May 19, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has changed our world, and it’s been especially hard on the IHSS community. Because our clients are seniors and people with disabilities, they’re at risk to suffer the most severe effects of COVID-19. And because social distancing is not possible when you are caring for another human being, home care providers are at high risk of exposure ourselves. Although we are essential frontline workers like nurses and doctors, we were last in line when it came to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, disinfectants and cleaning supplies.
But in times like these, we have learned who we can really rely on: each other. As soon as the extent of the crisis was clear, caregivers worked together in our union to help each other get through this. Our union hosted a telephone town hall and a series of Facebook live sessions so we could get our questions answered by medical professionals and the California Department of Social Services (DSS). Members in every region have been negotiating deals to procure PPE, doing timesheet trainings and IHSS advocacy by telephone and online, and checking in on each other to make sure everyone in our UDW family is doing okay. We’ve also fought to secure emergency help at the state and federal level, like a three-month suspension of timesheet violations, emergency paid sick leave, and back up care for our clients if we get sick.
But we are not done fighting to win dignity and respect for caregivers, throughout this crisis and beyond. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested all of us, in so many ways. But as caregivers we’re tested every day, and we will get through this crisis the only way we can… together.
UDW Statewide President
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