Rene and Bobby Joe Carrasco pose for a photo

Rene and Bobby Joe Carrasco have been inseparable since they were kids. In a family of 15 siblings, their bond was always the strongest, even after all the siblings moved out and moved on with their lives. Rene started working and making a name for himself in surfing and skating competitions and as an actor, but he always stayed close to home and close to Bobby Joe and their mom, Delia.

Bobby Joe was born with an intellectual disability and has always required some extra care. Delia was his primary caregiver until her health began declining in 2004. Rene did not hesitate to step up as caregiver for both Delia and Bobby Joe.

Rene was still acting, but he put everything on hold to make sure that his mom and brother were well taken care of. He had no idea that a program IHSS existed, and for years he covered his family’s living expenses from his own savings.

It was not easy, but Delia had taught her children how to stretch their dollars and make every cent count. She passed away in 2013, leaving behind a legacy not only through her incredible family but through her community and her acts of service and love.

After she died it was just Rene and Bobby Joe. Rene continued to pull resources together to get through. He would sell items laying around the house that he had no use for, he even sold some of his cars. He looked for the best deals and shopped and cooked smartly to make sure groceries would last. Things were starting to get a bit dire, but he never gave up.

In 2021, over 15 years after he became a caregiver, he finally found IHSS. When he first applied to the program, social workers only gave him 8 hours a week to care for Bobby Joe—not even close to the real number of hours his brother needed.

Thankfully, Rene had jumped at the chance of joining UDW during the IHSS orientation and he called his local office to ask for help. He worked with his union representative to file an appeal and gather all the extra paperwork they needed to win. It took a few months of hard work tracking down all the information from various doctors, but it was worth it.

After nearly two decades of unpaid work and months of underpayment, the appeals process was a success! Rene won protective supervision of Bobby Joe and an increase in monthly hours. He went from 32 hours a month to 226—a vast difference when it comes to ensuring the best care possible for Bobby Joe and a more stable income for Rene.

“It’s my joy to know Bobby Joe is being well taken care of,” Rene said. “I’ve won a lot of karate and skateboard competitions and had the pleasure of being a paid actor but knowing that I can take care of my best friend, that he’s safe and happy, and that I can be paid for it means so much to me.”

Rene was also awarded retroactive pay for the months he had been underpaid, which helped him purchase a new water heater and a new fridge and pay off some of his debt, and it’s given the brothers some peace of mind.

To show their gratitude, Rene and Bobby Joe make their way to the Orange County UDW office once a month to give back as volunteers.

“UDW, especially Manny Reyes who has been like a guardian angel to us, has done so much for us and I can’t thank them enough,” Rene said. “Now I can finally take care of my brother without worrying about paying the bills.”

If you need help advocating for more accurate care hours for your client, visit our FAQ page or contact your local office for support.

We are excited to announce the official launch of UDW’s very own credit union on May 16 in partnership with Providence Federal Credit Union (PFCU)! Union leaders have been working with PFCU for months to create products and services designed specifically to meet our needs as caregivers and family child care providers. William Reed, UDW Secretary-Treasurer, is ready to share how this benefit can empower fellow providers.

“UDW members need and want a credit union, and together we made it happen,” said William. “Our new credit union partnership is a major new benefit that provides members a whole range of banking with services catered specifically to home care and family child care providers.”

PFCU members can count on everyday benefits like online, mobile, and phone banking services; access to 90,000 surcharge-free ATMs; free checking and savings accounts; low-interest loans specifically designed with UDW members in mind; and free financial wellness classes and counseling to help you achieve a secure financial future. PFCU also offers a second chance checking account for those of us who have struggled with our credit in the past. Our friends at PFCU are flexible and open to adjusting to our needs, especially as IHSS providers have a state-mandated deadline to register for direct deposit by July 1.

Unlike for-profit banks, our credit union is designed to put us first. Before the benefit opens to all members on May 16, William and other union leaders signed up early to test the services and customer service. He reported that working with PFCU has been a great experience.

“They’ve been very welcoming, available, and accommodating,” said William. “PFCU has made me feel like they are my bank. In a world where we are pulling away from person-to-person contact, PFCU is still focusing on creating personal connections with our members.”

Desmond Prescott, District 3 Chair, also joined the credit union and has seen the difference that having a not-for-profit organization help you manage your funds can make—not only in your wallet but in your peace of mind.

“PFCU recognizes care workers and the valuable work we do, and creates products specifically with us in mind,” he said. “They value our work and care to protect the money we work so hard for.”

Desmond was amazed by the speedy response he’s had throughout his enrollment process and the variety of services PFCU offers our members, from low-interest loans catering to caregivers, to a financial wellness program personalized to your specific financial goals, and access to low-interest credit. There was one benefit that made the biggest impact on Desmond, so far.

“My favorite PFCU service was the low-interest balance transfer!” He said. “I was able to transfer my balance from a 25% interest credit card to PFCU at only 4% interest. I did the calculations, and this one benefit is saving me thousands of dollars.”

UDW members work hard, and we deserve a members-first financial institution that will work for us and give us the exceptional service, easy access, and quality products that we deserve!

To become a member or learn more visitwww.providencecu.org/UDW or call 1-888-849-5189.

Magdalena Castillo cares for her 38-year-old daughter, Leticia, through the IHSS program. Leticia is the oldest of three siblings and lives with Seckel syndrome, a rare genetic condition that slows growth before and after birth, causing dwarfism, intellectual disability and, in her case, limited mobility. As a result, Leticia requires round-the-clock care.

Originally, Magdalena and her children lived in San Jose, where she worked as a clerk for the county. Magdalena’s three children attended a local daycare with help from subsidy programs. When they moved to Los Baños, Leticia attended a day program while her mother worked, and her brothers were in school. But when Leticia could no longer attend the day program, Magdalena knew something had to change.

Then, 17 years ago, she heard about IHSS.

At first it seemed too good to be true, but once she learned more, she decided to give it a try. Leticia deserved an active and engaged life, and Magdalena knew she could provide her with those opportunities—and now she could do just that, while still supporting her family.

Magdalena joined the union right away because she knew it was invaluable to have a strong union supporting her and her fellow workers.

Low IHSS wages certainly made it difficult for her as a single mother of three, but she made it work. Her boys eventually grew up and joined the military, leaving Magdalena and Leticia alone in their home and making things a little easier financially.. Although living on a fixed income is challenging, Magdalena is grateful for the IHSS program.

“I have the luxury of being with my daughter,” she said. “She’s getting older and there are so many more health issues that are coming about, but I’m so glad I’m able to take care of all her needs and advocate for her medical care.”

Together, Magdalena and Leticia spend hours crafting, gardening, playing with their dogs, and finding bargains at their local stores. More recently, Magdalena and Leticia volunteered at a UDW food distribution event in Merced.

“It was our first-time volunteering together and I was so proud and thankful to be able to share that experience with her,” said Magdalena.

Next, they’re looking forward to fighting for higher wages, sick pay, retirement, and vacation time. They are also excited to meet other UDW members and continue strengthening their bonds with their fellow union siblings:

“They’re not just my union people, they are there for me to have confidence and be able to talk to for support.”

“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. 

CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF UPCOMING WEBINARS ON PAID SICK LEAVE.

In 2016, UDW caregivers helped secure a historic minimum wage increase for California workers. After years of telling our stories, rallying and marching with fellow underpaid workers, we urged the state legislature and the governor to agree on a plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. In addition to raising wages, the law also guarantees paid sick days for workers – including IHSS providers.

Under the new law, existing providers (those that began working for an IHSS recipient prior July 1, 2018) will earn eight hours, or one day, of paid sick leave after they have worked 100 hours from the implementation date (July 1, 2018). New providers (those who begin working for an IHSS recipient after July 1, 2018) will earn eight hours of paid sick leave after they have worked 100 hours from their initial hire date.

An IHSS provider can use his/her paid sick leave hours after working an additional 200 hours providing services to an IHSS recipient, or 60 calendar days from the date on which the provider earned his/her paid sick leave hours, whichever comes first. The soonest an IHSS provider will be eligible to use their accrued sick time hours is September 2018. To use your sick hours you must submit SOC 2302, located here.

We will begin to accrue sixteen hours, or two days, of paid sick leave for each year starting January 1, 2020. We will start to accrue twenty-four hours, or three days, of paid sick leave for each year on January 1, 2023. These dates are subject to change if the annual minimum wage increase is postponed by our elected leaders for fiscal reasons.

We know providers have questions about how we will use our sick days, and who will care for our clients when we do. We are working closely with the state and the counties to ensure that a good system is put in place in every county to provide clients with backup providers if we need to take any sick leave.

Paid sick leave is a basic right that nearly all Californian already enjoy. After years of demanding equal rights, we have finally been heard. Now that we’ve secured this new benefit, we’re going to work hard to make sure it works for all caregivers and our clients.

 

For Immediate Release
June 22, 2017
Contact: Dan Arel at 619-814-3337

Health care repeal would cut California’s home care program by over $400 million
New website—www.cutshurtCA.com—shares the stories of some of the 500,000 seniors and people with disabilities at risk

 Senate version contains deeper Medicaid cuts than bill that passed the House

 Repealing Obamacare will not only cut care for millions of Americans, but lead to devastating cuts to California’s Medicaid-funded home care program IHSS – a program utilized by half a million vulnerable and low-income seniors and people with disabilities in our state. Through the quiet elimination of the Community First Choice Option, the House version (called the AHCA) would immediately slash $400 million from IHSS and put the care of those who rely on it in jeopardy.

Senate Republican leaders released their draft of the bill today, and it features even harsher cuts to Medicaid than the House version. Republican leaders in the Senate plan to rush a vote by next week—these drastic, inhumane cuts could hit IHSS and Medicaid before the public knows what happened.

For the nearly 100,000 IHSS workers in California represented by United Domestic Workers of America (UDW/AFSCME 3930), cutting IHSS is unthinkable – so we’ve launched a new website to bring our stories forward and stop this cruel and destructive bill from becoming law. The interactive website allows users to see which California lawmakers voted for AHCA, meet the constituents who will be impacted by their vote, and easily send letters to their representatives in Congress.

“Cuts to Medicaid and IHSS would be devastating for Barbara,” says Turlock, CA care provider Lidia Rodriguez of her IHSS client who lives with MS, and whose story is featured on the site. “She told me that she would rather die than go to an institution and receive substandard care there. She is happier and healthier at home.”

In-home caregivers provide vital, cost-effective care that allows the state’s most vulnerable residents to live in their own homes with comfort and respect. Cutting or eliminating this program would lead to horrific consequences for California families, with thousands suddenly faced with insurmountable care costs, displacement and/or homelessness and, potentially, needless deaths.

Repealing health care for millions and cutting Medicaid would have a devastating impact on vulnerable Californians who rely on in-home care to survive and live with dignity. UDW members are united in fighting for the IHSS program and the clients they serve.

To read more stories of caregivers like Lidia Rodriguez or to learn about the health care repeal’s threat to California’s seniors and people with disabilities, visit www.cutshurtCA.com.

 

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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 over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home

Take action to save home care

Right now members of Congress are trying to repeal the health care bill, putting IHSS in serious danger. 

We can’t let this happen! Call 1-866-584-5792 TODAY and tell your Congress member to vote NO on the health care repeal bill. 

Click here to read more about how capping Medicaid will impact IHSS providers and recipients.

“I was so proud to be an American,” said Vicky Coursey, an IHSS provider and UDW member from Placer County. Vicky was one of 34 UDW caregivers who tried to attend a town hall meeting with Congressman Tom McClintock that instead became a powerful rally to protect our health care, home care, and more.

“It made me proud to say that this is what democracy is all about,” said Vicky. “If we disagree, we can speak out.”

Despite reports of possible empty seats in the town hall, most of the crowd was not allowed in. Instead, we rallied together outside while the Republican Congressman who represents several counties including Placer and El Dorado, took questions and heat on issues including his stance on the executive order on immigration and health care.

If given the chance, Vicky would have asked Rep. McClintock not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (known as the ACA or Obamacare), but instead to work on making it even better. The health care law has been particularly important in her family’s life. “I have a granddaughter who has special needs who was able to stay on her parent’s insurance longer because of the ACA,” she said. “I was so grateful.”

Changes, cuts, or repeal of the ACA would have a devastating impact on the estimated 75,000 UDW caregivers, as well as 26,900 of Congressman McClintock’s own constituents who have free or lower cost health insurance because of it. Despite this, Rep. McClintock says Obamacare should be replaced even though a replacement plan that improves and expands access to health care has not yet been agreed upon.

UDW caregiver Adam Green said he wanted to ask Congressman McClintock how he would keep a promise he made to take care of veterans and help the new President do the same. Adam, a U.S. veteran himself, provides IHSS care for a fellow vet, and is worried about what could happen if Obamacare goes away. “I’m a disabled veteran,” explained Adam. “The care I don’t get through the VA, I rely on from the civilian side.”

UDW caregivers from Merced and Stanislaus counties travelled over 150 miles to stand side-by-side with fellow caregivers in Placer and El Dorado counties. Lidia Rodriguez from Merced County has diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, and said she is thankful to have access to affordable health insurance because of the ACA. “I need my insurance,” she said, “but even if I wasn’t impacted, I would have still gone to stand with my UDW sisters and brothers, as well as the elderly and disabled – our clients.”

Richard Gold from Placer County was one of the only UDW members who was able to get inside the meeting. He said he got in line for the 10am town hall at 7am because he wanted to hear what the Congressman had to say. “I want this to be a better country and better place for everybody,” said Richard. “I’ve never been to a town hall, but I went because I care. I care about our country. I care about people. IHSS is at stake, and that means my livelihood—and my client’s care—is at stake.”

Town halls with our elected leaders and other opportunities to stand up for and protect our health care are happening in counties throughout the state. Contact your local UDW office to find out how you can get involved.

With a new president in office and a new administration at work, changes are coming that will affect IHSS providers, our clients, our families, and our communities.

This year, UDW caregivers face challenges in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Protecting health care and home care, our children, our paychecks, and keeping people with disabilities safe are all top priorities for our union.

Here’s a closer look at our legislative priorities in 2017:

Protecting—not repealing—our health care

Tens of thousands of IHSS providers get our health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (also called ACA or Obamacare). As Congress works to roll back and dismantle the ACA, UDW stands firm in our commitment that the access, affordability, and quality of our health care should be improved, not cut.

Protecting the IHSS program

Like Obamcare, Medicaid is also on the chopping block. Not only does 60% of Medicaid spending go to seniors and people with disabilities, it also provides an estimated 54% of the funding for the IHSS program. The administration’s plan to change Medicaid from a federal entitlement to a block grant program will have a negative impact on our home care clients because it will mean less federal funding for IHSS. UDW is committed to protecting home care by working to protect Medicaid.

Keeping our clients safe

In the past few years, we’ve sponsored legislation with the goal of keeping people with developmental and intellectual disabilities safer in our communities. This year, we will build upon that work by sponsoring a bill that seeks to improve the state’s emergency response systems by giving first responders – law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs – information that will help prevent negative interactions with people in their communities with mental impairments and developmental disabilities.

Improving the IHSS payroll system

Last year, we urged the Legislature to address problems with the IHSS payroll system that cause all too frequent paycheck delays. We succeeded in winning a statewide audit of the current system. The results of the audit are expected in March, and UDW will use the audit’s findings to sponsor legislation to finally fix the payroll system, and ensure providers are paid in a timely manner.

Improving California’s child care system

Family child care providers run daycares in their home where they provide care and early education for many of our children while we work. Unfortunately, like IHSS providers, family child care providers often experience paycheck issues and delays. UDW is working with family child care providers to urge the state to make changes that will ensure providers are paid faster and are notified when there are changes in family eligibility.

Want to help? Click here to call your local office to see how you can get involved in these fights and more!

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.

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As of the first of the year, the minimum wage in California has increased from $10 to $10.50 an hour. This increase is the first of many as the state’s minimum wage gradually goes up to $15 an hour. Read more here.

UDW caregivers in 14 counties including Alpine, Butte, Kern, Madera, Merced, Mono, Nevada, Orange, Plumas, San Diego, Sierra, Stanislaus, Sutter, and Tuolumne counties will see an improvement in our IHSS pay as a result of the new, higher minimum wage.

The minimum wage increase is no coincidence. UDW caregivers worked with other low wage workers to convince elected leaders to raise the wage, and lift California families out of poverty. And we won!

The minimum wage is scheduled to reach $15 by 2022, and in addition, the plan includes paid sick days for IHSS providers for the first time in history starting in 2018.

We will continue to celebrate this victory for working families, but we will not be complacent. UDW caregivers must continue to fight for more than minimum wage, because in-home care should not be a minimum wage job. The work we do is worth far more. That’s why UDW caregivers went All In for Care in 2016. We recommitted ourselves to the fight for wage and benefit improvements in UDW counties throughout the state, which you can read about here.

Click here to contact your local UDW office and find out how you too can go All In for Care.

Remember, no one IHSS provider can do it alone! Click here to join our work to increase IHSS provider pay in your county by becoming a member of UDW today.

Call 1-866-584-5792, and tell your Congressional Representative to vote to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid

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President-elect Trump and Congressional leadership have committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act (known as the ACA or Obamacare) as soon as January 2017. House Speaker Paul Ryan has argued for years in favor of cutting vital programs like Medicaid (known in California as MediCal). And just this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said repealing the ACA would be “the first item up in the new year.”

That means the health coverage our families rely on is on the chopping block and under attack. And Medicaid could be next.

This is urgent!

We’ve fought hard to secure health care our families can afford, and as home care providers, our top priority is always the health and safety of our clients. The incoming administration and Congress are looking to unravel decades of our hard work.

MediCal’s eligibility requirements were expanded to give more Californians access to health insurance because of the ACA. In fact, an estimated 47,000 UDW home care workers are now eligible for MediCal. And 28,000 additional UDW members qualify for health care subsidies through Covered California, another ACA program. All in all, repealing the ACA will cut the health care coverage of tens of thousands of UDW caregivers and our families, as well as more than 20 million Americans nationwide.

We cannot let this happen, and we cannot allow disruptions in our IHSS clients’ care.

Medicaid provides 55% of the funding for the IHSS program. That means changes to Medicaid could cause cuts to the number of home care hours our IHSS clients receive, put unfair limits on care, and negatively impact our ability to care for our home care clients.

Our clients and families can’t afford for us to wait and see what happens to these vital programs. We have to take action NOW.

Call 1-866-584-5792, and tell your Congressional Representative to stand up for seniors, people with disabilities and working families by voting to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2016

Sacramento – The 2016 UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 (UDW) Legislative Scorecard is now available. This year, state legislators and Governor Brown were scored on their support for policies that impact the nearly 98,000 In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers represented by UDW and the estimated 118,000 home care recipients who receive their care. This year’s scorecard also includes the overall career scores of the legislature and the governor dating back to 2009, when UDW began publishing legislative scorecards.

“This year, your votes supported policies that will keep people with disabilities safer in our communities, provide a path to retirement security for working families, increase the state’s minimum wage, and shed light on the inequality faced by more than 90,000 family caregivers who are not eligible for Social Security and other basic safety net benefits,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore.

This year, legislators and the governor were scored on home care related bills, including:

UDW thanks the dozens of Assemblymembers and Senators who voted with UDW 100 percent of the time this year, and looks forward to building on those victories and protecting home care together in the coming year.

Read the full UDW 2016 Legislative Scorecard here: http://www.udwa.org/2016/12/2016-legislative-scorecard.  

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care union made up of over 97,800 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.

Home Care Provider Appreciation Month 2016 has come to an end, but our gratitude for caregivers continues far beyond November. Together with our clients and families, we’ve been thanking fellow caregivers for their hard work at Home Care Provider Appreciation Month events in UDW counties around the state, and showing our thanks for the positive impact in-home care has in all of our lives.

When asked about the importance of the care her husband Gary provides her son who lives with bipolar disorder, Barbara Ashworth from Butte County said, “If it wasn’t for him, my son wouldn’t be with us. We wouldn’t have our family unit, and we wouldn’t be together.”

IHSS provider Gary Ashworth with his wife Barbara at the Home Care Provider Appreciation Month event in Butte County

IHSS provider Gary Ashworth with his wife Barbara at the Home Care Provider Appreciation Month event in Butte County

Christine Yarbrough from Stanislaus County, who is 94-years-old, echoed Barbara’s feelings when speaking about the care she receives from her daughter Norma Richardson. “She’s excellent,” she said. “I couldn’t do without her. It would be very hard.”

UDW caregiver Norma Richardson with her mother and client Christine at the Home Care Provider Appreciation Month event in Stanislaus County

UDW caregiver Norma Richardson with her mother and client Christine at the Home Care Provider Appreciation Month event in Stanislaus County

UDW home care providers like most caregivers give our clients the best care possible, and make their needs our top priority. “Home care means protecting my son and allowing him to live a better quality of life,” said Orange County provider Suely Hale who cares for her son Brian.

Our job as caregivers is often our most important. But we don’t stop there. We are also advocates for our clients because we believe home care is the best option for them, and we know that everyone deserves the option to remain at home and receive quality care. “He’s my son,” said Leticia Ruelas, another IHSS provider from Orange County who cares for her son Jonathan. “I prefer to provide care for him and I know he feels the same way.”

IHSS provider Leticia Ruelas with her son and client Jonathan at the Home Care Provider Appreciation Month event in Orange County

IHSS provider Leticia Ruelas with her son and client Jonathan at the Home Care Provider Appreciation Month event in Orange County

As advocates, we work together to protect IHSS, and ensure the program is strong. Together, we’ve stopped potential cuts to the home care program like the proposed 20% cut in 2013. We’ve rallied, lobbied, and marched in order to fight back when elected leaders have tried to eliminate IHSS or put unfair limits on who would qualify. And through our UDW Advocacy Councils we are there to help IHSS clients win back the care they need and deserve when their hours are unjustly cut. We are dedicated caregivers, but we are also a union of home care providers who believe in the importance of in-home care and work together to protect it.

Here’s what more UDW caregivers and IHSS recipients had to say about why they fight for IHSS, our clients, our families, and fellow providers:

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“For me, IHSS means my life; it’s our lifeline. Without it we would be on the streets.” -IHSS provider Elke Shafer from San Diego

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“IHSS means security for my client. It means reassurance that he can stay home because the program allows me to care for him.” -IHSS provider and UDW’s Riverside County Representative Cassandra Sambrano (middle)

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“IHSS means a lot to me and many others because it helps people. This work has opened the doors to a lot of elderly and disabled people who need it.” -home care recipient Rosa Martinez from Imperial County

To all the UDW caregivers, whether you care for your spouse, your child, a parent, a neighbor, or a friend – THANK YOU! Thank you for the quality care you provide, and for always standing together to keep home care strong.

A new president means a new administration and new policies. And new policies or changes to existing ones can have effects on the IHSS program. While we don’t know what will happen yet, there are some things IHSS providers and recipients should be aware of as we continue our work to protect and strengthen California’s home care program.

What could that mean for IHSS? Benefits and eligibility for Medicaid-funded programs like IHSS here in California could be cut if federal funding is reduced. Remember, 55 percent of funding for the IHSS program comes from Medicaid, so changes to Medicaid funding will be felt by providers and our clients.

What could that mean for IHSS? Right now, many UDW caregivers and our families are among the estimated 20 million people who get their health insurance through the ACA. Many of us receive subsidies through Covered California, or receive Medi-Cal through the ACA’s expanded eligibility. In addition, California participates in the Community First Choice Option (CFCO), a program available through the ACA that provides increased funding to states who promote home and community based services like IHSS.  Changing or repealing the ACA could mean reduced funding for IHSS and leave many of us without health coverage.

What could that mean for IHSS? If this happens, federal funding for overtime pay goes away. This likely means the State will stop paying IHSS providers overtime pay, as our law states that it’s only required if authorized by federal law.

What could that mean for IHSS? The majority of our IHSS clients depend on SSI as their only or primary source of income. If SSI is cut, our clients’ quality of life could suffer.

Because IHSS is funded by the state and federal government, its future is tied directly to what happens in Sacramento and Washington D.C. That’s why we must be stronger together – to fight to protect our clients and loved ones in the face of these potential threats to our program.

UDW will keep you posted on how the recent election can and will affect providers, clients, and our families. Want to get involved in our efforts? Call your local UDW office today.

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.

toni monique caregiver

“We must stand together against attacks by the Freedom Foundation to keep the IHSS program alive.” – IHSS provider Toni Monique Taloa, Orange County (pictured with her sister and client)

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

Earlier this year, the State announced that providers who did not return the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program Provider Enrollment Agreement (SOC 846) were no longer in jeopardy of being terminated from the IHSS program.

The State has now reinstated a deadline for the form. It must be signed and returned to your local county office by April 29, 2017. This deadline applies to all IHSS providers who were enrolled in the program before February 1, 2016 and have not yet turned in form SOC 846.

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. In the event this happens, there are two ways a provider can be reinstated:

Avoid disruptions in your work and your clients’ care by making sure your signed form SOC 846 is postmarked by April 29, 2017. Click here for more information from the Department of Social Services, and here for SOC 846.

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UDW caregivers and caregivers from SEIU 2015 were in Los Angeles yesterday to demand answers and action from the state. During a Senate Human Services oversight hearing at City Hall, we voiced our concerns and frustrations with the current outdated and cumbersome IHSS payroll system. Home care providers and recipients made the case for fixing the process once and for all.

“Inconsistency is the problem,” testified Claire Kaufman, an IHSS provider for her daughter in El Dorado County. “Not knowing how much I will be paid next time I send in a timesheet, or if I will be paid at all is the problem.”

This year, the State announced an electronic timesheet option would be offered in 2017. While this is a great step in the right direction, it was critical that we demand reforms to the paper timesheet process during the hearing.

UDW caregiver Cynthia Wilson from Madera County testified at the hearing

UDW caregiver Cynthia Wilson from Madera County testified at the hearing

Cynthia Wilson, an IHSS provider from Madera County, was evicted from her home in January because she didn’t receive a paycheck from October to December of last year. Cynthia and her 14-year-old grandson were forced to sleep in her car while she worked to afford and find a new apartment with an eviction on her record.

“I was finally able to save up enough to rent a house for me and my grandson,” said Cynthia during her testimony. “Things worked out this time, but I worry about the next time this happens. Many IHSS caregivers like me are just one late paycheck away from homelessness.”

Unfortunately, Cynthia’s story is not unique. Too many IHSS providers have felt the negative impact of waiting for a delayed paycheck or timesheet. Many of us know what it’s like to get behind on our bills or have to pay late fees, because our checks arrive days, weeks, or months later than expected.

Lizet Ibarra and her mother work as providers for Lizet’s younger sister in Orange County. Lizet attended the hearing to advocate for her mom who stayed home to care for her sister. “For the past year and a half my mom’s checks have been delayed 15 to 20 days,” said Lizet. “That puts my mom in a hardship with her HOA fees, late charge fees, and mortgage fees. In the past two months she has not received one check. This is what gets me more agitated.”

IHSS provider Lizet Ibarra attended the hearing to advocate for her mother who is also a provider

IHSS provider Lizet Ibarra attended the hearing to advocate for her mother who is also a provider

Senator Mike McGuire, Senator Connie Leyva, and Senator Richard Roth listened to our stories, and then questioned representatives from the Department of Social Services about the current payroll process. “Making sure people are paid for the work that they do is fundamental,” said Senator Leyva.

Senator McGuire was concerned about the amount of providers who deal with paycheck delays each month. “No private employer would be allowed to delay pay for employees,” he said. “The state can’t be delaying checks to 14,000 IHSS providers.”

Our union is committed to working with the State to update the payroll process. “The payroll system for IHSS providers is rife with problems and unacceptable in its current state,” said UDW Legislative Director Kristina Bas Hamilton. “We proposed a number of recommendations – some are sweeping in scope while others are simpler, common sense “fixes” – that we believe will go a long way to make the system more efficient.”

Among our suggestions were switching from semimonthly to biweekly pay periods, and allowing providers to download our timesheets to cut down on the time spent waiting for them to arrive via mail.

During her testimony, Claire Kaufman who has experienced late or incorrect paychecks three times in the last year, aptly summed up the importance of fixing the payroll system. “We work hard for our clients,” she said. “Like any other workers, we need timely and correct paychecks. Our families can’t afford anything less, and we don’t deserve anything less.”

UDW will provide updates on our continued work to improve the IHSS payroll system on www.udwa.org and the UDW Facebook page – www.facebook.com/UDW.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2016

Contacts: Margitte Kristjansson, 619-548-4304 (English) | Melissa Uribe, 213-590-9091 (English / Spanish)

Home care workers testified at Senate Human Services Oversight Hearing in Los Angeles today, in effort to seek changes to the State Payroll Processing System

Los Angeles, CA – In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers and allies from throughout the state testified today at the Senate Human Services Oversight Hearing regarding continued issues with the state payroll and timesheet processing system, which have resulted in late paychecks and delayed timesheets for caregivers.

With the state’s population rapidly aging, the demand for home care providers continues to grow. According to the California Public Policy Institute, California’s senior population – those 65 and older – will nearly double in the next 15 years. Yet despite the importance and need for this work, the over 460,000 home care workers who provide services through California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) are all too often paid late or incorrectly.

“This year, I was evicted from my home along with my grandson, because of late IHSS timesheets and paychecks,” said Cynthia Wilson, IHSS provider and UDW member from Madera County. “Things worked out this time, but I worry about the next time this happens. Many IHSS caregivers like me are just one late paycheck away from homelessness.”

“For the last two months, I’ve basically been working for free. My rent is a month past due and I can barely afford to make my car payment” said Magdalena Alvarado, IHSS provider and SEIU Local 2015 member from Los Angeles County. “For the last two months, I’ve simply been asked to wait while my situation is sorted out. Well, while I wait my care recipient still needs to be taken to her doctor appointments, fed, and bathed.”

“The payroll system for IHSS providers is rife with problems and unacceptable in its current state,” said UDW’s Legislative Director, Kristina Bas Hamilton. “Today we proposed a number of recommendations – some are sweeping in scope while others are simpler, common sense “fixes” – that we believe will go a long way to make the system more efficient.”

Some of the proposed fixes include a switch to biweekly pay periods (instead of semimonthly) to make it easier for workers to comply with new overtime rules, as well as allowing workers to download their timesheets to reduce the time they have to wait to receive them via mail.

 View member testimonies here.

 Follow the conversation: @SEIU2015 @UDWA #PayUsOnTime

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About UDW; 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.

About SEIU Local 2015: With representational responsibility for over 325,000 home care and nursing home workers, SEIU Local 2015 is the biggest long term care union in California. It is our mission to unleash the collective power of long term care workers, their families, and their communities, harness the power of technology, and build a broad movement to disrupt the unjust status quo in order to bring lasting transformational change towards a more just society for all.

November is Provider Appreciation Month, and this year UDW is thanking caregivers for everything we do. UDW caregivers are not only home care providers for our clients, but we’re strong advocates for seniors, people with disabilities, and our families.

Our work is high stress, but it’s also high reward. We are professional home care workers who spend our days looking after the health and safety of our clients. We are there day after day with quality in-home care to make sure they are happy and able to remain in their homes.

But UDW caregivers go above and beyond. Not only do we care for our clients, but we work together and win victories that have a positive impact on their lives. And we don’t just advocate for home care recipients, we stand up for our fellow IHSS providers and our families as well.

Last year, we helped secure overtime pay for IHSS providers, and this year thousands of us have benefited from that hard fought battle. In 2016, we also worked together and won an extended restoration of our IHSS clients’ hours of care – ending the harmful 7% cut for three more years. In April, we helped win a path to a $15 an hour minimum wage and paid sick days for IHSS providers. And we started our work to help providers who care for their child or spouse win Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment pay – basic benefits these family caregivers are currently denied. We’ve proved time and time again that UDW caregivers are stronger together. (Read more about our victories here.)

We’ve faced home care threats, but united we’ve come out stronger than ever. That’s why this month, UDW doesn’t just want to thank caregivers for the work we do as home care providers – but also the work we do to protect and strengthen the home care program.

Check out a Provider Appreciation Month event in your area. And once again, thank you, Caregivers!

Riverside County – November 3rd – 10am to 3pm – RSVP: 866-417-7300

El Dorado County – November 3rd – 6pm to 8pm – RSVP: 888-228-0837

Butte County – November 4th – 12pm to 2pm – RSVP: 530-894-2702

Santa Barbara & San Luis Obispo Counties – November 5th – 12pm to 3pm – RSVP: 877-369-6505

Stanislaus County – November 10th – 11am to 2pm –RSVP: 866-307-7271

Nevada County – November 10th – 6pm to 8pm – RSVP: 888-228-0837

Kern County – November 12th – 12pm to 3pm – RSVP: 800-851-7272

San Diego County – November 15th – 3pm to 7pm – RSVP: 800-621-5016

Madera County – November 15th – 11am to 2pm – RSVP: 559-395-4772

Merced County – November 17th – 11am to 2pm – RSVP: 866-255-7313

Sutter County – November 17th – 6pm to 8pm – RSVP: 888-228-0837

Imperial County – November 17th – 3:30pm to 7:30pm – RSVP: 760-425-4034

Orange County – November 18th – 11am to 4pm – RSVP: 877-483-9937

Riverside County – November 18th – 10am to 3pm – 866-417-7300

Placer County – December 8th – 6pm to 8pm – RSVP: 888-228-0837

The state recently announced its plan to offer an option for providers to submit timesheets electronically instead of using the current paper system. Electronic timesheets could help alleviate the stress, headaches, and hardships that come when IHSS providers are forced to wait for late paychecks. A new system could ensure we are paid correctly and on time.

In this proposal, providers would be able to access and submit timesheets using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The state plans to first conduct a pilot to test the new electronic system in one or two counties beginning in May 2017. If this pilot is successful, the goal would be to roll out the electronic option to all IHSS caregivers by July 1, 2017.

UDW is working closely with the state as they develop this new process. We want to ensure that electronic timesheets are an improvement over paper timesheets. The best way to do so is to work with caregivers, so UDW will host a small focus group of IHSS providers in early December to test the new technology and give the state feedback.

We will keep you posted on any new developments or changes here at www.udwa.org and on Facebook – www.facebook.com/UDW.

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My name is Aurora Viramontes Rivera, and I work as a home care provider for two of my children in Orange County, California. I am overjoyed and grateful that home care workers are now eligible for overtime pay. For my family, the added income has drastically improved our quality of life.

I’ve always been appreciative that the In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) gives me the opportunity to provide my children with the best care possible. I’m not just their mother. I’m the caregiving professional who knows their conditions and their needs best.

Unfortunately, while I love my work, it hasn’t always been easy. Both Atzel and Alix live with disabilities, but when Atzel was initially given fewer hours of in-home care a month than his condition requires, it impacted our entire family. Thankfully my union, the United Domestic Workers/AFSCME Local 3930 (UDW), was able to help us secure 200 additional hours of care for Atzel by helping me successfully appeal the original assessment.

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The extra home care hours ensure that no matter who his caregiver is, Atzel will always have the amount of care he needs. Since I am Atzel’s current caregiver, it also translates into real dollars for our family.
The changes for our family didn’t stop at extra hours. When I found out home care providers were finally going to be paid fairly for all the hours we work, I couldn’t believe it. As a professional caregiver, I know how tough our work is, but to know that our elected leaders were finally acknowledging that was great. Overtime pay for home care providers means that caregivers are receiving basic rights that most Americans probably take for granted.

My family sure hasn’t taken it for granted. I have far fewer sleepless nights. The extra money overtime provided allowed my husband and I to move our family of six out of our tiny apartment and into a roomier three-bedroom house. My kids are happier, and I have more peace of mind as I watch them play in our backyard. We also bought a more reliable car, which we use to transport our children to their doctors’ appointments.

Overtime pay means I can actually save money, and my family’s goal is to save enough to purchase our own home. For me, overtime pay isn’t about giving home care providers extra, it’s about giving us the pay we’ve worked for, that we need and our families deserve.

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My name is Toni Monique Taloa, and I’m a home care provider in Buena Park, California. I initially became a professional home care worker to take care of my elderly grandmother. My grandmother was originally assessed just 80 hours of in-home care each month – far less than she needed – by California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) home care program. My union, the United Domestic Workers/AFSCME Local 3930 (UDW), helped me successfully appeal the decision, and my grandmother’s home care hours were increased from 80 to 283 per month.

As a person who honestly did not believe in the power of being a union member, this help was just what was needed to change my mind. After that I wanted to know what else the collective power of home care workers could accomplish, so I became a UDW volunteer. As a more involved member, I would eventually become one of the many home care providers in California who fought for fair implementation of our overtime benefits.

My grandmother has since passed away, but I’ve been responsible for my sister Tonya’s care since 2012. When Tonya was born, she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, also known as water on the brain, which caused cerebral palsy. When I learned my sister had been moved into a nursing home, I took her out and moved her into my home. I knew my sister would get the best possible care among family with me working as her caregiver.

Unfortunately, despite the vital, cost saving nature of our profession, working as a home care provider has been rough on my budget. There have been many times when I wasn’t really living, I was just surviving. And it’s not just me who is affected: my sister Tonya depends on me to provide for her needs as well, including food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and medication.

That’s why I got involved with my fellow UDW home care workers in our fight to win overtime pay. I knew we were excluded, but I never knew why. I was excited when in 2011, President Obama announced in-home caregivers would soon receive basic labor protections like overtime. And I joined my fellow caregivers in celebration when the U.S. Department of Labor amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to include home care workers after decades of unfair exclusion.

After the announcement at the federal level, we fought hard, wading through challenges in the courts and from our own governor. When overtime was finally implemented here in California for IHSS home care providers, it changed not only my life, but Tonya’s as well.

Now that I have overtime pay, I’ve been able to comfortably provide Tonya with the food her condition requires her to have. I’m able to pay our rent, and no longer live with the fear that we could be evicted from our home, forcing me into a shelter and Tonya back into a nursing home. Overall, overtime pay was crucial to ensuring Tonya and I are able to remain in our home. And the extra money overtime provides gave me something I think is priceless: time. Tonya has a second home care provider who comes in 20 hours per month to give me a break – something we would not have been able to afford in the past.

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“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 30, 2016

Contact: Margitte Kristjansson, 619-548-4304

The governor’s veto of Assembly Bill 1930 leaves thousands of caregivers without vital safety benefits.

Sacramento – Today Governor Brown vetoed UDW sponsored Assembly Bill 1930 despite widespread public support and unanimous passage by both the Assembly and the Senate.

AB 1930 was the first step for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers who care for their spouse or children to secure Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment benefits. If passed, it would have established the IHSS Family Caregiver Benefits Advisory Committee to study the financial impact exclusion from these benefits has had on the estimated 86,000 home care workers who currently go without.

“It is unfair that as home care providers we commit to caring for children and adults with disabilities as well as seniors, but we’re left out of the safety net benefits all workers need,” said Cathyleen Williams, a former IHSS provider from San Bernardino County.

Cathyleen’s son Caleb passed away this year because of a congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. However, because Cathyleen was her son’s IHSS provider, she was denied unemployment pay, leaving her struggling to make ends meet. “We can’t give up this fight. I don’t want any more parents or spouses to go through the nightmare I’ve been through,” she continued.

In addition to working without access to unemployment, many parent and spouse providers worry about their financial futures without Social Security and Medicare. “I worry about my husband who is 62 years old with a bad back,” said IHSS provider Roxanne Bender from El Dorado County who provides care for her 39-year-old son Jacob who was born with a brainstem defect. “Since we can’t rely on full retirement security, he will likely have to work until his body falls apart. I can’t imagine that I will ever retire either. I will likely have to work the rest of my life to make ends meet.”

AB 1930 was authored by Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R – Palmdale) and coauthored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D – San Diego) and Senator Mike McGuire (D – Healdsburg). Although the bill was vetoed, it successfully shed light on the fact that many family caregivers work without access to the same benefits as other working Californians.

“We are disappointed, but not deterred by the governor’s decision to veto Assembly Bill 1930,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “All home care providers are workers who deserve dignity and respect. We are thankful to the bill’s authors for assisting us in this fight – and especially to the principal author Assemblymember Lackey for his strong support. Spouse and parent home care providers have worked long enough without access to these basic benefits, and UDW will continue to make securing them a top priority.”

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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.

UDW caregivers are working hard to win better wages and benefits for IHSS providers around the state, because our families need and deserve more. Not to mention, our work is worth more than low pay or minimum wage. We do work that is priceless to our clients and cost saving to our communities, so we’re fighting for a living wage together.

Going All In for Care means we are fighting for better pay and benefits for IHSS providers.

In San Diego, Riverside, and Orange counties we’re working together to negotiate an IHSS contract that will improve the lives of providers and our families. Unfortunately, the state believes our work is only worth minimum wage, and they want to keep IHSS providers at low wages and weak benefits. At the bargaining table, they have proposed a contract that would pay providers in San Diego and Orange counties minimum wage for at least the next three years, and would deny providers in Riverside a raise until 2019.

Our UDW contract proposal would raise our wages immediately, and give IHSS providers better health care and paid time off.

But instead of meeting with UDW caregivers again soon so that we can come to a fair agreement, the state has put off the next round of negotiations until late October.

In addition to San Diego, Riverside, and Orange counties, we’re fighting for better wages in multiple counties around the state. Call your local UDW office to find out how you can get involved and go All In for Care.bargaining image

The Freedom Finfographic tanoundation, 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

retro ot

It’s Labor Day weekend. For many Americans that means a three-day weekend to eat barbecue and enjoy the last days of summer with loved ones, but Labor Day represents a lot more. As we go All In for Care at the bargaining table to win better pay and benefits for caregivers, we should keep in mind the history of the holiday.

Labor Day was created by union members in the late 1800s to recognize the contributions workers have made to building our country, and making it prosperous. Home care workers and other domestic workers have cared for our nation’s seniors and people with disabilities for decades, even centuries. Our work keeps this country moving forward by ensuring that those who need it have access to the quality care they deserve. The care we provide allows people to age with dignity, and allows individuals with disabilities to receive care at home rather than institutions.

UDW caregiver William Reed from Placer County

UDW caregiver William Reed from Placer County

It’s important to recognize the achievements and value of workers, but to also remember that some workers, including home care providers remain undervalued and underappreciated. Labor Day became a national holiday in 1896, but IHSS providers still work without paid holidays. And until last year, we’d endured decades of exclusion from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which gave most workers overtime pay benefits almost 80 years ago.

UDW caregiver William Reed from Placer County provides care for his adult son who lives with autism. William recently spoke out about the need to treat IHSS providers with the same respect as other workers. “Our work is real work,” he said. “It’s time to make a change, and start treating the work of all home care providers with dignity and respect.”

It’s true, and UDW caregivers have had to fight for many of the same basic rights most workers enjoy automatically. Whether it’s securing overtime, stopping cuts to the IHSS program, or helping raise the state’s minimum wage; we have proved that when we fight together, we can win!

Marcus Haynes is an IHSS provider in Riverside County. He provides care for his uncle who lives with schizophrenia. Marcus is also a member of the bargaining team that includes other UDW members from Riverside, as well as San Diego and Orange counties. Providers in those counties are currently in contract negotiations with the state in an effort to win better pay and benefits for IHSS providers in all three counties. “Some of us do the same work as nurses, but we don’t make a living wage,” said Marcus. “Bargaining together gives us all a voice in the process to improve our wages.”

Marcus and the bargaining team are fighting for an immediate raise, improved health care, paid sick leave, and vacation time. However, the state continues to devalue our work. The state’s contract proposal includes keeping providers at minimum wage with no raise, and no improvements to our benefits.

We will continue to fight, because we are All In for Care! Whether you are bargaining with the state, or

UDW caregiver Darlene Nelson from San Diego County

UDW caregiver Darlene Nelson from San Diego County

your county’s public authority, we must all continue to unite together to win more for our families. Darlene Nelson who works as an IHSS provider for her two adult daughters recently spoke out about not settling for low wages and poor benefits at a rally in San Diego. “Our work and our clients’ care is worth far more than the minimum,” she said. “I’m all in for care!”

This Labor Day weekend and beyond, if you are All In for Care, call 1-866-584-5792, and tell your lawmaker to support pay and benefit increases for IHSS providers.

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.

For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Contact: Margitte Kristjansson, 619-548-4304

An estimated 10,000 home care workers in San Diego are now making less than minimum wage.

San Diego – Today local In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) home care workers, members of the United Domestic Workers/AFSCME Local 3930 (UDW), rallied in front of the City Treasurer’s office to shed light on the wage theft being committed in San Diego. IHSS home care workers provide in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities, saving the state money by allowing people to remain in their homes instead of costly institutions.

Proposition I, which was passed by San Diego voters in June, increased the city’s minimum wage from $10 to $10.50 per hour. But IHSS home care providers were denied the minimum wage increase through a decision by the state of California.

“When I saw my first IHSS check after the increase to $10.50 an hour went into effect in July, I was shocked and upset,” Darlene Nelson, a UDW member and an IHSS home care provider for her two adult daughters who live with developmental disabilities, told the crowd. “When I learned IHSS providers had been left out of the increase because of an unfair decision by the state, I felt like my work was not being valued.”

The state’s response to inquiries of why it is denying home care providers the local minimum wage has been that it cannot be compelled to follow our local laws. “Why should we be left out?” Nicanora Montenegro, an IHSS provider for her 47-year-old sister who lives with intellectual disabilities, asked the crowd. “We are all San Diegans. We live in San Diego…They raised the wage to $10.50 and we’re left at $10 only – What do you call that? Wage theft!”

After the rally five IHSS home care workers marched into the city treasurer’s office to submit formal letters of complaint against the state. They called on the city to hold the state accountable for its wage theft, and to demand they enforce our laws and pay workers fairly.

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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.

UDW caregivers have worked diligently for years to fight for full funding for the IHSS program.

“When they cut IHSS, they cut our clients’ hours of care,” explained Tuolumne County caregiver Michael Patterson. “They are assessed these hours because they need them. It’s unfair to take care away from our clients.”

Last year, our efforts ended IHSS cuts for one year – but that was not enough. We spent the last 12 months fighting to extend the restoration of our clients’ hours.

And we were successful! In June, Governor Brown signed into law a state budget that fully funds IHSS, restoring the 7% cut to our clients’ hours of care for three more years.

“Now, my 95-year-old client will have all the hours she needs for me to prepare her meals, bathe her, help her dress, and anything else she’s unable to do herself,” said Christine Petraeus, an IHSS provider from San Luis Obispo County.

This is a huge step toward permanently ending cuts to IHSS and giving home care recipients and providers peace of mind.

Get the latest updates on our work to protect and strengthen the IHSS program at www.udwa.org.

UDW recently discovered that numerous IHSS providers were still awaiting their June 15th – 30th paycheck. When we demanded answers from the state, we were told the longer than normal wait times were due in part to the 4th of July holiday. The holiday caused more timesheets than usual to arrive at the timesheet processing facility in Chico on July 5th, which slowed their processing and delayed paychecks across the state. As of July 15th, many providers are still waiting for their pay.

Workers in most professions – doctors, store clerks, even politicians – typically know when they will be paid for their work. But that is not the case for IHSS providers. The antiquated IHSS payroll system relies on paper timesheets, leaving the timeliness of our paychecks in the hands of the mail system, the timesheet processing facility, and the state. Even before this recent mass delay, all of us had heard of or experienced delays in our paychecks, and those delays hurt our ability to put food on the table, pay our rent, and stay current on our bills.

Late paychecks make it tough for providers to plan, and leave us feeling financially insecure. They also hurt IHSS recipients, like Crystal Mourad from Butte County who fears she will lose caregivers if they can’t count on a timely paycheck. “I depend on my caregivers,” said Crystal. “They’re not a luxury. They’re a necessity.”

IHSS providers deserve the security of knowing when we will be paid for our work, and home care recipients deserve stable, quality care. It is past time for the state to upgrade the payroll system, and move away from paper timesheets. Delays like these are the prime reason UDW caregivers fought for and won an audit of the IHSS payroll system.

The audit has begun, and will take months to complete. However, our efforts have pushed the state to announce the establishment of a pilot electronic timesheet program that will begin in April 2017, with the goal of expanding the program statewide in June 2017. This program could end timesheet and paycheck delays once and for all.

The pilot program is good news, but we will continue to urge the state to fix this issue sooner than next year. UDW will provide updates on this new initiative as we receive them.

Patricia Kutzer

My oldest son Ronald was studying to become a professor when one day he had a catastrophic stroke that left him quadriplegic, non-verbal, and dependent on a feeding tube. After his stroke, he was initially in a nursing home, but I could see it wasn’t good for his health. My family decided the best thing for him was to receive care at home. About eight years ago, I quit my job of 16 years to become Ronald’s full-time home care provider.

All of my money goes to my bills. I don’t have enough to set aside in a savings account. At this point, I just have to hope nothing happens to me. It isn’t easy caring for someone with my son’s needs, but I plan to keep providing him care as long as he needs me. Not only because it is what’s best for him, but also because without Social Security, I can’t afford to retire. Parents and spouses who provide care for their loved ones deserve the same benefits as all other working Americans.

Patricia Kutzer is an IHSS provider for her son Ronald in Madera County. Read more about our fight to win Social Security and Medicare for spouse and parent providers here.

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.

lisa adele

When Madera County caregiver Cynthia Wilson’s IHSS paycheck didn’t arrive on time in January, she and her grandson lost their apartment.

Thankfully, they were able to turn to friends and neighbors for help, but since then she has been terrified that another late paycheck or unexpected expense could leave her homeless again. And that worry increases exponentially when Cynthia thinks about retirement, because like many IHSS providers, Cynthia has no retirement benefits or savings.

IHSS provider Cynthia Wilson from Madera County

IHSS provider Cynthia Wilson from Madera County

“I’m 62,” said Cynthia. “If I work until I’m 70, I might get about $1,200 a month from Social Security, but that’s not set in stone either.”

Cynthia shares a worry that many UDW caregivers who are eligible to pay into social security can understand: will it be enough when we retire? “I’m scared that it won’t be, and my grandson and I could end up homeless again,” she said. I’m raising him now, so whatever affects me affects him. If I can’t buy food, he can’t eat. If I can’t pay the electricity bill, he sits in the dark with me.”

If passed by the state legislature and signed into law by the governor, Senate Bill 1234 would implement the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program on January 1, 2017. This program would provide workers – including all IHSS providers once it’s determined to be legally permissible under state and federal laws- with the opportunity to contribute a small percentage of their wages towards their own retirement savings account.  There will be no employer match but this is an important first step toward easing some of the worries about the future that caregivers like Cynthia live with every day. And IHSS providers are not alone: about 7.5 million workers in California lack access to a retirement savings program, and three out of five families with a head-of-household that is 65 or older have no retirement money saved.

“Being able to actually put money aside for retirement would give me a little extra,” said Cynthia. “I don’t want to have to rely on food stamps and other public assistance. I want to feel secure, and at least able to take care of my basic needs.”

Kady Crick, an IHSS provider from Riverside County, echoed Cynthia’s feelings. “I’ll be 61 this year. I want to know I have a cushion besides Social Security when I retire,” she said. “This program would give my husband and me more comfort for the future, because Social Security may not be enough.”

IHSS provider Kady Crick from Riverside County

IHSS provider Kady Crick from Riverside County

SB 1234 currently includes IHSS providers, and if we are determined to be eligible for the program, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program will help IHSS caregivers take control of our financial future, so we can retire with dignity.

Look out for more updates on SB 1234’s progress on www.udwa.org and www.facebook.com/UDW.

And we’re still working to secure basic retirement benefits like Social Security and Medicare for parent and spouse IHSS providers. Read more here: http://www.udwa.org/2016/05/help-caregivers-win-social-security-medicare/.

Reyna T 2 (2)

My husband David’s meningitis caused paralysis on the left side of his body and several neurological problems. For a while I was able to continue working my full-time job, and pay into important programs like Social Security and Medicare. But as David’s condition worsened, I had to start reevaluating what was best for our family. David became reliant on a wheelchair seven years ago, and that’s when I knew it was time to change jobs. I left my old job, and became my husband’s full-time home care provider.

When I found out that I was no longer able to pay into Social Security and Medicare, I became really stressed. I hope I worked enough years in other jobs to qualify for some Social Security, but I’m not sure.

I don’t understand how I can work full time, but be denied basic benefits. I can’t and shouldn’t have to leave my current job as my husband’s home care provider just to become eligible for programs other workers qualify for automatically.

Reyna Tellez is an IHSS provider for her husband David in Imperial County. Read more about our fight to win Social Security and Medicare for spouse and parent providers here.

christine

When my daughter Delaina was in second grade, an undiagnosed tumor in her brain hemorrhaged and left her with brain damage. Now, Delaina is 22 years old, and I work as her home care provider. She can understand me, but has behavior issues. Delaina can do basic math and write her name, but it’s hard for her to learn more. She’s also lost her ability to walk or feed herself.

We live month to month, because I don’t make much as Delaina’s full-time home care provider. And if something were to happen to IHSS and I lost my job as her provider, I wouldn’t even qualify for unemployment. In the time it could take me to find a new job, I could lose my home, my car – everything.

I’m 45 now, but I’m concerned about what will happen to me when I get older. Being told I’m not eligible to pay into FICA makes me feel like the quality in-home care I provide isn’t considered real work.

Christine Baur is an IHSS provider for her daughter Delaina in Kern County. Read more about our fight to win Social Security and Medicare for spouse and parent providers here.

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Update: On June 27, 2016, Governor Brown signed the state budget into law. The restoration of the 7% cut to IHSS recipients’ hours of care has been extended three more years, and SSI/SSP grants will receive a one-time 2.76% increase effective January 1, 2017. Click here to read more.

Yesterday, the state legislature passed the 2016-17 budget, which fully funds IHSS, and also increases SSI/SSP, a state and federally funded program on which many home care recipients rely. Our victories are a direct result of UDW members’ fight to protect home care for seniors and people with disabilities.

What’s in the budget?

A major priority for all UDW caregivers is protecting the IHSS program, because it is vital to the independence, safety, and health of our clients and loved ones.

Last year, we successfully ended a 7% cut to IHSS hours. But that was not enough.

In 2016, UDW caregivers from around the state headed to the Capitol on multiple occasions to demand the restoration of our clients’ hours of care beyond just one year.

Our leaders heard us. The legislature allocated money in the budget to fully fund IHSS for the next three years. This means our home care clients will continue to receive all of the hours they have been assessed.

“This is huge not only for me as a provider, but for my clients as well,” said Christine Petraeus, an IHSS provider from San Luis Obispo County. “I have a 95-year-old client who broke her hip a couple of months ago. With her increased limitations, she can’t afford to lose any of her IHSS hours.”

Also in the budget: more money for seniors and people with disabilities who live on the fixed income they receive from SSI/SSP grants. As many as 1.5 million of these Californians have suffered because of cuts to their grants enacted six years ago, and struggle to pay their rent or purchase basic necessities like food and toiletries.

In the budget passed by the legislature, SSI/SSP grants will receive a one-time 2.76% increase effective January 1, 2017.

The budget now heads to Governor Brown’s desk where it must be signed by June 30th.

What’s next?

UDW caregivers will continue to push for policies and funding that puts the dignity of home care providers and recipients first.

Rather than remaining content with a one-time increase, we support Assembly Bill 1584, which reinstates SSI/SSP cost-of-living adjustments and raises grant amounts to 100% of the 2017 federal poverty level. These changes go much further to lift seniors and people with disabilities out of poverty.

We also believe that overtime pay should be a great benefit for all providers, and should not negatively impact any clients and providers. That’s why UDW has been advocating for four fixes to overtime implementation.

Unfortunately, the legislature did not take action on these items, but UDW will continue to urge the governor’s administration to enact the four fixes, which include protecting providers from inaccurate violations and ensuring that all providers and clients have access to exemptions if they need them.

Stay up-to-date on the latest IHSS news via www.udwa.org or www.facebook.com/UDW.

UDW asked and you answered!

Hundreds of spouse and parent caregivers have responded to UDW’s survey on how ineligibility for Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits impacts our families. Currently home care workers who care for their spouse or child are unable to receive important retirement and social insurance program benefits. Due to state and federal laws, these providers are currently unable to make Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) contributions on their paychecks, which fund these benefits.

Of providers surveyed, approximately 75 percent of us care for our child, while 17 percent care for our spouse.

Figure 1

An overwhelming 92% of those surveyed are in favor of changing state and/or federal laws to allow parent and spouse providers to receive Social Security, Medicare and other benefits.

 figure 2

Nearly 91% of providers surveyed said this issue should be a high priority for UDW.

 figure 3

About 90% of surveyed providers want to fight for Social Security and Medicare knowing if we win, we would be required to contribute 7.65% of our wages to FICA.

 figure 4

And about 81% of providers who were surveyed want to fight for unemployment benefits knowing if we win, we would be required to contribute a small portion of our wages to the SUI program.

 figure 5

In addition, many of us expressed worry about what we will do as we age without the security that comes with Social Security and Medicare.

“I have no retirement plans as a parent provider. Not only do I have to worry about who will care for my daughter Katie when I am unable to care for her, but I will have to worry about how I will live as well.” -Claire Kaufman, an IHSS provider from El Dorado County

“We live month to month, because I don’t make much as my daughter Delaina’s full-time home care provider. And if something were to happen and I lost my job as her provider, I wouldn’t even qualify for unemployment. In the time it could take me to find a new job, we could lose our home, our car – everything.” -Christine Baur, an IHSS provider from Kern County

Our next steps

This year, we are sponsoring Assembly Bill 1930, which would establish an advisory committee to look at the impact that the denial of state unemployment insurance and federal Medicare and Social Security benefits has on IHSS spouse and parent providers. This will create awareness of the problem, and educate lawmakers and the public on this injustice.

On a federal level, we’re supporting the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act of 2016 in the United States Senate, and asking California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to stand with us by cosponsoring the bill. The bill is a step toward winning Social Security and Medicare for parent and spouse home care workers throughout the country.

It’s not too late to share your thoughts and experiences with UDW. If you are a spouse or parent IHSS provider, click here to take the survey. And click here to tell Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer to join us in our fight to win justice for home care.

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My husband Leon is 69 years old and lives with COPD and cirrhosis of the liver. My full-time job since 2000 has been providing him with in-home care, so he can remain in our home where he is happiest and healthiest. I’ve been a home care provider for 16 years, and for 16 years I’ve worried about what would happen if an unexpected tragedy struck my family. One of my biggest fears is my husband passing away. I would be grief stricken, and because I don’t qualify for unemployment, I would also have no financial safety net while I searched for another job.

As I approach my 60s, I’m not able to prepare to retire in the next few years like most people. Instead, I’m constantly worried. I’m worried about how we’re going to live if I’m ever unable to care for Leon. Without the safety net of Social Security, I would no longer be able to contribute to our household expenses. Spouse and parent providers aren’t asking for extra. We just want our work to be treated fairly and with the same dignity and respect other workers receive.

Bernadette Evans is an IHSS provider for her husband Leon in Riverside County. Read more about our fight to win Social Security and Medicare for spouse and parent providers here.

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After decades of exclusion from Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections, home care providers won overtime pay for the first time in history last year. And on February 1st, FLSA benefits began for eligible IHSS providers. Now, many of us are eligible to receive overtime, travel time, and medical wait time pay – great benefits for caregivers and our families. UDW caregivers fought hard to secure these new benefits, and now we’re working to make sure they are implemented fairly.

Throughout the year, UDW members have lobbied and testified to lawmakers at the Capitol about the new program rules, and urged them to ensure they are helpful rather than harmful to providers and our clients. “We fought long and hard for overtime,” UDW member Nelson Retuya from Placer County told lawmakers. “Let’s make sure it works for home care workers and recipients.”

Our goal this year is to urge lawmakers to employ several changes to the new IHSS program rules. The changes will ensure that caregivers are treated fairly, and our home care clients receive care without harmful interruptions.

We’ve asked the legislature to adopt four actions in the Governor’s 2016-17 budget for IHSS:

  1. Extend the grace period for program violations to September 1st.

IHSS program violations are consequences for submitting your IHSS timesheet with hours that exceed overtime or travel time limits. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) originally announced violations would begin on May 1st. Providers who receive multiple violations risk being terminated from working for the IHSS program. UDW has asked lawmakers to extend the start date to September 1st to give the state time to thoroughly implement all necessary policy changes, and to give providers and clients time to fully understand the new rules, so we can avoid receiving violations.

  1. Ensure eligible IHSS providers and recipients have access to overtime rule exemptions.

CDSS should notify eligible IHSS providers about exemptions for which we qualify, and create an appeals process for providers who believe they were incorrectly denied an exemption. Exemptions are important because they ensure that high-need clients or clients with special circumstances can continue to receive all the hours of care they rely on from their home care providers. Read more about exemptions here: http://www.udwa.org/2016/04/exemptions-to-timesheet-weekly-work-limits.

  1. Ensure providers do not receive inaccurate violations.

Right now, counties have a five-day review process before they issue an IHSS provider a violation. Counties should have no less than 10 days to review potential violations in order to cut down on the number of providers who receive invalid violations. Remember, violations include penalties that increase in severity all the way up to a one-year termination from the program. This means it is imperative that providers do not receive violations for no reason.

  1. Create an easy to understand workweek limit.

Right now, workweek limits are determined by the number of IHSS clients a provider has, which means providers have different caps on our workweek hours. In order to reduce confusion, UDW caregivers have asked for a 70 hour and 45 minute workweek limit for all providers (with the exception of providers who have received an exemption allowing them to work up to 90 hours per week).

UDW will keep members updated on our work to improve the implementation of our new benefits as the state budget process continues.

Remember, we can familiarize ourselves with the current overtime, travel time, and medical wait time rules by visiting www.udwa.org/timesheets.

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My 39-year-old son Jacob was born with a brainstem defect. He relies on me 24/7 to provide for all of his needs, including bathing, preparing his meals, paramedical care, and exercise. My home care wages are the primary source of income in our home when my husband has trouble getting landscaping work. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work as Jacob’s home care provider, but I’m frustrated that my work is not taken seriously.

Exclusion from Social Security and Medicare is going to hurt my family. At some point, I may not be able to care for Jacob any longer, and I will need to retire. It makes me angry to know that even if I retire from home care, I will likely never be able to stop working. Both my husband and I will have to keep working somehow until our bodies fall apart. We’re in our 60s, and worrying about our financial future has caused me many sleepless nights. All workers, including parent and spouse home care providers, deserve access to Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, and paid family leave benefits.

Roxanne Bender is an IHSS provider for her son Jacob in El Dorado County. Read more about our fight to win Social Security and Medicare for spouse and parent providers here.

By City News Services, 10 News, May 2, 2016

The Board of Supervisors will be presented Tuesday with a proposed $5.35 billion budget for the county of San Diego’s upcoming fiscal year.

The total represents a 1.2 percent decrease from the current spending plan.

The budget proposal envisions spending boosts for most areas of county government to cover pay raises, higher retirement costs and additional staffing. Overall, the county expects to boost employment by 344.5 staff years to a total of 17,378.

Those hikes are offset by an 8.1 percent decline in spending for the Health and Human Services Agency, resulting from an agreement that transfers collective bargaining responsibilities for In-Home Supportive Services to the state.

That administrative move not only won’t impact other services, but the rest of the HHSA activities are in line for an extra $88 million — with more than half going to a planned expansion of contracted community services and the rest for hiring 240 employees.

Spending on capital projects is set to drop by nearly half, or $67.5 million. County spending on infrastructure construction varies widely from year- to-year, depending on where various projects are in the pipeline.

Public hearings on the spending plan are scheduled to begin June 13.

The county uses a two-year budgeting procedure for its operational plan. Staff is recommending a $5 billion spending plan for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

URGENT: Starting July 1, 2016*, IHSS providers who submit incorrect timesheets will be subject to violations, including and up to termination from IHSS.

Note that many IHSS recipients and providers will not be impacted by the new timesheet rules, as overtime, travel time and medical wait time does not apply in their individual situation. The greatest impact will be to providers who work more than 40 hours each workweek, providers who work for multiple recipients, or providers who travel directly from one recipient’s home to another on the same day.

IMPORTANT: If you receive a violation notice in the mail but were never counseled by a social worker about how to properly fill out your timesheet to avoid penalties, contact UDW immediately at 1-800-621-5016.

Timesheet Violations Starting on July 1, 2016

1st violation: Notice only

2nd violation: Notice with option of avoiding the second violation by attending a one-time training on the new rules

3rd violation: Notice and three month suspension from IHSS

4th violation: Notice and one year termination from IHSS*

*If a provider is terminated, they will have to reapply and complete all the provider enrollment requirements again.

You may incur a violation if:

Our union continues to work with the state and lawmakers to ensure that IHSS providers have adequate time to learn the new program rules and are not penalized unfairly. We will post updates on this page as they become available.

*6/1/2016The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) recently changed the date IHSS providers will start receiving violations from May 1st to July 1st . This means CDSS will not issue violations during the period from June 1st to June 30th, but keep in mind, violations will begin in July. 

Violations are penalties IHSS providers will receive for exceeding workweek or travel time limits. Violation consequences start with a notice, and progress in severity to a one-year termination from the IHSS program.

Continue reading for more information on the new IHSS timesheet rules, and how they affect the way you complete your timesheet.

In addition to overtime and travel time pay, IHSS providers who qualify will receive pay for medical wait time starting on February 1, 2016. Medical wait time is the time spent waiting for your client during authorized medical accompaniment. There are certain criteria that must be met for this time to be considered “Wait time – On duty” (click here to read ACL 16-01, starting on pg. 14).

IHSS clients who already have medical accompaniment hours should be assessed for medical wait time by their county social worker. If your client has not been notified about their medical wait time hours, contact the social worker directly to request an assessment.

Wait time, once authorized, will be paid retroactive to February 1, 2016.

Note: it is the obligation of the social worker to contact your client’s physicians get the necessary information for this assessment, NOT you or your client. Contact your local UDW office if you are experiencing trouble with this process.

For the last two years, UDW has been urging the state to develop a special exemptions process to ensure that overtime is a great benefit for all IHSS providers and clients. We are pleased to announce that many IHSS providers who need to work over the 66 hour weekly work limit will be able to do so if they qualify for one of the following exemptions:

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.

 

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has made changes to IHSS program rules related to the 2016 implementation of overtime, travel time, and medical wait time. Some of these rules affect the way we complete our IHSS timesheets. We advise all providers to be aware of the following dates and required forms.

MARCH 15, 2016

CDSS mailed several informational notices and forms to IHSS providers and recipients. March 15, 2016, is the date by which your client must review, complete, and postmark IHSS form SOC 2256 the In-Home Supportive Services Program Recipient and Provider Workweek Agreement. Note: this is only for clients who have more than IHSS provider.

APRIL 15, 2016

The updated In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program Provider Enrollment Agreement (SOC 846) now includes information on overtime and travel time. All providers must review, sign, and return the SOC 846 to your local county office. SOC 846 can be found here.

While the State recently announced that providers who do not return the form by April 15th will no longer be terminated from the IHSS program, it is still a required form so please turn it in as soon as possible.

In addition to SOC 846, the following form must be completed and returned if it applies to you:

MAY 1, 2016

Beginning May 1st, IHSS providers who complete their timesheets incorrectly will receive violations. After two warning violations, providers who receive a third violation will be suspended for three months, and providers who receive a fourth violation will be terminated from the program for one year.

Violations will be harmful to providers and our clients. Because of this, all providers are encouraged to avoid them by learning the new program rules. You can do this by:

For Immediate Release
Monday, February 1, 2016

After decades of exclusion and years of advocacy, IHSS homecare workers in California now eligible for overtime pay

Sacramento – Today is a monumental day for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) homecare workers throughout California. For the first time in history, caregivers for hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities statewide will be eligible to receive overtime pay. IHSS workers will also be paid for time spent traveling between homecare clients and for time spent accompanying their clients to medical appointments – work time that was previously uncompensated.

“This day has been a long time coming,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “It is a victory for the homecare providers who advocated and worked tirelessly to ensure that their profession receives the same labor protections as virtually every other worker in the country. This historic accomplishment is a testament to the power of worker solidarity and member advocacy.”

Until recently, homecare workers across the country were excluded from basic labor protections, such as minimum wage and overtime pay, established by the Fair Labor Standards Act nearly 80 years ago. After the U.S. Department of Labor issued a new rule in 2013 that extended these protections to homecare workers, UDW members campaigned tirelessly to pass Senate Bill 855 in 2014, which implements these changes in the IHSS program.

After overcoming over two years of challenges and delays at both the state and federal level, IHSS workers were victorious last November when the state finally announced it would begin paying overtime on February 1, 2016.

Payment for overtime, travel time, and medical accompaniment will benefit hundreds of thousands of workers and their families in communities across California. The nearly $850 million that will be used to fund these benefits in the next fiscal year will help homecare workers pay for housing, groceries, utilities, and other improvements to their families’ lives.

“This will help my family a lot,” said Adami Lopez of Orange County, a homecare worker who cares for her son Adesis who has autism. “My son needs to see a specialist that our insurance doesn’t cover and we couldn’t afford. Now he’ll be able to see him. Overtime pay will help my son get the services he needs and deserves.”

UDW will continue to do everything possible to ensure that services for clients of the IHSS program remain untouched by any of these new changes.

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United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a homecare union made up of over 89,000 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.

Statements of UDW and SEIU

Sacramento, CA   After the release of the Governor’s proposed budget, which makes both restoring IHSS hours and significant re-investment in developmental services contingent on the passage of a renewed Medi-Cal health plan tax, President of SEIU California Laphonza Butler and Executive Director of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, Doug Moore, made the following statements:

“We appreciate that the Governor’s budget sets the intention of reversing cuts to IHSS and developmental services; however, people with disabilities, seniors, and caregivers are tired of being held hostage as Sacramento bickers about passing renewed taxes. We do need additional, long-term revenues, but using vulnerable Californians’ health and welfare as a bargaining chip is simply not acceptable,” said Doug Moore, President of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930.

“For years, seniors and people with disabilities have borne the brunt of our fiscal crises. Now, we unquestionably have the resources, and we have bipartisan support for providing care to those who need it. It’s long past time to live up to the promise of dignity for all, regardless of age or ability. That includes all of the people who rely on IHSS and developmental services,” said Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU California and SEIU 2015.

UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 and SEIU 2015 together represent 400,000 in-home caregivers in California.