FAQ: Nursing Home Workers

Q: If I’m working at a non-unionized nursing home, can I become a union member?
A: No, you can’t become a unionized nursing home worker until your workplace is unionized?

Q: How can I help my nursing home become unionized? What’s involved?
A: Contact ULTCW 877 698 5829

Q: At a unionized nursing home, which employees are generally union members?
A:The following types of workers are typically union members: certified nursing assistants, dietary (kitchen) workers, maintenance workers, house-keepers, laundry workers, janitors, and, in some cases, licensed vocational nurses.

Q: Which employees are not members?
A: Generally, anyone in a supervisory role is not a union member. This includes administrator, managers, and people with the ability to hire or fire employees.

Q: Once I begin work at a nursing home in a non-supervisory role, am I automatically a full-fledged ULTCW member?
A: No. You have to sign a union membership card before you can be considered a full-fledged member. (Download a ULTCW nursing membership card)

Q: Does it cost anything to sign a card?
A: No.

Q: Once I become a union member, what am I eligible for?
A: Union members are eligible to do the following:
Vote for executive board members and officers (president & vice president)
Receive priority over non-members in union-provided, free training courses
Perform various paid union jobs — like phone-banking, member-organizing, political outreach, and administrative tasks
Receive free transportation to and accommodations at many union events

Q: As a union member, what other services, benefits and discounts am I eligible for?
A: Please see UnionPlus.org [http://www.unionplus.org/] for details.

Q: There are a lot more in-home care workers in ULTCW than nursing workers. Are nursing workers eligible for all the same services, resources and trainings as in-home care workers?
A: Yes, nursing workers have all the same rights and eligibilities as in-home care workers.

Q: Do union dues get automatically deducted from my paycheck?
A: Yes

Q: How much are union nursing dues?
A: For full-time workers, they’re generally $30.66 per month. For part-time employees, they’re $15.50 per month. (Get more details on ULTCW nursing dues)

Q: Can I not pay dues, or pay less?
A: No. If you’re working in a non-supervisory role at a unioninzed nursing home, dues are mandatory and automatically deducted from your paychecks.

Q: What do union go toward?
A: ULTCW is funded through member dues. These dues are put toward the growth of our union (organizing); protecting the rights of our members in the workplace; the advancement of our members through the fight for social justice; and achieving better wages and benefits through contract negotiations. Our union knows that you work hard for your money, so it makes sure that your dues work hard for you!

Q: Why else should I become a union member?
A: Being a member is your opportunity to make your voice heard on issues important to you and your family. It’s your chance to stand up and be counted.

Q: What is COPE?
A: COPE stands for Committee on Political Education. It is our union’s voluntary bi-partisan Political Action Committee used for political and legislative activities. We hold politicians accountable at every level of government, and help our union build the political power to win strong contracts, better benefits and pass laws to protect our jobs. By law, our union cannot use our union dues for political contributions or activities.

Q: How can I contribute to COPE?
A: Click here to for instructions on contributing to SEIU ULTCW COPE.

Q: How does COPE work for us?
A: COPE allows us to dedicate resources behind worker-friendly candidates and help get them elected to school boards and Congress. COPE money is used not only for contributions to candidates, but also voter registration efforts, lobbying, and get-out-the-vote efforts. Funds are also used to introduce and pass legislation that protects SEIU ULTCW members and our families.

Q: Why Is SEIU ULTCW Involved in Politics?
A: Collective bargaining rights, job security, working conditions, and benefits are decided by elected officials. To do an effective job in collective bargaining, we must be involved in electing candidates to school boards, city councils, county commissions, Governor, State Legislature, President, and Congress, who value, who believe in, and who will stand up for long-term careissues at the decision making table.

Q: How much are COPE contributions?
A: The minimum monthly contribution is $7, although many of our members opt to contribute $10, $15 or $20 per month.

Q: How is the Money Used?
A: All COPE money goes into our Political Account for use in local, state, and federal activities only. It does not become part of the general treasury. A portion goes to the SEIU federal PAC at the International office for use in Congressional or U.S. Senate races. COPE money is used not only for contributions to candidates, but also voter registration efforts, lobbying, and get-out-the-vote efforts. Funds are also used to introduce and pass legislation that protects SEIU members and their families.

Q: Who Does SEIU ULTCW Support?
A: We support pro-SEIU, pro-worker candidates in local, state and federal election campaigns. We are bi-partisan and support both Republicans and Democrats who support our issues.

Q: Can you give me an example of the union doing something that directly benefited nursing workers as a whole?
A: For two years ULTCW nursing home workers regularly filled the corridors of the California State Capitol, sent hundreds of thousands of postcards to elected leaders and held statewide media events to raise awareness around the need for additional funding in order to improve nursing home conditions.

Our hard work and determination paid off as we were able to pass Assembly Bill 1629 – The Nursing Home Quality Care Act. This landmark legislation, passed in 2004, would bring more than $900 million in new funding for California’s nursing homes – helping to improve nursing home staffing, recruitment and retention that help promote quality care for residents.

As the driving organization behind AB 1629, we continue to play an active role in making sure that nursing home operators are properly putting these dollars toward these improvements. If we find that these dollars are not being spent appropriately, we take action to hold owners accountable.

Q: What’s a bargaining team, and what does it do?
A: Winning strong contracts is a priority for our members and therefore a priority for our union. In order to win strong contracts, we develop strong nursing home bargaining teams made up of our members like you and provide experienced staff to guide and assist them.

Because nursing home owners often operate chains of nursing homes throughout the state, bargaining often means bringing together members from all over California to form a single statewide bargaining team. This approach has proven very successful, as it helps stop nursing home owners from leveraging one contract against another and playing workers off of each other.

Regardless of whether you work for a large chain or a small nursing home, ULTCW is dedicated to winning the best possible contract that reflects the hard work you do.