We are Caregiver Strong: UDW members gather for 16th Constitutional Convention

June 20, 2018

UDW members elected by their peers to be delegates gathered in San Diego on June 7-9 for our 16th Constitutional Convention. Under a slogan that reflects the work we do and what it takes to do it— “Caregiver Strong”—we set a course for UDW’s future that focuses on protecting IHSS, raising the pay and status of caregivers, and standing up for the values we share as working people.

UDW bylaws call for conventions to be held every three years. At convention, we bring our experiences and our wisdom to the table to report on what we’ve accomplished so far and prepare for the challenges that lay ahead of us.

UDW President Editha Adams shared some of our successes and challenges during her President’s report, including: demanding and getting an audit of the IHSS payroll system, winning the option to use online timesheets, overtime pay and restoration of the seven percent cut to IHSS made during the budget crisis. She also talked about the issues we continue to fight: Federal interference in our program from Medicaid cuts and Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) and our most important issue UDW has and will never stop fighting for: raising caregiver pay.

“As I look back on the last three years, I am both proud of what we’ve done and excited for what we can yet accomplish,” said Adams.

When he addressed the convention, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore urged delegates to look to the bigger issues of social justice if we want to truly better life for ourselves and our families.

“As a union, we have always fought for more than just wages and benefits to better our members’ lives,” said Moore. “We know that helping ourselves, our clients and our families means helping our communities and the people in them. UDW is shaping the future by investing in people, always looking for ways we can lift each other up where others try to keep us down.”

Several special guests joined us to show their support for the work that UDW caregivers do. Assemblymember Shirley Weber, AFSCME International President Lee Saunders, President Pro Tem of the California State Senate Toni Atkins and Executive Director of the Solidarity Center Shawna Bader-Blau all addressed our delegates, offering support and perspective for the work caregivers do at home and in their communities. All speakers expressed gratitude and respect for the work that caregivers do.

“I see compassionate people making it possible for the sick and elderly to live in their own homes with comfort and dignity,” said Bader-Blau as she looked around the room.

For UDW member and convention delegate Maria Vega from Orange County, the convention was a valuable learning opportunity. “You learn more, you get to ask questions—everyone’s so helpful!” she said. Vega, who cares for her mother, said she learned about how the union works and is governed, but also about using new technology tools like the UDW App that help her everyday as a caregiver. And, of course, she learned to stay motivated to protect IHSS and our clients. “You keep fighting,” she said, “and you never give up.”

At convention we also passed several resolutions to help guide our future work (see full list below), and made changes to our constitution.

“I felt so privileged to be able to attend,” said UDW caregiver Denise Justice of Santa Barbara County. “Seeing resolutions being passed was very cool and exciting – it gave me the extra push to get out there and be active. The solidarity and comradery of my brothers and sisters at convention was amazing.”

After two days of hard work, we wrapped up convention with a Saturday night gala. Caregivers, who rarely get a night out, put on our dancing shoes and celebrated all that we accomplished together.

 

See pictures from the 2018 UDW Convention here.

 

2018 Convention Resolutions

  1. Restore the 7% Permanently
  2. Fair Labor Standards for Homecare Workers
  3. Stop Electronic Visit Verification
  4. Support Family Caregivers
  5. Universal Long Term Care
  6. Support for Safer Interactions between Law Enforcement and People with Disabilities
  7. Collective Bargaining for Child Care Providers
  8. Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment
  9. In Support of Pay Equity
  10. End Dark Money Interference in California Politics
  11. Affordable Housing
  12. Climate and Electric Vehicles
  13. Support Immigrant Workers
  14. Support of Peace and Justice in Palestine
  15. Support for Cannabis in Healthcare
  16. Protective Supervision
  17. Share of Cost Notification

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