“Our experience in Montgomery was a clear reminder that we have come so far in our fight for our rights, but we have so much further to go,” said UDW Secretary-Treasurer, William Reed.

On March 10, UDW members gathered in Montgomery, Alabama to walk an 11-mile leg of a 50-mile march in honor of the 57th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery march, originally led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and thousands of non-violent demonstrators fighting for voting rights.

But first, we had a lot to learn.

To kick-off our trip, we trekked through rain and cold winds to visit some of Montgomery’s most historic sites and pay our respects to the incredible leadership and sacrifice that occurred throughout the city during the Civil Rights Movement. During our time in Montgomery, we took the time to make connections across centuries and learn not only about this country’s history, but about the roots of domestic labor, its ties to slavery and people of color, and why it continues to be undervalued today.

On our first day in the city, we participated in a walking tour that highlighted the history of the transatlantic slave trade, its transition into domestic slave trade, and Alabama’s role in its growth. We visited the Riverfront which was largely responsible for the growth of the domestic slave trade because of the newer means of transportation available, such as steamboats and the nearby railroad. We also walked down Commerce Street and visited locations that served as slave depots and the auction blocks where hundreds of thousands of enslaved people were sold along with land and livestock.

“I felt profound sadness to know how Black people were oppressed and that white people took joy out of doing such horrible things,” said District 7 Vice Chair Maria Isabel Serrano. “It hurt to see generations upon generations of pain, because I know that hearts don’t ever fully heal from such things.”  

We began the civil rights portion of our tour at the bus stop where Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man, sparking the 1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott, a major catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. As we stood at the Rosa Parks statue, we learned that Black domestic workers made up the bulk of bus riders and were essentially the backbone of the boycott. Without the support, defiance, and dedication of our fellow domestic workers, the Montgomery Bus Boycott would have failed.

The tour continued through Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and the parish where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family lived while he was the church’s pastor. Established in 1877 by freedmen and free people of color, the church served as a meeting place for civil rights organizers while planning the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

We concluded our historical walking tour at the Civil Rights Memorial, a memorial to 41 individuals who were killed by white supremacists between 1955-1968. At the center of the memorial stood a flattop fountain with the names, dates of death and manner of death engraved on it. We stood over the circular fountain and read every name, date, and manner of death, and reflected on the unnecessary violence Black folks endured while fighting for their humanity.  

The next day, we visited three museums: the Legacy Museum, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the Freedom Riders Museum.

The Legacy Museum provided a comprehensive history of our country from the transatlantic slave trade to the emergence of over-incarceration in the 20th century. Founded by Bryan Stevenson, the museum was built with the intention to help people understand the pain, the suffering, and the truth behind our country’s history: We interacted with holographic projections of enslaved children, saw jars filled with dirt from hundreds of locations where lynchings took place across the U.S., and listened to recorded interviews with Black people unjustly put behind bars.

We then headed to a memorial to the more than 4,400 Black people who were lynched in America between 1877 and 1950, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. While there, we read the stories behind some of the lynchings, including one of a domestic worker named Eliza Woods who was falsely accused of poisoning her employer’s wife. Although her employer later confessed to killing his wife, Eliza was dragged from her cell by local townspeople and lynched. The museum also paid tribute to the Black domestic workers who made the Montgomery Bus Boycott possible, with three statues in their honor.

The last museum we visited was the Freedom Riders, which recounted the stories of more than 400 riders, both Black and white, who risked their lives to travel to the deep South and violate Jim Crow laws in order to challenge a segregated interstate travel system. At the museum we saw various editions of “The Green Book,” a travel guide that enabled Black travelers to find lodgings, businesses, restaurants, and stores that would serve them, and read various stories detailing the rider’s journeys and the extreme violence they faced.

The two days of educational and historical background fired us up for one of the trip’s highlights—commemorating the 57th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. We led the fourth leg of the march in support of voting rights alongside various unions, including the AFL-CIO and AFSCME, and hundreds of supporters from around the country. The march was a total of 50 miles through a span of 5 days from Selma to the steps of Alabama’s State Capitol in Montgomery. Each leg of the march was led by community organizations, including the National Action Network, Black Voters Matter, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Women’s Roundtable.

A few of us, including UDW Vice President Astrid Zuniga, completed all 11 miles of the march that day.

“I wanted to march as much as I could because it was my way of honoring the lives and the struggles of the original foot soldiers, even though I know that this is only a sliver of what they experienced in the 60s,” Astrid said. “The blisters and tiredness are only a small portion of the pain and hardships civil rights leaders and people of color experienced during that time.”

The march concluded on Friday, March 18, as we walked the last steps alongside our fellow unions and marchers and gathered on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery for a special rally. The speakers, including UDW Executive Director Doug Moore, spoke out against voter suppression and the road that awaits us in our fights for civil rights and equity for all.

“The work of ensuring the right to vote is far from over,” said Doug. “We are battling the voices of hate that want to disenfranchise voters of color. Our people were harassed and beaten for fighting for the right to vote and they are not about to take it away from us now. When we vote, we vote for equity. We vote for justice. We vote for the people—all people.”

The days we spent together in Montgomery were heavy with grief and reflection.

“Our experience in Montgomery was a clear reminder that we have come so far in our fight for our rights, but we have so much further to go,” said UDW Secretary-Treasurer William Reed. “The pain that comes from remembering what it was like to see my own family members lynched or being rejected from eating at certain establishments still remains, but it’s really nice to see that the torch for change is being carried on.”

Through our time in Alabama, we were reminded that our work as care providers is the backbone of this country’s economy and that we have the power to create change. Our voices are louder, stronger, and more impactful when we come together and speak up for our rights. We are important; our work is invaluable; and the roots of our power and passion for change are deep, strong, and still expanding. Our foundation is strong and so is our will for change.

Union membership is powerful! The work we have done together to lift up caregiving over the past year made legislators recognize how valuable our work is to the community. Now, thanks to all of us raising our voices, they are finally recognizing us with more than kind words—they are rewarding us with bonus pay for our dedication.

How did this happen? Caregivers and our advocates made sure the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) included funding to give IHSS providers Heroes Pay: a one-time payment of $500 to any IHSS provider who worked a minimum of two months between March 2020 and March 2021. The state has started disbursing the funds, which they are calling “Care Economy Payments,” and payouts should be completed by Jan. 28, 2022. If you believe you are eligible and do not receive your payment by mid-February, please let us know!

“UDW fought hard for this recognition of our members,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “IHSS caregivers provide invaluable care to vulnerable and at-risk Californians daily and this one-time payment is the least that the state can do to support our efforts through this pandemic. This shows just how far we have come and what we can do with a powerful and strong union.”

IHSS providers and other home caregivers are an important part of our country’s infrastructure. Heroes Pay is only a small step toward having our leaders respect what we do and reward it as the essential work that it is. Through our union, we will continue to fight for what is right and keep working for a better tomorrow for all. Together, we can make sure caregiving heroes get what we deserve every day. 

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

by Doug Moore, UDW Executive Director

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

Over the weekend our country witnessed a turning point in the modern civil rights movement.

On Saturday white supremacists, members of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups held a rally in Charlottesville, VA—and when anti-racist counter-protesters confronted them, the white supremacists killed at least one person and injured 19 others.

The slain was Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old white woman and paralegal who friends say always stood up for what she believed in.

But Heyer’s death isn’t the turning point here. Countless black and brown people have died at the hands of white supremacy in the past year alone.

What’s different about Charlottesville—and America in 2017—is that white supremacists no longer feel the need to hide under white hoods. They feel safe to spread racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred out in the open. They feel safe to threaten our communities.

Our President and others believe that the violence that unfolded over the weekend, and Heyer’s senseless death, can be blamed on “both sides”. They are wrong.

And let me be perfectly clear about which side our union is on.

UDW stands for dignity, equality, and justice. We believe that all people are created equal. We believe that racial justice is vital and necessary. We believe that you are either on the side of justice, or you are on the side of the oppressor.

We don’t just choose the side of justice because it’s the right thing to do. We choose justice because our union is made up of nearly 100,000 low-wage home care workers who provide care for our state’s low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Our workers are a majority women and people of color. We live in diverse and beautiful cities across the state of California. We care about our communities, and we do not want to see them torn apart by racism and hatred.

We support all who stand for justice with us, and those who fight back against white supremacy and bigotry in the hope of keeping our communities safe and peaceful.

 

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care union made up of nearly 100,000 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.

Protect Our Care
This year UDW caregivers have vowed to fight, protect, and win for our clients and each other. Congress is threatening to make cuts to our health care and home care while anti-home care groups like the Freedom Foundation are trying to weaken our union.

But we will not back down, because we know we are stronger together. Click here to read UDW member Terry Walker-Dampier’s moving story about the importance of protecting our care.

Join us on March 28th at 3 pm for a special telephone town hall to discuss these issues and more! RSVP today at www.udwa.org/rsvp.

And be sure to call 1-866-584-5792 to tell Congressional Representative to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid!

Overtime and workweek violations
Last year, the state implemented a system to penalize IHSS providers with violations when we exceed overtime and workweek limits. These violations are costly to providers and our clients, so UDW encourages all providers who have received notice of a second violation to review the training materials that came enclosed and return the certification form to CDSS. Remember, providers who receive a third violation will be suspended from IHSS for three months, and providers who receive a fourth violation face a one-year termination from the program.

Click here for more information about correctly completing your timesheet and about overtime and workweek rules violations.

If you haven’t already, return SOC 846 by April 29th
The deadline to sign and return the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program Provider Enrollment Agreement (SOC 846) is April 29th. If you became an IHSS provider before February 1, 2016, and you have not returned the form to your local county office, make a plan to do so as soon as possible.

Providers who do not return SOC 846 by the deadline will no longer be eligible to work as IHSS caregivers as of July 1, 2017. Click here for more information, and a copy of SOC 846.

Statement from UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in response to executive actions against immigrant families, Muslims, and refugees
“We are disappointed and concerned about President Trump’s decision to follow through on divisive campaign promises that target immigrants, refugees, and Muslims.

Increasing deportations, building a wall, and banning people from Muslim countries from entering the U.S. will not keep us safer. But they will tear our families apart, and fan the flames of hate and fear. […] We should be building bridges, not walls.”

Read UDW’s full statement here: http://www.udwa.org/2017/01/udw-executive-director-doug-moores-response-executive-actions-immigrant-families-muslims-refugees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

“After years of battling cuts to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) that cause tremendous hardship for the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on the program, we are pleased that the Governor’s budget proposes no reductions or changes to home care services.

However, the Governor’s proposal does include the elimination of the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI). The CCI was an ambitious effort to transform the delivery of health and long term care to millions of low income seniors and people with disabilities. The CCI sought to coordinate services across the care continuum, with a specific focus on keeping people at home and in their communities.

We all know that providing services at home rather than in an institution is not only preferable to the client and their family, it is significantly less expensive to the state. The CCI created an opportunity for health care providers around the state to learn about IHSS and witness firsthand the value of home care. Through the CCI, UDW developed new partnerships with diverse stakeholders in order to promote and prioritize IHSS.

The CCI is a work in progress. It has proven far more challenging to implement than the state originally anticipated. Clearly, there is more to be done to improve upon the program. However, the need for integrated, person-centered care remains as important as ever. We urge the state to build on these experiences and not eliminate them.

Finally, we are disappointed by the state’s move to eliminate the IHSS Statewide Authority, which is currently responsible for bargaining with IHSS workers in seven pilot counties. The creation of state-level bargaining in IHSS was groundbreaking. It was the first step towards achieving uniformity and stability in the provision of IHSS services throughout the state. In addition, it gave IHSS home care workers – some of the lowest paid workers in the state – a better chance to win wage and benefit improvements that would help improve their families’ lives. IHSS workers in Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties have been bargaining with the Statewide Authority for well over a year. The Governor’s budget will destroy the progress we have made and destabilize collective bargaining. Because of this, we urge the state to not only preserve but expand the role of the IHSS Statewide Authority to assume responsibility for collective bargaining in every county in California.

UDW looks forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to craft a final budget that prioritizes and strengthens the IHSS program.”

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About UDW; United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care union made up of nearly 97,600 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

Which lawmakers stood up for seniors, people with disabilities, working families, and California’s in-home caregivers?

Every year, UDW scores the California legislature and the governor on their support of policies that impact homecare recipients and care providers. This year, we’ve added the overall career scores of our elected leaders to acknowledge those who have consistently supported providers and our IHSS clients. Find out how the governor and your lawmakers scored by clicking on the booklet below.

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.”

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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.

UDW Press Conference-131

“It makes you feel like a second-class citizen,” said Claire Kaufman, an IHSS provider for her daughter, Katie, who lives with autism in El Dorado County.

Claire was reacting to Governor Brown’s decision today to veto Assembly Bill 1930. Like nearly 86,000 other parent and spouse providers, Claire was hoping the governor would do the right thing and put providers on a path to securing Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment pay—basic safety net benefits that IHSS providers who care for their child or spouse are currently excluded from.

This year our union UDW sponsored AB 1930, and caregivers shared our stories with legislators at the Capitol, signed petitions, and called our elected leaders, urging them to stand with us on this vital issue. Our hard work paid off: the bill received unprecedented bipartisan support and was passed unanimously by both the State Assembly and the Senate. Once it got to the governor’s desk, we made one last push to get it passed when we delivered petitions signed by thousands of Californians urging the governor to sign the bill.

UDW caregiver Claire Kaufman with her daughters

UDW caregiver Claire Kaufman with her daughters

But today Governor Brown vetoed AB 1930 in spite of our efforts, leaving tens of thousands of spouse and parent caregivers worrying about whether we will ever be able to retire without the supplemental benefit of Social Security. And without unemployment pay, many of us will continue to wonder what would happen to our families if our client passes away.

These problems may sound far off or abstract to some, including the governor, but to home care providers, they are very real.

“Like many home care recipients, a lot of our family members are medically fragile,” said Claire. “I have a six-year-old daughter at home as well. If something happened to Katie, my youngest daughter and I would have to rely on public assistance because I don’t qualify for unemployment.”

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb's IHSS provider until he passed this year

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb’s IHSS provider until he passed this year

Cathyleen Williams from San Bernardino County knows that nightmare firsthand. Her son Caleb passed away this year. When he passed, she not only lost her most precious loved one, but her entire income as well. Cathyleen applied for unemployment benefits because she’d worked as her son’s IHSS provider for nine years. She was shocked when she was denied, all because her IHSS client was her son.

Cathyleen shared her story when she joined UDW caregivers at the Capitol in Sacramento to deliver our petitions urging the governor to sign AB 1930. “No one should have to endure the death of their young child,” she said. “But to grieve while also scrambling to make sure your bills are paid and you don’t end up homeless? I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on my greatest enemy.”

And it is a nightmare. It’s also a source of frustration and confusion for home care providers who know our work is worthy of the same respect and benefits as all other work.

“I’m a single mom who works as a full-time caregiver,” said Jesse Torres from San Diego County. “I take my job seriously. I’ve completed trainings and received certifications to make sure I provide my daughter the best care she can get.”

Jesse’s 12-year-old daughter Cessia lives with Rett syndrome, which causes physical and mental disabilities. To manage Cessia’s condition, Jesse has worked as her full-time IHSS provider for 10 years. “Why am I not eligible for the same benefits as any other mother who goes to her job every day?” Jesse asked. “I could put my daughter in a medical facility or a nursing home that would cost the state more money, and the caregivers there would do the same work but they would get these benefits.”

Despite the governor’s decision today, UDW will continue to make winning Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment pay for spouse and parent providers a top priority. “All home care providers are workers who deserve dignity and respect,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “Spouse and parent home care providers have worked long enough without access to these basic benefits.”

UDW will keep you updated on our continued work to win Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits for spouse and parent caregivers via our website – www.udwa.org – and our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/UDW.

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2016

Contact: Margitte Kristjansson, 619-548-4304

Senate Bill 1330 updates law enforcement’s “Be On the Lookout” bulletin to include people with developmental disabilities

Sacramento – Today Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1330 into law. The bill, which was sponsored by the United Domestic Workers/AFSCME Local 3930 (UDW) and authored by Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), updates the “Be On the Lookout” bulletin to include individuals who are cognitively impaired or developmentally disabled.

The “Be On the Lookout” alert is a tool used by California law enforcement to quickly search for and locate a missing person who is at-risk. Previously, legislation limited the scope of “at-risk” to a person who is mentally impaired. A small update to the law now ensures that the estimated 250,000 Californians who live with developmental disabilities are covered as well.

“We’re thankful to Senator Galgiani for her leadership on SB 1330,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “The bill made a small but critical update to a policy that affects many families in California. Every minute a loved one is missing is terrifying, and every moment counts. By updating the law’s language to include those who are cognitively impaired and people with developmental disabilities, we can give more peace of mind to thousands of families in our state.”

Half of the parents surveyed by the National Institutes of Health reported that their children with autism spectrum disorder wandered away from home or their families, and a quarter of those who wandered were missing long enough to be considered in danger.

“My son is getting older and is prone to wander. Signing SB 1330 into law means that law enforcement will know he is a person with developmental disabilities and therefore at higher risk,” said UDW Vice President Astrid Zuniga, who helped champion the bill. Astrid’s son Manuel lives with severe autism, and she works as his in-home care provider in Stanislaus County. “This bill could save lives by giving police officers a better understanding of who they are looking for.”

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care 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 over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

By Clyde Weiss, AFSCME, August 19, 2016

State map of percent change in child care worker median wage, 2010-2015 (Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016)

State map of percent change in child care worker median wage, 2010-2015 (Early Childhood Workforce Index 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 Press Conference-105

Yesterday, UDW caregivers from around the state gathered in Sacramento to urge Governor Brown to sign Assembly Bill 1930. We delivered petitions signed by over 3,600 IHSS providers and members of our communities to his office in the Capitol.

Assembly Bill 1930 addresses a problem facing an estimated 86,000 parent and spouse IHSS providers who are currently left out of Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits because of unfair state and federal policies.

“Parent and spouse providers work as hard as other home care workers,” said Lidia Rodriguez who works as the home care provider for her son and a 73-year-old woman in Stanislaus County. “All workers should have access to these benefits.”

Susana Saldana provides care for her son Mario who lives with cerebral palsy in Merced County. Unlike Lidia who should receive Social Security and other benefits for the work she does for her elderly, non-family client, Susana cares solely for Mario and she’s worried about her future. “I may not be able to retire,” she said. “I could end up homeless without Social Security.”

ab 1930

Susana Saldana from Merced works as her son’s IHSS caregiver

If AB 1930 becomes law, it will be the first step in our journey to secure these vital retirement and social safety net benefits for home care workers who care for their spouse or child. The bill would establish the In-Home Supportive Services Family Caregiver Benefits Advisory Committee, which would study how denying workers benefits like Social Security and unemployment hurt IHSS providers and our families. “It’s an injustice,” said Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R – Palmdale), the author of AB 1930. “It’s something that is very wrong with our system.”

So far, with help from UDW caregivers, as well as Assemblymember Lackey and the bill’s coauthors, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D – San Diego) and Senator Mike McGuire (D – Healdsburg), AB 1930 has gathered widespread public support and was passed by both the Assembly and the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support.

Another member of the legislature, Assemblymember Cheryl Brown (D – San Bernardino) who serves as a caregiver for her husband who lives with ALS, came out to support caregivers yesterday. “Home care providers do the tough, stressful, yet vital work of looking after the day-to-day needs of the people for whom they care,” she said. “Despite the important nature of in-home care, all caregivers are not treated equally.”

UDW Executive Director Doug Moore thanked the legislature for their support, and called on Governor Brown to follow suit. “Home care workers, like nearly every worker in this country, including our governor, should at the very least receive Social Security when they retire,” he said.

William Reed takes care of his 39-year-old son in Placer County. His son lives with autism and requires constant care. Although William receives retirement benefits from a previous job, he worries about his wife who doesn’t pay into Social Security or Medicare. “We follow the same guidelines,” he said. “We’re held up to the same standards as all IHSS home care providers…We are paid caregivers. This work is our job. We deserve to retire with the same benefits as nearly every other American worker.”

Cathyleen Williams’ son Caleb was born with a terminal heart defect. Cathyleen worked as Caleb’s IHSS provider in Barstow until he passed away in March. When she applied for unemployment, Cathyleen was denied, because her home care client was her son.

“No one should have to endure the death of their young child,” she said. “But to grieve while also scrambling to make sure your bills are paid and that you don’t end up homeless? I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on my greatest enemy.”

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb's IHSS provider until he passed this year

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb’s IHSS provider until he passed this year

William and Cathyleen were joined by about a dozen UDW caregivers as they walked the petitions into the Capitol. Once inside, William and Cathyleen, accompanied by UDW Executive Director Doug Moore, Assemblymember Cheryl Brown, and Assemblymember Lackey took the petitions into the governor’s office. Assemblymember Lackey gave our message to a member of Governor Brown’s staff: “These are support petitions for this particular measure the governor will be evaluating soon. The measure was unanimous in both houses…it’s very, very important to very many people.”

Yesterday, with the delivery of our petitions, we gave Governor Brown over 3,600 reasons to do what is right and sign Assembly Bill 1930. He has until the end of September to sign or veto the bill.

For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Contact: Margitte Kristjansson, 619-548-4304

California home care providers who care for their spouse or child are ineligible for Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits.

Sacramento – Today In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) home care workers met at the Capitol to deliver petitions to Governor Brown signed by over 3,500 Californians. The petitions call on the governor to sign Assembly Bill 1930, a bill sponsored by the United Domestic Workers/AFSCME Local 3930, and authored by Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R – Palmdale) with coauthors Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D – San Diego) and Senator Mike McGuire (D – Healdsburg).

If a home care provider’s client is their spouse or child, they are excluded from making contributions to FICA and State Unemployment Insurance – leaving them ineligible for Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment pay. AB 1930 begins to address this injustice by convening a committee to study the economic impact exclusion from these benefits has on home care workers and their families.

“All caregivers work hard for their clients, and all caregivers deserve these very basic benefits,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “Today, we call on Governor Brown to help us in our work to fix this issue by signing AB 1930.”

“In-home care workers who care for their families are entitled to the same employment benefits that every other worker in the same program receives,” added Assemblymember Lackey.

Cathyleen Williams from Barstow worked as her son Caleb’s IHSS home care provider for nine and a half years until he passed away in March. When Cathyleen applied for unemployment insurance, she was denied because Caleb – her home care client – was her son. “No one should have to endure the death of their young child,” said Cathyleen. “But to grieve while also scrambling to make sure your bills are paid and you don’t end up homeless? I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on my greatest enemy.”

William Reed, a home care provider for his 39-year-old son with autism in Placer County worries about not only his own retirement plans, but those of his fellow spouse and parent caregivers as well. “We deal with high levels of stress, work without real respite time, or paid leave, and to add insult to injury, we can’t even count on Social Security or Medicare when we retire,” he said.

AB 1930 was passed unanimously by both the Senate and the Assembly. Caregivers are calling on Governor Brown to look at the human impact that life without access to unemployment benefits, Social Security, and Medicare has on caregivers, and sign AB 1930.

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care 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 over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.

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By Editha Adams, UDW President and IHSS provider

UDW is strong because we are a union led by caregivers, for caregivers. We know personally the issues that IHSS providers face because we are IHSS providers.

This year, we elected our new UDW Executive Board and District Advisory Boards. I am proud to introduce the leaders who will work with all of us to protect IHSS and help strengthen UDW for the next three years. You can read more about our work in the latest President’s report here.

EXECUTIVE BOARD 

Statewide President – Editha Adams
Editha has been an IHSS provider since 2003. She cares for her youngest daughter Ellis who lives with chronic lung disease.

Executive Vice President – Astrid Zuniga
Astrid works as the IHSS provider for her son Manuel who lives with severe autism.

Secretary Treasurer – Lientuong “Rose” Nguyen
Rose has been an IHSS provider for 18 years, and cares for her sister.

District 1 Vice President – Gerald “Brooks” Ashby
Brooks has been an IHSS provider for 14 years and takes care of his mother Daisy who lives with osteoporosis, Crohn’s disease, and high blood pressure.

District 2 Vice President – Christine Nguyen
Christine provides care for her 98-year-old mother, and has been an active member of UDW since 2005.

District 3 Vice President – Rosa Beltran
Rosa works as the IHSS provider for her mom who lives with dementia and her father who has diabetes and limited mobility.

District 4 Vice President – Florence “Corie” Crowson
Corie has provided IHSS care for her mother Dorothy who lives with severe COPD since 2008.

District 5 Vice President – Elva Munoz
Elva is the home care provider for three non-family IHSS clients.

District 6 President – William Reed
William has been an IHSS provider for 20 years, caring for his son William who lives with autism.

District 8 Vice President – Maria Isabel Serrano
Maria has been an IHSS provider since 2006. She currently provides care for a young woman with Down syndrome.

UDW Executive Director – Doug Moore
Doug has been Executive Director of UDW since 2008. He has over 30 years of experience building member-led unions, and is an AFSCME International Vice President.

DISTRICT ADVISORY BOARD

District 1 – San Diego County
Chair: Gerald “Brooks” Ashby
Vice-Chairperson: Maria Teran
Recording Secretary: Nicanora Montenegro
County Representatives: Cheryl Sevier, Noreen B. Woods

District 2 – Orange County
Chair: Christine Nguyen
Vice-Chairperson: Vacant
Recording Secretary: Hazim Al Bustani
County Representatives: Angie Nguyen, Luz Cedeno

District 3 – Riverside County
Chair: Rosa Beltran
Vice-Chairperson: Camilla E. Bradford
Recording Secretary: Kathleen J. Crick
County Representatives: Cassandra Sambrano, Rosa Ramirez

District 4 – Alpine, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties
Chair: Florence “Corie” Crowson
Vice-Chairperson: Terry Walker-Dampier
Recording Secretary: Rebecca C. Peña
County Representatives: Karen A. Bennett (Madera), Susana Saldana (Merced), Lidia Rodriguez (Stanislaus)
Vacant: County Representatives in Alpine, Mariposa, Mono, and Tuolumne

District 5 – Kern, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara Counties
Chair: Elva Munoz
Vice-Chairperson: Wymon Johnson
Recording Secretary: Vibiana Saavedera
County Representatives: Julie Otero (Kern), Hue Diep (San Luis Obispo), Sarah Ilenstine (Santa Barbara)

District 6 – Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, and Sutter Counties
Chair: William Reed
Vice-Chairperson: Lisa Scott
Recording Secretary: Vacant
County Representatives: Mark S. Villalobos (El Dorado), Sharon Duchessi (Placer)
Vacant: County Representatives in Butte, Nevada, Plumas, Sierra and Sutter

District 8 – Imperial County
Chair: Maria Isabel Serrano
Vice-Chairperson: Leonor Pelayo
Recording Secretary: Maria Godinez
County Representative: Diana Sanchez

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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.

UDW delegates including LaTanya Cline (middle) from San Diego and UDW President Editha Adams (right)

UDW delegates including LaTanya Cline (middle) from San Diego and UDW President Editha Adams (right)

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.

Orange County IHSS provider Luz Cedeno at the rally with thousands of workers outside Trump International Hotel Las Vegas

Orange County IHSS provider Luz Cedeno at the rally with thousands of workers outside Trump International Hotel Las Vegas

“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.

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On Saturday, UDW held a graduation ceremony at our headquarters in San Diego for the first class of the UDW Culinary Arts Academy. The Culinary Arts Academy is a new, free training program for UDW caregivers. We also opened the program up to members of the community, as a way to give back to the community where UDW members live and work.

“I love this program,” said UDW member Esther Torbert, mother of one of the graduates. “It’s taking UDW beyond home care and out into the community. This is a program that helps people out.”

“UDW caregivers who love to cook can have fun doing it while making an extra income to supplement their IHSS pay,” said UDW member and Culinary Arts Academy board member Cheryl Sevier explaining one of the many benefits of the program to IHSS providers.

The Academy provided participants with six months of culinary skills training, as well as valuable training in starting and operating a business, including the creation of a business plan and how to develop a successful website. Many of the participants were brand new to the restaurant world, while others were looking to sharpen their skills in order to take their current career to another level.

UDW Culinary Arts Academy graduate Jiaire Martin and his mother Esther Torbert.

UDW Culinary Arts Academy graduate Jiaire Martin with his mother and UDW member Esther Torbert.

“I am already working as a sous-chef, but this program has been invaluable in the skills I’ve learned both in the kitchen and about handling a business,” said Anthony Magee, a member of the San Diego community. “I have hopes of going into catering in the future and I feel like this program has really prepared me for the challenges associated with starting my own business.”

For many of the participants, including UDW caregiver Michelle Wise, the program has inspired them to become food industry entrepreneurs.

“This is perfectly wonderful,” said Michelle. “It’s a dream come true. I had a lot of ideas in my head about pursuing baking as more than a hobby, but I didn’t know how to put together all the components. Now, not only do I feel inspired, I also feel prepared.”

Michelle is planning to start a business with her daughter using the skills she learned in the program. “Our instructors gave us the tools on how to do it,” she continued. “My daughter and I will start a business focused around cupcakes. This program has reawakened my dreams from long ago.”

In addition to providing valuable skills training for UDW members, the Culinary Arts program is another piece in our union’s social justice mission. By expanding the program to include members of the San Diego community, we were able to engage formerly incarcerated individuals – people who often have the toughest time finding steady employment. “This program has given UDW a way to give the men and women in our communities who were formerly incarcerated hope and an opportunity to get their lives back on track with real, marketable skills,” UDW Executive Director Doug Moore told graduation ceremony attendees.

UDW home care provider and Culinary Arts Academy graduate receiving her white chef's coat.

UDW home care provider and Culinary Arts Academy graduate Nicanora Montenegro receiving her chef’s coat.

Free job and skills training can help people gain the training and confidence they need to secure a job, keep a job, and provide for their families. “I love that it gives people a second chance,” said Esther. “Especially people who were formerly incarcerated.”

This year was the pilot year of the program, which means we will learn how to make it even better with the hopes of expanding this valuable and free training to providers and communities across California.

“This isn’t just about teaching us how to bake,” said Nicanora Montenegro, a UDW member and program graduate. “It’s not just about the skill. It’s also about inspiring us to pursue our passions and maybe start a side business. This program is about lifting us up, and I am excited to hopefully see it grow to other counties.”

Click here to learn more about the UDW Culinary Arts program.

Statement by UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in response to the deaths of police officers in Dallas, Texas on Thursday night:

Last night following a peaceful #BlackLivesMatter protest in downtown Dallas, a gunman opened fire, killing five police officers and injuring seven others. This tragedy follows the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, black men killed by police officers earlier this week.

Today we mourn the officers killed in the line of duty, just as we continue to mourn the deaths of our black and brown brothers and sisters at the hands of law enforcement. We pray for the families and loved ones of the slain, and we vow to turn our sadness and rage into collective action.

As with the Orlando massacre, those with hate in their hearts want these tragedies to divide us. But that’s not how solidarity works.

In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to working with my union brothers and sisters, community activists, and anyone who wants an end to these senseless deaths. Solidarity means we all have a part to play – whether we’re championing legislation to end gun violence and police brutality, mobilizing our communities to vote, organizing people on the ground, or offering much-needed kindness and compassion to one another. No single person can solve this alone. We must make change together.

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care 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.

Statement by UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in response to deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling:

Today we’re enraged about the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two black men killed by the police who are supposed to protect our communities. Philando Castile was a Teamster, one of our brothers in the labor movement. We have an obligation to act on his behalf, and on behalf of Alton Sterling, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and too many more. We cannot and will not be silent. These murders are yet another blatant reminder that we have to be bold in our stance and our action against anti-black and brown racism.

Union members and members of our communities are being killed for nothing more than the perceived threat of the color of their skin. UDW members don’t just look to their union to protect their rights as workers, they want a union that cares about their overall wellbeing, quality of life, and their communities. We can’t help them win better pay, benefits, and labor protections, but sit idly by while they are shot and killed during a traffic stop on the way home.

UDW is prepared to mobilize in the streets with labor and community activists around racial justice and the unarmed killings of black and brown people by police. We will not betray the memory of those who have been killed by turning a blind eye, because our silence condones the actions of the officers who killed these men and others like them. We will not be silent.

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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.

Statement by UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in response to the 2016-17 California state budget:

Today we celebrate another hard-won victory for California home care providers and recipients. The state budget, signed into law by Governor Brown yesterday, is a testament to the work of the UDW caregivers who have advocated for years to protect the home care program in California. These providers have worked tirelessly to demand dignity for their profession, and respect for the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on their care.

The budget fully funds the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program for the next three years, which means IHSS clients will receive all of the necessary hours of care that have been assessed by social workers. Last year, these hours were restored for a one-year period after being cut for the previous four years.

While UDW is thankful to our elected leaders for taking action in this budget, our work is not done.

We will remain diligent in our work to restore IHSS hours permanently, because Californians who rely on care need more than a temporary fix. In-home care allows some of our most vulnerable neighbors and loved ones to remain healthy and safe in their homes. A permanent end to IHSS cuts is necessary to ensure people who need home care services no longer live in fear that their care will be cut or taken away from them.

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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.

UDW Executive Director Doug Moore released the following statement in response to the massacre of 49 people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida:

Our nation is reeling after experiencing the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history. 49 of our brothers, sisters, and friends were murdered at the hands of a man fueled by fear and hate.

The majority of the dead are young queer and trans Latinos, and the loss of these precious lives are felt deeply within our various communities. UDW is made up of nearly 94,000 in-home care providers who span all ages, races, genders, and sexual orientations. And though we’d like to believe otherwise, we know that this kind of tragedy could have just as easily happened here in California.

We are devastated, but we are also angry. Angry that we live in a world that breeds so much hate, that we have been taught to fear our differences instead of embracing and celebrating them. Angry that some have used this tragedy as an excuse to further marginalize Muslims and spread Islamophobia.

But we are also determined – determined not to let these souls die in vain. Determined to fight back against fear and hatred, to work together to build a world where all of our loved ones and neighbors – queer, trans, Latino, Muslim, and beyond – are safe from bigotry and violence. Together we are determined to get to the root cause of violence against marginalized people, and examine the ways in which we ourselves are complicit in that violence and make real change.

And we are also thankful. Thankful to the first responders and health care providers who saved lives and continue to care for those injured in the shooting. Thankful to our communities who will help us heal from this horrific act of violence. Thankful that we have each other’s backs in the fight for justice and equality for all.

Those who stand for hate and fear hope that this incident will further divide our communities, pitting marginalized groups against each other. Now is the time for us to come together and say enough is enough. Now is the time to show them what true solidarity looks like.

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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.

By Doug Moore, UDW Executive Director

doug at child care rallyGloria 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.

Doug Moore is the Executive Director of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, as well as an International Vice President of UDW’s parent union AFSCME.

By Editha Adams, UDW President and IHSS provider

On March 28, 2016, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore stood alongside Governor Jerry Brown as he announced his plan to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022.

On March 28, 2016, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore stood
alongside Governor Jerry Brown as he announced his plan to
raise minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022.

For the past year UDW caregivers have rallied and marched alongside thousands of underpaid workers to make one thing clear: no one should have to survive on less than $15 per hour in California.

And we won! On April 4, 2016 we were there when Governor Jerry Brown signed a historic $15 minimum wage into law.

The law also guarantees paid sick leave for IHSS workers for the first time ever: the first in 2018, the second in 2020, and the third and final day in 2022. It will also increase California’s current
minimum wage by one dollar over the next two years, and then by a dollar for each year thereafter until reaching $15 per hour in 2022.

This victory will have a huge impact on the more than 400,000 IHSS providers statewide who currently earn, on average, just $10.72 an hour – and many will start to see an increase in wages as early as 2017, when the minimum wage goes up to $10.50.

But we have more work to do, because home care providers deserve to earn more than minimum wage! That’s why we’re bargaining at the county and state-levels to win better wages and benefits for UDW home care providers now, and working together to protect the home care program for our clients and loved ones.

All across this state—from the streets of San Diego to the legislative chambers of Sacramento—home care workers have made our voices heard! For the past year we have rallied and marched alongside thousands of underpaid workers to make one thing clear: no one should have to try to survive on less than $15 per hour in California.

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Today, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore stood alongside Governor Jerry Brown as he announced a plan to increase minimum wage to $15 by 2022 and provide IHSS home care workers with paid sick leave for the first time ever.

The announcement comes as we are gearing up for demonstrations throughout the state in April, and days after the California Secretary of State’s office stated that more than 400,000 signatures were collected to place the Fair Wage Act of 2016, a measure that calls for a $15 minimum wage by 2021, on the November ballot.

“This a huge victory for all working Californians, but especially IHSS providers,” said UDW President and home care worker Editha Adams. “We’ve been denied paid sick leave and a livable wage for far too long.”

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Last year, we joined together with restaurant workers in April and November for the largest-ever national strikes aimed at increasing the minimum wage. Workers in more than 270 cities, from California to New York, walked off the job and carried out massive protests outside city halls where fast-food, home care, child care, and other workers called on politicians and Big Business to raise pay for America’s most underpaid workers. Our coalition also held wage board hearings where we made our case for why increasing workers’ salaries needs to be a part of the national discussion on ending poverty in our communities. Together, we vowed to take our Fight for $15 to the ballot box to show candidates of all political stripes that the nearly 64 million Americans who make less than $15 can no longer be ignored.

Today’s legislative proposal will extend up to three days of paid sick leave to IHSS home care workers, and increase California’s current minimum wage by one dollar over the next two years, and then by a dollar for each year thereafter until reaching $15 per hour in 2022. Future minimum wage increases would be tied to inflation.

The new minimum wage will have a huge impact on the more than 400,000 IHSS providers statewide who currently earn, on average, just $10.72 an hour.

“We worked hard for this,” said UDW member and home care provider Gabriel Paramo from San Diego. He is one of the tens of thousands who is making just $10 per hour and would see a pay raise as early as 2017. “I have peace of mind knowing that we now have a clear path to $15 per hour.”

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But we have more work to do!

Over the next few weeks, UDW members will continue to fight for $15 until this legislation is passed in the legislature and signed by the governor. This Thursday we will gather with thousands of workers from across California in Sacramento in support of minimum wage proposal, and on April 14th, we will participate in a nationwide demonstration calling for $15 and a union for all working Americans.

“This is not just a matter of policy—it’s about doing what’s right,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in an earlier statement. “No Californian who works full-time should be living in poverty.”

To get involved, sign up to become a UDW member today or call your local UDW office.

Get the facts! Read more about this plan here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 28, 2016
Contact: Eli Magaña, [email protected], 619-252-0397

Statement from UDW Executive Director Doug Moore on Governor Brown’s proposal to raise the state minimum wage and provide paid sick time to home care workers:

UDW Executive Director Doug Moore stands next to Governor Brown as he announces the landmark $15 minimum wage deal today in Sacramento.

“No Californian who works full-time should be living in poverty. And yet, low-wage workers across the state are struggling to make ends meet. Caregivers for the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) make on average just $10.71 an hour. They work long hours to ensure that seniors and Californians with disabilities get the quality care they need, but at the end of the day many are unable to pay all of their bills and put food on the table for their families—and without paid sick leave, they are often forced to go to work sick, putting their clients and loved ones at risk.

That’s why UDW home care providers have been on the front lines in the Fight for $15 alongside fast food workers, child care providers, janitors, educators, and other underpaid workers.

We urge lawmakers to swiftly pass legislation that will uplift millions of hardworking Californians and their families. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and giving all workers paid sick days is not just a matter of policy—it’s about doing what’s right.”

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a homecare union made up of over 92,000 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.

 

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By Kevin Brown, AFSCME, February 5, 2016

After years of advocating to improve the standard of care for California home care clients, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers began to receive overtime pay and pay for travel time and medical accompaniment time from the State of California – for the first time ever.

Until this week, caregivers did not receive basic labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act to ensure quality care for the state’s 400,000 IHSS clients. Now, thanks to the advocacy of AFSCME and its allies, home care providers will be fully paid for their work. The new rules went into effect Feb. 1.

“This is a historic win. After years of hard work, home care providers will finally gain the respect and equal treatment they deserve,” said Doug Moore, executive director of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, the Homecare Providers Union  and an AFSCME International vice president. “This victory shows us what we can accomplish when we work together!”

But it didn’t come without a fight. An anti-worker group attempted to stop the new rules in court, and state lawmakers proposed a 40-hour cap that would disrupt continuity of care for many IHSS clients and dramatically reduce work hours for a fifth of the IHSS workforce. UDW/AFSCME members spent countless hours rallying, lobbying, knocking on doors, writing letters and making phone calls to stop anti-worker proposals and finally win the same labor protections other workers enjoy.

Their work gained IHSS providers $850 million in state and federal dollars to fund overtime, travel time and medical accompaniment time, which not only helps workers pay for housing, groceries, utilities and other improvements, but also ensures quality care for nearly half a million seniors and people with disabilities across California.

“I work overtime every week, providing care for my uncle,” explained Roy Pridemore, a home care worker in Orange County. “We live paycheck-to-paycheck, and sometimes I have to take payday loans just to keep up with the bills. Winning overtime pay is a huge stress reliever, and I’m so proud that caregivers and our union had a hand in making this happen.”

At the same time, UDW and allies continue to advocate to ensure home care clients will not see hours of care reduced due to the new regulations, and have already secured several exemptions to hourly workweek limits to meet the needs of clients and family caregivers.