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
Fight for Our Health Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2016
CONTACT: Mike Roth, 916.444.7170; Maria Elena Jauregui, 818.355.5291 (Spanish-language)
Bakersfield, CA – Today, Congressional Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’s Central Valley District became Ground Zero in a massive effort to fight back against Trump and GOP proposals that would strip 30 million Americans of health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and create chaos in the health care system we all count on.
“As a constituent of Congressman McCarthy, I am here to tell him we can’t go back to being uninsured,” said Carmen Morales-Board, a nurse practitioner who has worked at Kern Medical for 24-1/2 years and is an active member of SEIU’s statewide Nurse Alliance. “It means that my patients will have to go without their prescriptions to give their kids lunch money. Republicans promised to replace Obamacare, but they have no plan – meanwhile our patients’ lives are hanging in the balance.”
Over 100 of Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s constituents who stand to lose health coverage under a Trump Administration and GOP Congress rallied outside his office to deliver a “Prescription for a Healthy New Year” that includes strengthening the ACA to protect the five million Californians who have health coverage under the landmark health care law. Last month, McCarthy told reporters he supports repealing the ACA with no replacement plan in place for the millions who would lose coverage, breaking with years of GOP claims to “repeal AND replace” the ACA.
McCarthy’s district includes portions of Tulare and Kern counties, which have the greatest proportion of residents insured by Medi-Cal in the state. McCarthy’s leadership position and the striking number of his own constituents who would lose healthcare under President-elect Trump and GOP Congressional Republicans have made Bakersfield Ground Zero in the fight to protect healthcare for millions of Americans.
Over the last 8 years, California has done more to expand health care access, expanding care to more than five million people in our state. Now, the progress that we have made is at risk under a Trump administration and GOP Congress:
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The Fight for Our Health Coalition includes Health Access, SEIU California, SEIU Local 521, SEIU-UHW, SEIU Local 2015, UFW Foundation, Dolores Huerta Foundation, UDW/ AFSCME Local 3930, UWUA 246, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Project Inform, CIR/SEIU, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Community Health Initiative of Kern County, Faith in Action Kern County, California Partnership, Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Central Labor Council.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2016
Statement by UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in response to the 2016 election results:
“The election has come to an end, and the results are impacting voters differently throughout the country. While some are excited that their candidate was elected, others are left angry or confused. It’s important now to remember that we can be sad, we can be mad, but we cannot be deterred.
To everyone that knocked on doors, phone banked, and exercised their right to vote for their candidate – thank you.
This is a democracy, and we must hold our leaders accountable. We must work together to ensure that the President, as well as leaders in the House and Senate work for all Americans, including people of color, women, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, caregivers, seniors, and people with disabilities. No matter who you voted for, it’s time for the negative rhetoric to stop, and for us to regroup and come together. This election cycle was divisive, but going forward UDW caregivers will continue to unite not behind our politics, but our shared goal of protecting and strengthening the home care program and our communities.”
United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a homecare union made up of nearly 94,000 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.
My name is Ana Fierro, and I’m a family child care provider in Modesto. My mother-in-law’s influence iswhat convinced me to open my own daycare, and 12 years later I’m still going strong. I love caring for children, and I love my work.
By Clyde Weiss, AFSCME, August 19, 2016
The need to make child care more affordable for families has been an issue in the Presidential race. But not enough attention has been given to the people – mostly women – who provide that care. That’s too bad, because nearly half of the nation’s child care workers are in families that receive food stamps, welfare or other federal support, according to a new report.
Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley found that, last year, 46 percent of child care providers lived in families enrolled in at least one of the social safety net programs: SNAP (food stamps), TANF (welfare), Medicaid or the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). That compares with slightly over a quarter of the total U.S. workforce that is enrolled in such programs.
These providers – an “almost exclusively female workforce,” according to the researchers – earn a median hourly wage of just $9.77. That’s less than a janitor is paid, on average. “Nationally, child care workers are nearly in the bottom percentile (second) when all occupations are ranked by annual earnings,” the report said.
“Our nation relies on their knowledge and skills to provide high-quality early care and education to our increasingly diverse population of children and families,” the authors wrote. “Yet our system of preparing, supporting, and rewarding early educators in the United States remains largely ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable.”
Without a change in state and federal policies that address this issue, they added, “our nation will remain unable to deliver on the promise of developmental and learning opportunities for all children.”
The authors – led by Marcy Whitebook, director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California-Berkeley – recommended several strategies to improve child care worker compensation, including identifying ongoing sources of funding “to ensure sustainable raises in base pay, in order to substantially improve the economic circumstances of early educators and to ensure the ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce.”
It will take political willpower to increase the wages of child care providers, but the consequences of not doing so may be felt by the next generation.
“We’re entrusting children to people who are really struggling to feed their own families,” said Whitebook in an interview about the report in the Washington Post. “They’re managing all this stress, which is distracting to all the important work they have to do.”
It’s at the state level where the changes must be made. “State policies play a powerful role in shaping early childhood jobs and, in turn, the quality of early learning experiences available to young children,” the report notes.
AFSCME, which represents thousands of child care workers nationwide, supports state initiatives to raise child care compensation. In California, UDW Homecare Providers Union/AFSCME Local 3930 is working with state lawmakers to raise subsidy rates for family child care providers who earn, on average, just $4.98 per hour after accounting for expenses, according to the coalition, “Raising California Together,” of which UDW is a member. Higher rates will make it “easier for them to afford their work-related expenses and keep their day cares open for business,” wrote UDW Exec. Dir. Doug Moore in a recent column on our blog.
“These problems add up to decreased access to quality, affordable child care and early learning opportunities for our children,” wrote Moore, also an AFSCME International vice president. “But there is a solution: Make an investment in family child care providers to increase families’ access to child care.”
Hillary Clinton, AFSCME’s endorsed candidate for President, is committed to raising wages for America’s child care workforce. “Hillary will create the Respect and Increased Salaries for Early Childhood Educators (RAISE) initiative,” her campaign website says. “In line with Clinton’s Care Workers Initiative, RAISE will fund and support states and local communities that work to increase the compensation of child care providers and early educators and provide equity with kindergarten teachers by investing in educational opportunities, career ladders, and professional salaries.”
AFSCME will work to elect Secretary Clinton so she can carry out her pledge to the nation’s child care workers. They – and the next generation – depend on her.
UDW caregivers stood alongside thousands of public service workers to declare we will NEVER QUIT at AFSCME’s 42nd International Convention last week in Las Vegas. “It truly was a learning experience,” said Susana Saldana, an IHSS provider for her son and first time convention delegate from Merced County. “I enjoyed meeting people from all over the country and learning best practices from fellow union members.”
UDW is a California affiliate of the national union AFSCME, and including UDW’s over 94,000 home care providers, AFSCME represents 1.6 million workers around the country. AFSCME members are public servants who work as nurses, 911 dispatchers, law enforcement officers, child care providers, sanitation workers, home care providers, and more. What we have in common is a commitment to protecting public programs like IHSS, and to winning social and economic justice for working families.
At the same time, membership in a powerful national union helps us protect IHSS. While we fight back against threats to the program here in California, AFSCME is able to help us protect home care in Washington D.C., where many decisions are made that impact funding for IHSS.
Every two years, UDW members serve as delegates to AFSCME’s International Convention. At convention, we vote in support or opposition to resolutions that set the union’s agenda and priorities.
This year, we stood in favor of a resolution to demand stronger long term care services and supports for Americans who rely on services like in-home care. And we gave strong support to resolutions demanding an increase in the minimum wage. “No one who works full-time should have to go home and struggle to provide for their families,” said UDW delegate and IHSS provider LaTanya Cline from San Diego County, in regards to the resolution.
UDW caregiver Nicanora Montenegro, an IHSS provider from San Diego, asked convention delegates to stand in support of a resolution on protecting the right to vote. “Our country has changed, but we have a long way to go,” said Nicanora. “Our vote is our voice…voting rights of people of color in particular must be protected and expanded.”
Many of us addressed the entire delegation to talk about our latest victories here in California. Placer County Chair William Reed spoke about our recent overtime pay win. “This victory was only possible because we stood together and we did not quit,” said William. “And we will keep fighting until home care workers all over the country have the same rights and benefits as all workers.”
Convention is also the time that we elect the leaders who will represent UDW as AFSCME International Vice Presidents. This year, the delegation reelected UDW Executive Director Doug Moore and Johanna Hester to these positions. During the nomination process, we thanked Doug and Johanna for their leadership through some of our union’s biggest fights, including ending cuts to the IHSS program and growing our union despite threats like the Harris vs. Quinn Supreme Court decision.
But convention wasn’t only about resolutions and elections, we also took action! Thousands of us marched in solidarity with workers who are trying to form a union at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. Despite winning their union election in December, Trump International has refused to begin contract negotiations and has fired and intimidated workers who are union supporters. After our march in the hot Las Vegas sun, it was announced that a settlement had been reached to pay two workers $11,200 in lost wages.
“This was epic,” said San Diego IHSS provider and first time convention delegate Noreen Woods. “To see solidarity at its finest was awesome. Thousands of AFSCME brothers and sisters showed up to support the hotel workers, and hearing that a settlement was reached showed me that we are being heard. We can’t stop fighting. Yesterday was a show of the power we’ve built through our union.”
For more photos from the AFSCME 2016 convention, click here.
By Doug Moore, UDW Executive Director
Gloria Carter has run a home-based daycare in Sacramento County for over 20 years. She provides child care and educational opportunities for the 12 kids in her care with the help of one daycare assistant. And she’s seen first-hand the child care crisis both California and the nation are experiencing.
“It’s terrible,” said Gloria. “Many of the parents of the kids in my care struggle to pay for child care while trying to make ends meet, and when I lose kids in my daycare, my family struggles too.”
Far too many working families can’t afford care, and family child care providers are dealing with wages so low that they can’t afford to keep their home-based daycares open. These problems add up to decreased access to quality, affordable child care and early learning opportunities for our children. But there is a solution: Make an investment in family child care providers to increase families’ access to child care.
And with numbers like these, it’s clear we need to invest in child care now more than ever.
In 2014, the cost of child care for a preschooler in California was approximately $9,100 in a child care center, and $7,850 in a home-based daycare. And this year, an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found that it may be cheaper for a California family to send their child to college than to pay for child care for an infant. In fact, California is home to the 11th highest child care costs in the country. Families are struggling to provide for other basic needs like rent and food, because the cost of child care is, on average, a third of their income.
Families, especially low-income parents, rely on family child care providers to care for and teach their children while they work. And when parents can’t work because they can’t afford care for their children, they struggle to provide for their families.
“A mom of one of my kids couldn’t afford child care any longer, so she took her daughter out of my daycare,” Gloria recalled. “She reduced her hours at work, which meant reducing her income, so that she only worked when her daughter was in school.”
In California, low-income families can apply for child care subsidies to help them afford care for their children. However, many families in need don’t have access to the care because there aren’t enough slots, and others are just barely over the income threshold to qualify. All too often, families are forced to make tough decisions between paying for care and going to work.
This year, UDW is supporting a major investment in California’s child care system via the state budget. A quality investment in child care, including family child care providers, will help ease the financial worries of parents throughout the state. And right now, the best way to do this is to stabilize the child care system.
UDW supports an increase in subsidy rates, which will give family child care providers like Gloria a much needed and deserved increase in their pay – making it easier for them to afford their work-related expenses and keep their daycares open for business.
Investing in family child care providers and increasing access to care is a wise investment to make here in California, and throughout the country.
Brenda Gholston devoted seven years of her life as an in-home care provider with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (UDW/AFSCME) Local 3930 in Modesto, CA; a selfless job that required atypical hours and great patience. About one year ago, she went to the doctor for what she thought was a routine check-up, which turned out to lead to a much more serious turn of events. She learned that she had contracted a severe infection and treatment was not only expensive, but time-consuming. Brenda ended up taking off five months from work to recover fully — a decision that she knew could have been detrimental to her finances and career.
She was fearful and looking for financial assistance options when she happened to come across a story about a woman who received a Hardship Assistance Grant1 from AFSCME Advantage.
“The United Domestic Workers of America sends me a newspaper every month and I read about this woman who had lost her job and was about to have her lights turned off but was saved with a special grant from Union Plus because she had an AFSCME Advantage Credit Card2,” said Brenda.
“After I read that story, I wanted to see if I could apply for some kind of grant because I had just left work because of my illness. I have an AFSCME Advantage Credit Card. I was wondering how I was going to pay for my medical bills,” she said. Brenda called the number on the back of her card and was given information on how to apply.
Today Brenda is fully recovered and she used the $1,600 grant she received from Union Plus to pay for medical expenses and prescriptions not covered by her insurance provider.
Do you carry an AFSCME Advantage Credit Card? After three months, eligible cardholders may have access to exclusive hardship assistance grants including Job Loss, Disability, and Hospital Grants. All approved grants are paid to the cardholder by check and never have to be paid back. Learn more about the credit card choices and benefits by visiting AFSCMEcard.com.
1These hardship assistance grants are provided and administered through the AFL-CIO Mutual Benefit Plan (“The Plan”). Grant amounts can range from $300 to $2,700 and vary by grant type. Specific eligibility criteria may vary by grant type. Certain restrictions, limitations, and qualifications apply, including (but not limited to):
Additional information about these hardship assistance grants and eligibility criteria can be obtained at UnionPlus.org/Assistance or by calling Union Privilege at 202-293-5330. Cardholders will receive full details when they receive their card. Certain administrative responsibilities for the Plan have been delegated to Union Privilege. Union Privilege is the non-profit organization established to create and oversee member benefit programs for working families. Grants may not be offered in every state. Coverage may be underwritten and managed by companies that are not affiliated with MasterCard or Capital One, N.A.
2Credit approval required. Terms and conditions apply. See www.UnionCardApply.com for details. Union Plus Credit Cards are issued by Capital One, N.A., pursuant to a license from MasterCard International Incorporated.