An out-of-state group called the Freedom Foundation is telling California home care providers to drop our union. They say they care about workers, but really they are funded by billionaires, oppose raising wages, and want to take away our benefits.
IHSS providers and clients are speaking out against them and their goal to weaken our collective power and our union.
You can find out more about Freedom Foundation, its secretive donors and its anti-worker policies here: www.freedomfoundationfactcheck.com
Help us win equal pay for IHSS providers
Throughout the state many IHSS caregivers are earning minimum wage, while some of us make over $13/hour. That’s why in 2017 we’re fighting to win state-level collective bargaining for all IHSS providers in California. Help us win #Dignity4All – call 1-855-912-7804 today and urge your state lawmaker to support our proposal to move IHSS collective bargaining to the state-level.
State audit of IHSS payroll system is out
…and it confirms what we already knew: the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) could be doing a lot more to help providers avoid paycheck delays. Next steps? Our union UDW is sponsoring AB 237, a bill that would make key recommendations from the audit report law – like changing the timesheet rules so that a provider’s work week matches their pay period. Read more here.
UDW mom champions legislation to keep her son and other IHSS clients safe
She’s not just UDW’s statewide Vice President – Astrid Zuniga of Stanislaus County is a grandmother, mother, and home care provider for her adult son Manuel, who lives with autism. This year we’re standing with Astrid to pass legislation that would keep IHSS clients like Manuel safe in interactions with the police. Read more here, and take this survey to get involved.
OC Register: “The Freedom Foundation wants to fight Democrats by busting a California home care union”
Earlier this month UDW caregivers Toni Monique Taloa, Silvia Briseño, and Roy Pridemore were featured in an article by the OC Register about anti-home care group the Freedom Foundation and the importance of our union. “I had never changed an adult diaper or given an insulin shot. I was exhausted. I was isolated,” says Toni Monique in the article. But UDW helped her win protective supervision for her sister, “so I could sleep more than two hours a night and hire another part-time provider to help out. The union gave me back my life.” Read more here.
Reminder: The deadline to file our IRS tax returns is next Tuesday, April 18th.
If your household income was less than $54,000 in 2016, you can have your taxes filed for free. This tax season, don’t let filing your returns be a hassle – instead take advantage of ways to keep money in your pockets and get your hard earned money back. If your household income was less than $54,000 in 2016, you can have your taxes filed for free. Go to www.caleitc4me.org/get-it to find a free tax prep location near you.
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
Election Day 2016 has come and gone, a new president is in the White House, and the U.S. Congress is now in session. No matter how you voted in November, one thing is certain: the decisions of the new administration and Congress will impact IHSS caregivers and recipients. And if what we’ve seen so far is any indication, we’re in for quite a fight.
“Medicaid pays for 55% of all IHSS funding,” said UDW caregiver Susana Saldana of Merced County. If Obamacare is repealed, Medicaid could be nest on the chopping block.”
“We need to stand together to show that we’re united, that we’ll fight to protect our children, people with disabilities, and seniors.”
Many UDW members share Susana’s concerns, but we also know that we have a long history of fighting back against threats to IHSS and our clients.
UDW caregivers in action
Back in 2009, when former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to eliminate the IHSS program altogether, UDW caregivers stopped him. Three years later, when Governor Jerry Brown tried to cut the IHSS program by 20%, we stopped him, too. And we continue to fight back against cuts and other threats to IHSS every time the state throws them at us. (click here for a timeline of our victories!)
In 2015, after the governor went back on his promise to pay us overtime, we fought back and won. Last year, for the first time in history, IHSS providers finally began receiving the overtime pay that most working Americans have enjoyed since 1938.
UDW caregivers do a vital and selfless job and have always stood strong against attacks on home care and our clients. We advocate for each other, for the health and dignity of seniors and people with disabilities, and together we have had a direct role in each and every one of our victories. The threats we face in 2017 will be no different.
This year, we’re already fighting back against an attempt by Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Because of the ACA, an estimated 75,000 UDW caregivers are now eligible for free and affordable health coverage.
“The ACA is important,” said Betsy Herrera, an IHSS provider from Stanislaus County who takes care of her mother Margarita. “Both my mom and I depend on it. There is no way we would be able to get the medical care we need without it. And without Medicaid, I’d be out of a job.”
Betsy is right, and she echoes the worries of many other IHSS providers as well. Attacks on the ACA are an attack on our health care, but an attack on Medicaid – which House Speaker Paul Ryan has spoken about for years – is a direct attack on IHSS.
Medicaid, a federal program, provides 55% of the funding for the IHSS program. That means if Medicaid is cut, changed, or eliminated, IHSS recipients and providers will feel it.
But not all of the threats we face in 2017 will come from the new administration or Congress.
An out-of-state, corporate billionaire-backed, anti-home care organization known as the Freedom Foundation began targeting IHSS providers last year. The Freedom Foundation says they want to help home care providers save money by trying to convince us to leave our union, but what they don’t say is that the victories we have won threaten their agenda.
Freedom Foundation claims they understand IHSS workers and our clients, but they don’t. One of their executives called caregivers a bunch of “babysitters.”
“Groups like that don’t care about us or our clients, they care about power,” said UDW caregiver Sharon Duchessi of Placer County.
The Freedom Foundation tells union members to give themselves a raise and stop paying union dues.
“They are telling providers that the union doesn’t do anything for us,” said caregiver Julie Otero of Kern County, “but who is there when our hours are taken away? ‘Giving ourselves a raise’ means not having back up and no one to fight for us – leaving UDW means we stand alone, but in unity we have strength.”
Fight, Protect, Win!
UDW caregivers will face some tough challenges in 2017, and the road ahead of us will not always be easy. However, if we keep our goals of strengthening and protecting IHSS in sight, and we work together, we can win!
“Together we stand, divided we fall,” said LaTrese Lofton, who provides care for her daughter Sha’Quonna in Riverside County. “This is the time for us to fight as hard as we’ve ever fought before.”
So get ready, UDW caregivers. Let’s make 2017 our best year yet.
For more information about getting involved and joining the fight to protect home care, call your local office or visit www.udwa.org.
UDW caregivers started 2016 off with a bang. In fact, we made history.
On February 1st, for the first time ever, eligible IHSS providers began receiving pay for the hours of overtime we work – a right we fought hard to secure throughout 2015.
Throughout the year, we worked with the state to make sure overtime was a benefit for all providers. With our help, the state developed exemptions to the tough new IHSS overtime and workweek rules that helped prevent unfair disruptions in our clients’ care.
Social Security and unemployment benefits for ALL caregivers
In 2016, we also began our work to win unemployment, Social Security, and Medicare benefits for IHSS providers who care for their spouse or child – an issue that has affected many of us personally, including former IHSS provider Cathyleen Williams from Barstow.
“I was Caleb’s mother, but I was also his home care provider,” wrote Cathyleen in an op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Caleb passed away and my job as his home care provider ended, I applied for — and was denied — unemployment.”
With Cathyleen’s and so many other stories to push us, we fought hard to get our sponsored bill, AB 1930, passed through both the Senate and the Assembly. The bill would have convened a committee to look into the financial impact exclusion from basic benefits like unemployment pay has on parent and spouse providers. Although AB 1930 was passed unanimously by the legislature, Governor Brown vetoed it in late September.
“I don’t think I will ever be able to truly put into words the pain of losing a child,” continued Cathyleen. “But I know I want to help lessen this pain for other parent and spouse home care providers who have to navigate the world without their loved one and no social safety net.”
Instead of looking at the veto of AB 1930 as a defeat, UDW caregivers can take solace in the fact that our elected leaders and the public heard us, as we can continue our work to win these benefits in 2017.
$15, paid sick days, and more
In April, we helped win one of the toughest battles facing working people today – the Fight for $15. Because of rallies, marches, lobby visits at the Capitol, demonstrations and more work alongside other low wage workers, our elected leaders agreed to a plan that will raise California’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022 and give IHSS providers paid sick days.
“This a huge victory for all working Californians, but especially IHSS providers,” said UDW President and our fellow home care worker Editha Adams. “We’ve been denied paid sick leave and a livable wage for far too long.”
We celebrated this amazing achievement, but we also used it as a stepping stone. We know the work of IHSS providers is worth far more than minimum wage, which is why UDW caregivers went All In for Care. At the state level in Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties, and at the county level in other UDW counties, we will continue to demand respect, dignity, as well as fair pay and benefits for our work at the bargaining table.
Cuts to the IHSS program have a direct impact our caregivers and our clients. The 7% cut to our clients’ hours of care was restored for one year in 2015. In 2016, we also lobbied and successfully urged our elected leaders to restore our clients’ hours for another three years.
Your IHSS paycheck
As we all know, the current IHSS payroll system is far from reliable. Early this year, UDW caregivers decided that enough was enough. We’re tired of waiting for late paychecks and timesheets, and we’re tired of not knowing if and when we’ll be able to pay our bills.
In May, we testified at a joint Legislative Audit Committee hearing at the Capitol to ask the legislature to approve an audit of the IHSS payroll system. Claire Kaufman, an IHSS provider for her daughter Katie in El Dorado County, was one of the providers who told her story. “Last November, I submitted my IHSS timesheet for the first 15 days of the month and waited for my paycheck,” said Claire. “I waited days and then weeks, unable to get an answer about the delay.” Claire was finally paid just before Christmas in 2015, but her family had to sacrifice their holidays so that she could catch up on their bills.
The committee approved the audit, and we expect to receive the findings in early 2017. UDW will then use them to create legislation that will address and fix the problems with the payroll system.
We didn’t stop at the audit, though, and throughout the year we continued to urge the state to make improvements. Finally, in October, after a lot of pressure from UDW, the state announced it would offer an electronic timesheet option in 2017.
Election Day 2016
In addition to our UDW fights and victories, we elected a new president in 2016, and despite our feelings – good or bad – about the outcome, President-elect Trump will take office in January. The incoming president, his administration, and the Republican led Congress have all expressed opposition to programs on which IHSS providers, recipients, and working families rely.
The election sets the stage for some major fights in 2017:
House Speaker Paul Ryan has long threatened to cut Medicaid, which provides 55% of the funding for IHSS.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said repealing the ACA, which has made an estimated 75,000 UDW caregivers eligible for free or low-cost health coverage, would be “the first item up in the new year.”
The Freedom Foundation
And an anti-home care organization known as the Freedom Foundation has begun targeting UDW caregivers – making themselves a major threat in 2017. The Freedom Foundation tells IHSS providers to quit their union in order to save money. Unfortunately, they don’t tell the full story. As a union, we’ve fought and won big victories, not only this year (see a list of our many victories together here). No one provider could do alone what we do together. The Freedom Foundation wants to weaken strong unions like ours, in order to further their corporate billionaire-backed agenda.
Preparing for 2017
In 2017 we will continue to urge the state to fix the IHSS payroll system once and for all, and we will keep pushing for Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment pay for spouse and parent providers.
It will also be our time to prove that when UDW home care workers stand together, we can fight back against attempts to take our healthcare, weaken IHSS, or weaken us as a union by taking our voice and power. The stakes have never been higher, but we have protected home care and our clients time and time again – if we stand together, next year will be no different.
We look forward to fighting for home care with you in 2017. Happy New Year!
An out-of-state group called the Freedom Foundation is contacting home care providers and telling them to leave our union. It won’t disclose its donors, but the Freedom Foundation is funded by billionaires who don’t support unions or workers rights.
The truth is that the Freedom Foundation opposes raising the minimum wage, paid sick leave, and other benefits for workers. And unlike our union, the Freedom Foundation does NOT protect the rights of home care providers and clients.
IHSS provider Toni Monique Taloa of Orange county is speaking out against Freedom Foundation.
“Right now UDW caregivers are fighting for a living wage, better benefits, and to be treated with dignity and respect. We must stand together against attacks by the Freedom Foundation to keep the IHSS program alive.”
The Freedom Foundation is a scam to weaken our power of home care providers and our union. We need to stand together to protect the IHSS program for our clients.
You can read more at www.freedomfoundationfactcheck.com
The Freedom Foundation, an anti-union and anti-home care organization based in Washington state, has announced its expansion into California. While the group says its goal is to educate home care providers about their rights, it is really an organization funded by billionaires who want to destroy the unions protecting workers, IHSS, and our clients.
In California, the Freedom Foundation is running television ads and encouraging home care providers to drop union membership. What they aren’t telling you is who is funding this effort, and what will happen to the IHSS program or our clients if our union goes away.
Get the FACTS about the Freedom Foundation:
You can find out more about Freedom Foundation, its secretive donors and its anti-worker policies here: www.freedomfoundationfactcheck.com