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.

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“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.