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
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.
January 1, 2015
By Doug Moore, UDW Executive Director
We’re at the start of a new and exciting year for UDW. All that we accomplished together in 2015 has put us in a great position to win even more for homecare providers and our clients and loved ones in the New Year. But before we move forward, let’s reflect on where we’ve been.
2015 began with the disappointing announcement that Governor Brown chose to go back on his promise to pay IHSS providers overtime, travel time, and medical wait time.
“I don’t think it’s right,” said Riverside County IHSS provider Jose Diaz when the decision was announced. “We aren’t trying to get rich. We just want to be paid so we can support our families.”
In the face of this devastating news, we fought back. At our Justice for Homecare Tribunal in March, we put the state on trial for its unfair treatment of IHSS providers and our clients. “We need to invest in this program, so it’s available when we need it,” said IHSS recipient Chantal Morris during her tribunal testimony. “And we need to invest in our workers, so they are there to do the job when we need them most.”
Also in March, we held our 15th Constitutional Convention, where it was announced that after over a year of hard work on the part of our member organizers, UDW was 30,00 members stronger. At convention we also welcomed our sisters and brothers of CUHW, and in 2015 we grew from a union of 67,000 homecare providers to nearly 90,000. We were joined by homecare providers from across the world, and passed important resolutions pledging our support to Black Lives Matter and other community-based efforts.
In April and November, UDW caregivers joined the Fight for $15 alongside fast food workers, adjunct professors, and other low wage workers. We committed ourselves to winning justice for all working families, because all workers deserve a living wage and the ability to provide for our families. We solidified this commitment further when we began working to uplift the work of family child care providers, who like homecare providers are undervalued for the work they do to support working families, and many of California’s children.
This summer we defeated the harmful, recession-era 7% cut to our clients’ hours. We converged on the Capitol to demand full restoration of IHSS clients’ hours, and we were heard! In June, Governor Brown signed the current budget, which ended the 7% cut for one year.
In November, after months of demanding #Overtime4Caregivers, the state announced it would finally pay IHSS providers overtime pay for the first time in history. Overtime and other labor protections for homecare workers begins on February 1, 2016, and eligible providers will also receive pay for same-day travel between IHSS clients and medical accompaniment time. “This is a historic victory that is well deserved,” said San Luis Obispo District Chair and IHSS provider Allene Villa. “It shows that leaders know providers mean something and we matter.”
Throughout the year we continued our efforts to win better wages and benefits for homecare workers at the county level, and caregivers in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange counties move forward with state-level bargaining for the first time ever. “I’m here not just for myself but for all homecare workers,” said UDW caregiver Marcus Haynes of Riverside County. “Our team is very strong, and we will win. I don’t want people to starve while they are doing great work, God’s work.”
One thing people don’t seem to understand about homecare workers is this: we never quit. We don’t quit on our clients and loved ones, we don’t quit on each other, and we won’t quit fighting to protect the homecare program in California.
We deserve dignity and respect, and this year we’re going to demand it! We’re going to work together to end the 7% cut to our clients’ hours for good, and by any means necessary—because dignity can’t wait. We will continue our fight to win retroactive overtime pay for IHSS providers. We’ll work on improvements to the IHSS timesheet process. And together, we will use our strength as a union to help elect the next leaders of our state and country.
I look forward to working with you in the coming months and years. We won’t stop until we win justice.