’re seeing that is the closure of the C-17 plant,” said Erick Serrato, deputy director of Long Beach-based Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network, a public agency created to help people find work. Its duties include sending counselors to job sites where major layoffs occur, pointing workers to new jobs or training that may help them switch careers.

 

“There are a lot of individuals who are facing new realities with their wages,” Serrato said. “What we do is try to connect them with a new area of the economy that’s growing,”

The five areas where Serrato said local job seekers may have the most success finding work are in health care, goods movement, advanced manufacturing, hospitality and retail and construction.

Official numbers bear out Levine’s assertion that the jobs being created tend not to be the ones that give people the means to live a comfortable lifestyle.

From 2007 to 2013, the last full year for which official data are available, the two private sector industries with the greatest rates of job growth in Los Angeles County were the health and education sector (45 percent) and leisure and hospitality (10 percent).

Nominal wages, that is the actual amounts, for Los Angeles County workers in the health and education sector, which includes doctors, nurses, teachers and home health aides, fell 6 percent to $810 per week, according to the state Employment Development Department.

In the traditionally low-paying leisure and hospitality sector, nominal wages rose 7 percent from 2007 to 2013, from $601 to $646 per week in Los Angeles County.

When inflation is taken into account, however, workers may as well have taken a pay cut; $647 in 2013 amounts to $575 in 2007 dollars.

MORE BAD NEWS

Low-paying jobs are among the ones that are projected to be the most in-demand in Los Angeles County.

The state’s Employment Development Department projects job openings for personal care aides, who earn roughly $21,000 per year, will exceed those for any other line of work until 2020.

Elba Ramos Gomez, 43, of Long Beach has been a home health care worker for 27 years. Gomez has two daughters and a husband who spends most of his time in Las Vegas to care for his ill father, she said.

At a wage that falls just short of $10 per hour, she said she sometimes has to choose between rent, groceries and utility bills and is rarely able to treat her 18- and 6-year old daughters to outings.

“You have to think, did I pay my bills or my rent? Can I buy food? Can I take my kids to the museum?,” she said.

Still, Gomez derives a great deal of personal satisfaction from caring for seniors, and this is what she said she tells people who are surprised to learn she commutes from Long Beach to La Mirada to care for her clients:

“I get in love with my seniors,” she said. “You are not doing it for the money.”

Only two job classifications among the top 10, in terms of projected job openings, come with annual salaries greater than $35,000. Those jobs would go to registered nurses and professionals at the general management level.

This is a trend that worries policy makers like Hasan Ikhrata, who is the executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments, an agency that oversees regional matters, such as planning transportation projects for most of Southern California.

Ikhrata said Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties have regained the jobs lost during the recession, but some two-thirds of those jobs pay wages amounting to less than $22,000 per year.

“It’s not a good indication of the future. If people don’t make enough money to move to the middle class, to move the social ladder upwards, they’re not going to have enough money to buy a house. They’re not going to make money to buy a lot of stuff,” he said. “That’s going to affect the economy overall.”

Like Levine, Ikhrata put forth regulatory reform as being necessary to rebalance economic trends toward middle-income jobs. Ikhrata said current regulations result in infrastructure work taking some 17 years to complete.

Shaving five years from that time line, could save taxpayers billions of dollars and create more jobs for construction workers.

LABOR MOVES

Meanwhile, as employment levels have grown in relatively low-paying occupations, some labor unions have lately focused much of their energies seeking to organize workers on the lower rungs of the ladder — such as hotel workers and Latino supermarkets in Long Beach — and retail and fast-food workers across the country.

Fact is, Americans now live and work in a country where the prospect of $9-an-hour retail jobs at Wal-Mart is the stuff of national news.

In Long Beach, union-aligned hotel workers persuaded voters to approvea minimum wage ballot measure in 2012. Measure N set what is now a $13.53 per hour wage for employees of large nonunion Long Beach hotels where workers do not exercise collective bargaining.

People in other industries, such as restaurants and home health services, are seeking similar gains.

Fast-food workers have held public rallies to demand a $15 per hour wage. Los Angeles’s City Council last year adopted a law increasing hotel workers’ wage there to $15.37 an hour. Hotel groups filed a federal lawsuit against the L.A. measure and business advocates have contended it will force hotels to lay off workers.

In Los Angeles County, United Long Term Care Workers are trying to win that kind of wage in newly-started negotiations with county officials.

Those currently making less than $10 an hour, including Gomez, often cannot afford basic necessities, said Melissa Uribe, a spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union – United Long Term Care Workers.

“The most basic necessities that they need, making $9.65 an hour does not help them achieve,” she said.

 

Reach the author at andrew.edwards@langnews.comor follow Andrew on Twitter: @AndrewEdwardsLB.

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IHSS Providers ask Monterey County Board of Supervisors for Livable Wage

SEIU caregivers implore supervisors for ‘livable wage’

Working for $11.50 per hour, Denise Turley said Tuesday, she couldn’t afford to buy her 82-year-old mother a winter coat.

So, when Loretta Halbert broke a tooth, Turley said she wrapped her wheelchair-bound mother in a light jacket and trekked to the nearby dentist’s office in Marina.

Despite the blowing wind, Halbert declined Turley’s own coat, Turley said.

“[Then], some lady stopped in the intersection, jumped out of her car, opened her trunk and pulled a coat out,” Turley said. “Her husband had just died. … She wrapped my mother in it and told us to have a nice day.”

She added, “That’s how we’re getting by.”

On Tuesday, Turley asked the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to embody the same giving spirit when considering the In Home Long Term Supportive Services employee contract.

County-employed caregivers provide in-home services to about 5,000 elderly and disabled patients. The service maintains the clients’ dignity, rather than forcing them to live in a health-care facility, said David Werlin, the northern California director for United Long Term Care Workers. ULTCW is under the Service Employees International Union.

The California Department of Social Services administers the program. Locally, the program is run by the Monterey County Department of Social Services and, therefore, the Board of Supervisors controls all contract negotiations, Werlin said.

Contract negotiations have been under way for over a year, Werlin said. The contract, which represents about 3,000 Monterey County employees, expired last year, he said.

Just before the 10:30 a.m. supervisors’ meeting, about 20 SEIU members picketed in front of the Monterey County Government Building on West Alisal Street in Salinas. They are seeking better wages and no reduction in their health care benefits, Werlin said. The latter is particularly important to Turley, who is living with a mechanical kidney.

“They offered us a 5-cent raise if we gave up our health care benefits,” she said. “It would cost me 50 hours of work to pay for my health care.”

Over the past two years, employer health care contributions have dropped markedly, Turley said.

Two years ago, the SEIU caregivers received $500 in employer health care monthly contributions. A year ago, that dropped to $400. In July, Turley said caregivers are slated to receive only $300 a month in employer health care contributions.

“The Board has proposed taking away health care and using it to pay wages,” Werlin explained. “We need both. That’s completely unacceptable.”

Wages have remained stagnant since 2008 despite growing cost of living expenses. In addition to low wages, hours have been slashed considerably, Turley said. Statewide, employees have seen hours reduced between 7 and 14 percent over the past two years.

For David Alvarado, a six-year caregiver, that means he works 62 hours per month, down from 70.21 hours monthly before he had hernia and blocked colon surgeries last year. As a result, Alvarado now receives CalFresh and Medi-Cal benefits, but — at $562 monthly income — can’t afford costly rent in Monterey County.

Instead, he sleeps in the van he parks outside his client’s Housing and Urban Development-subsidized home. Certain rules prevent him from living in the home, he explained.

“I wish a lot of you guys would come out and live in our shoes,” Alvarado implored the supervisors Tuesday.

Turley echoed Alvarado’s comments. Between four clients — her mother, her father and two others — and her own medical constraints, she works between 20 and 25 hours per week.

“It’s not enough,” she said.

Others told similar tales of extreme poverty.

Reyna Pacheco, an 11-year caregiver, works with two clients. To make ends meet, Pacheco said she shops at yard sales.

“I’ll tell you how we’ve been surviving,” she said. “We go to garage sales to buy clothes, Goodwill, Salvation Army, that’s how we provide for our families. Even cooking utensils, that’s how we shop.”

She added, “We do survive, but we need a little bit more dignity.”

Pacheco acknowledged Monterey County is operating on a strained budget, but the SEIU caregivers are only asking for a sliver of the pie.

“What’s 50 cents [an hour]?” she asked.

Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter @allison_salnews #salinas.

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