FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

UDW stands against President Trump’s executive action against immigrant families and planned action against refugees and Muslims

We are disappointed and concerned about President Trump’s decision to follow through on divisive campaign promises that target immigrants, refugees, and Muslims.

Increasing deportations, building a wall, and banning people from Muslim countries from entering the U.S. will not keep us safer. But they will tear our families apart, and fan the flames of hate and fear.

In his State of the State address this week, Governor Jerry Brown reminded us that an estimated 27% of Californians were born outside the United States. Immigrants and refugees contribute to the diversity that have made this state and country what it is. They are our neighbors, family, and friends, and many are home care workers who look after the health and safety of seniors and people with disabilities.

We should be building bridges, not walls.

If we truly want to “make America great,” our country must stop oppressing and targeting people simply because they do not look like the people who are in power, and instead serve as a beacon of justice for all.

Our union will fight back. We support Senator Lara’s bill (SB 31), which will protect Californians by prohibiting the creation of a registry on the basis of religious beliefs, practices, national origin, or ethnicity. We will serve as a safe place for immigrant families, refugees, and Muslims. We will do what we must to protect our families and communities.

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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.

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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“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.

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.

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.

California has taken an important step forward in increasing vital services that save lives. This week, the governor signed into law a budget that includes $3 million dollars to fund medical interpretation services for non-English speaking Medi-Cal recipients.

For several years, UDW has partnered with Interpreting for California and others to raise awareness on this issue. A lack of medical interpretation services in the state has led to unnecessary treatments, injuries, and even deaths.

Julio Perez is one Californian who knows how difficult a family crisis can become without access to a medical interpreter. When his little brother Aldo was rushed to the emergency room in Long Beach, CA, Julio was asked by medical staff to interpret in Spanish for his mother and father as his brothers’ condition became critical.

Julio was just a teenager at the time, and when his little brother died of sepsis, he felt a tremendous amount of guilt. He had struggled to understand the medical terminology, and to help his parents make informed decisions. When it came time to tell his family that Aldo had died, Julio didn’t know how to describe what had happened.

Vanna Nguyen works as her grandfather’s home care provider in Orange County. Her grandfather’s primary languages are French and Vietnamese. As his caregiver, she’s able to see to his day-to-day needs, but she worries about what would happen if he were ever admitted to a hospital or seen by a new doctor that doesn’t speak the languages her grandfather understands best. She worries that he could have trouble understanding and being understood.

“If my grandfather ever needs to go to a hospital, he should be able to understand the doctor’s plan like any other patient,” said Vanna. “And he should have an interpreter who can help him communicate his needs to the doctor as well.”

Vanna’s grandfather is not alone. An estimated one in five Californians speak English less than “very well”, and without quality interpretation in their primary language, they’re at risk of being unintentionally harmed in a place where you should get better, not worse.

“With the help of qualified medical interpreters, people like my grandfather would be able to communicate their health needs, understand their treatment plans, and avoid dangerous accidents that can arise from miscommunication,” said Vanna.

This year, UDW caregivers joined medical interpreters across California to demand action. We wrote hundreds of letters to Governor Brown asking him to create language access and access to medical interpreters in California.

Almost half of the individuals who receive Medi-Cal speak a language other than English. But qualified medical interpreters are in short supply: last year, the state had only 738 certified medical interpreters, and with millions of Californians in need, that just won’t cut it.

This budget victory means taking a step toward making sure the care of many of our neighbors, home care clients, family members, and friends doesn’t get lost in translation.

UPDATE: Victory! On June 28, 2016, after receiving urgent calls from UDW family child care providers, Governor Brown signed the state budget for fiscal year 2016-17 into law. Rate increases are expected to go into effect on January 1, 2017.

This year, UDW family child care providers have united to urge California lawmakers to fix the child care crisis. Parents who need a safe and reliable place to take their kids while they work are struggling to access affordable quality care. And because of low rates, family child care providers are barely making enough money to keep our daycares open.

One of our major priorities this year was a real investment in child care in the state budget. Together, we strategized in our monthly meetings and made calls to our elected leaders urging them to support a budget proposal that would put hundreds of millions of dollars into the child care system.

And this week, we won!

The legislature passed a budget that invests an estimated $528 million in child care and early education programs. Of the $528 million, a majority of the funding will be used to increase subsidy reimbursement rates over the next two years. The increase in rates will make it easier for us to afford the increased wage we must pay our assistants due to the recent state minimum wage increase.

The budget deal:

The budget is now headed to Governor Brown’s desk to be signed before June 30th.

But our work is not yet done. Lawmakers can do more this year to make child care affordable and accessible to parents, and to stabilize our daycares. We will continue to urge the legislature to pass Assembly Bill 2150, which will:

This year and beyond, UDW child care providers will continue to organize and build power, so that we can fix California’s child care crisis together.

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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.

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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.

California prisons are overcrowded and use massive amounts of taxpayer dollars. In fact, as a state, we spend almost 10% of our general fund on prisons. Locking away all offenders and throwing away the key is not always the best way to keep our communities safe. Focusing on rehabilitation of nonviolent offenders can reduce prisoner reentry, and allow those who have served their time to reintegrate into their communities safely and productively.

Governor Brown took a step in the right direction this year when he introduced The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016. The goals of the act are to invest in public safety, save taxpayer dollars, focus on rehabilitation, and keep dangerous offenders in prison.

In March, UDW members began gathering petition signatures to ensure The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 made it to the November ballot where Californians would be able to decide whether or not to adopt it.

UDW caregiver Mercedes Chapman from San Diego decided to help collect signatures because of the impact the act would have on the children in her community.

“It makes me think about my 16-year-old brother,” she said. “I shudder at the thought of someone younger than him being tried as an adult and being placed in a prison with adults. I’d rather give them a chance at rehabilitation to stop a potentially destructive cycle.”

The act would mandate that judges rather than prosecutors decide whether children are tried as adults, and would require the judge to take a careful look at the child’s alleged crime and life before deciding whether they should be charged as an adult.

The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 is aimed at keeping the communities where caregivers and our loved ones live and work safer. “It’s a very important issue,” explained Mercedes. “We’re talking about our communities. It’s our kids and our families that will be affected.”

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Last week, we held our second monthly UDW family child care meeting. Local family child care providers attended the meeting in person at UDW’s Sacramento office, and providers from around the state called into the meeting. Providers shared the issues that are most important to them and discussed ways we can improve California’s child care system.

We also heard the latest on Governor Brown’s state budget proposal. In January, the governor proposed small changes to the state’s child care and early education system, but his proposal did not make a large enough investment in providers, children, and working parents. That’s why UDW family child care providers have been supporting the Legislative Women’s Caucus proposal, which dedicates $800 million of the budget to stabilizing and improving the child care system.

Although this proposal would have a positive impact on thousands of family child care providers and our home-based daycares, Governor Brown chose to invest even less in child care when he released the May revision of his January budget proposal a few weeks ago.

After the governor released his budget proposal, the responsibility to pass a budget fell to the state legislature. Last week, the Senate voted to approve just one-eighth of the $800 million needed to really take a step toward child care improvements. But this week, the Assembly voted for a much larger investment by passing a budget proposal that invests $618.6 million in child care improvement.

Since the two houses of the legislature – the Assembly and the Senate – approved two different proposals, the budget will now head to conference committee where the two houses must agree upon and return a budget proposal to Governor Brown by June 15th.

UDW family child care providers will continue to urge lawmakers to do what’s right and make a significant investment in stabilizing and improving the child care system for providers, children, and families.

Look out for an email detailing how you can take action and tell your lawmaker to support family child care providers!

And don’t forget, our next UDW family child care meeting is Thursday, June 16th – in person at the UDW office in Sacramento or by phone. We will send additional details in a future email.

If you have any questions or comments, please call Yvonne Griffin at 1-888-226-7510 or email her at [email protected]

By Editha Adams, UDW President and IHSS provider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 4, 2016

Today, we took a big step forward in our fight for justice for home care workers and families. Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 3 (SB 3), which creates a plan to raise California’s minimum wage incrementally to $15 by 2022, and provides all workers with paid sick days.

UDW home care providers stood with other low-wage workers and Governor Jerry Brown in LA on Monday, right before he signed the historic statewide minimum wage bill into law.

UDW home care providers stood with other low-wage workers and Governor Jerry Brown in LA on Monday, right before he signed the historic statewide minimum wage bill into law.

“We must bring balance to an unbalanced system,” said the governor minutes before he signed the bill.

For home care providers, including UDW’s 92,000 IHSS workers, this new law will have a monumental impact. Currently, we make on average just $10.71 an hour, and work without any paid sick time. Many of us struggle to provide for our families and often work even when we’re sick, because we can’t afford an unpaid day off.

“It’s tough for me to afford groceries, my prescriptions, and even gas for my car to drive to each of my clients,” said El Dorado home care worker Lisa Scott. “I’ve done this job for over a decade, and I’ve never taken a paid sick day.”

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Today’s victory is a direct result of providers like Lisa and UDW caregivers across the state joining with other underpaid workers to demand more for ourselves and our families.

A few years back, UDW members stood alongside fast food workers, adjunct professors, retail workers, and more in the Fight for $15. We raised our voices in marches and rallies from San Diego to the Capitol. “All home care workers need to fight for $15, because we deserve better,” said UDW member Gabriel Paramo from San Diego.

And our elected leaders heard us. Late last month, our constant demands for justice caused the governor and legislators to work with unions to come up with a plan to raise millions of working families out of poverty by raising the minimum wage.

When that plan was voted on by the state Senate and Assembly last week, UDW members were there to make sure it passed. “No one who works full time should live in poverty,” said Stanislaus County UDW member Lidia Rodriguez just before the Assembly passed SB 3, and moved it on to the Senate.

When the bill finally passed the Senate and made its way to the governor’s desk, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon told naysayers, “Anyone who thinks $15 an hour is way too much should try living on it.”

UDW member Lisa Scott explaining why we need to raise the minimum wage to a crowd at the Capitol.

UDW member Lisa Scott explaining why we need to raise the minimum wage to a crowd at the Capitol.

All of our hard work culminated in a celebration today in Los Angeles, when Governor Brown, surrounded by UDW home care providers and other workers, signed this landmark legislation.

“We didn’t sit back and wait,” said Riverside County IHSS provider Kady Crick. “We fought for this! And now we’re seeing the fruits of our hard work.”

The new law will raise California’s minimum wage to $10.50 an hour on January 1, 2017, and then to $11 an hour on January 1, 2018. After that, the minimum wage will increase by $1 every year until it reaches $15. Once it reaches $15, it will be raised annually with increases in inflation. The minimum wage is expected to reach $15 by 2022, if there are no pauses triggered by a slow economy or a budget deficit.

UDW member Gabriel Paramo speaking at a Fight for $15 rally in San Diego.

UDW member Gabriel Paramo speaking at a Fight for $15 rally in San Diego.

It is estimated that nearly six million workers in California, or over one-third of the workforce will receive a raise – including thousands of UDW members.

Under the new law, IHSS workers will receive one paid sick day starting July 2018, with three paid sick days to be implemented by 2022.

Although we celebrate this amazing achievement by workers, our work is not done yet. The work we do for seniors and people with disabilities deserves more than minimum wage. That’s why UDW caregivers will continue to bargain at both the county and state level for better wages and benefits NOW.

Contact your local UDW office to learn how you can join our fight for justice – http://www.udwa.org/contact.

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.

In 2016, UDW homecare providers are coming together to end the 7% cut to our clients’ hours for good. But that’s not all—we’re going to play a crucial part in electing lawmakers who will stand up for homecare, continue fighting for better wages and benefits across the state, and work to win respect and dignity for the homecare profession and our clients and loved ones. Find out how you can get involved by calling your local office today.

Looking back to look forward

2015 started off rough. In January, Governor Brown went back on his promise to pay IHSS providers for overtime, travel time, and medical accompaniment time. But this did not discourage us—in fact, we never quit fighting and our hard work paid off. Starting February 1st, IHSS providers will receive overtime pay for the first time in history!

In 2016, we are stronger than ever! At the start of last year, we were a union of about 67,000 IHSS providers. With the addition of new members including our CUHW sisters and brothers, we began the New Year 90,000 providers strong.

IHSS providers in Imperial as well as providers in ten other counties throughout California merged with UDW in 2015.

IHSS providers in Imperial as well as providers in ten other counties throughout California merged with UDW in 2015.

“Together we’re a powerful force to fight and accomplish what we need for homecare providers,” said Diana Sanchez, a UDW member in Imperial County.

Last year, when our elected leaders ended the 7% cut to IHSS recipients’ homecare hours for one year, we vowed to fight to endthe cut permanently. “I lobbied legislators in Sacramento, and I think winning the 7% restoration was our biggest accomplishment,” said Stanislaus County member Jessie Mendoza. “But there’s still a lot more to do. In 2016, I want to make sure my mom, who has dementia, has the strongest homecare program possible.”

Dignity can’t wait

 

Last year, caregivers and clients actively lobbied state lawmakers to win overtime pay and end the 7% cut. We met with them face-to-face and shared our stories.

Last year, caregivers and clients actively lobbied state lawmakers to win overtime pay and end the 7% cut. We met with them face-to-face and shared our stories.

This year, we’re heading to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers and put pressure on them to do the right thing for the people who need it most— seniors, and children and adults with disabilities.

“We have to tell lawmakers our stories and our clients’ stories,” said Cassandra Sambrano, a member from Riverside County. “We won’t back down until they understand that the 7% cut must be restored by any means necessary.”

Your voice matters

One way that homecare workers can effect change is by making sure we elect leaders who will fight for us and our clients. In 2016, we get to do just that.

Our vote is our voice and our power, so we are carefully vetting candidates in both local and statewide races. Recommendations will be made to each local UDW board and our executive board, so that members have a direct say in which candidates will best represent the needs of homecare workers, recipients, and our communities.

We stood together and put pressure on lawmakers to end the 7% cut. This year we will make the restoration permanent!

We stood together and put pressure on lawmakers to end the 7% cut. This year we will make the restoration permanent!

Forging ahead together

In 2016, UDW caregivers will continue our hard work in the nationwide Fight for $15, organizing family child care providers, winning better wages and benefits through county and state-level bargaining, and more.

We have a lot to look forward to and accomplish in 2016. “This is for my son,” said San Diego County member Violeta Cendana. “I am proud to be part of the union. We won overtime, and together we’ll win many more victories this year.”

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.

January 1, 2015

By Doug Moore, UDW Executive Director

We’re at the start of a new and exciting year for UDW. All that we accomplished together in 2015 has put us in a great position to win even more for homecare providers and our clients and loved ones in the New Year. But before we move forward, let’s reflect on where we’ve been.

2015 began with the disappointing announcement that Governor Brown chose to go back on his promise to pay IHSS providers overtime, travel time, and medical wait time.

“I don’t think it’s right,” said Riverside County IHSS provider Jose Diaz when the decision was announced. “We aren’t trying to get rich. We just want to be paid so we can support our families.”

In the face of this devastating news, we fought back. At our Justice for Homecare Tribunal in March, we put the state on trial for its unfair treatment of IHSS providers and our clients. “We need to invest in this program, so it’s available when we need it,” said IHSS recipient Chantal Morris during her tribunal testimony. “And we need to invest in our workers, so they are there to do the job when we need them most.”

Also in March, we held our 15th Constitutional Convention, where it was announced that after over a year of hard work on the part of our member organizers, UDW was 30,00 members stronger. At convention we also welcomed our sisters and brothers of CUHW, and in 2015 we grew from a union of 67,000 homecare providers to nearly 90,000. We were joined by homecare providers from across the world, and passed important resolutions pledging our support to Black Lives Matter and other community-based efforts.

In April and November, UDW caregivers joined the Fight for $15 alongside fast food workers, adjunct professors, and other low wage workers. We committed ourselves to winning justice for all working families, because all workers deserve a living wage and the ability to provide for our families. We solidified this commitment further when we began working to uplift the work of family child care providers, who like homecare providers are undervalued for the work they do to support working families, and many of California’s children.

We worked hard, fought hard, and won big victories!

This summer we defeated the harmful, recession-era 7% cut to our clients’ hours. We converged on the Capitol to demand full restoration of IHSS clients’ hours, and we were heard! In June, Governor Brown signed the current budget, which ended the 7% cut for one year.

In November, after months of demanding #Overtime4Caregivers, the state announced it would finally pay IHSS providers overtime pay for the first time in history. Overtime and other labor protections for homecare workers begins on February 1, 2016, and eligible providers will also receive pay for same-day travel between IHSS clients and medical accompaniment time. “This is a historic victory that is well deserved,” said San Luis Obispo District Chair and IHSS provider Allene Villa. “It shows that leaders know providers mean something and we matter.”

Throughout the year we continued our efforts to win better wages and benefits for homecare workers at the county level, and caregivers in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange counties move forward with state-level bargaining for the first time ever. “I’m here not just for myself but for all homecare workers,” said UDW caregiver Marcus Haynes of Riverside County. “Our team is very strong, and we will win. I don’t want people to starve while they are doing great work, God’s work.”

2016: The Year of the Homecare Worker

One thing people don’t seem to understand about homecare workers is this: we never quit. We don’t quit on our clients and loved ones, we don’t quit on each other, and we won’t quit fighting to protect the homecare program in California.

We deserve dignity and respect, and this year we’re going to demand it! We’re going to work together to end the 7% cut to our clients’ hours for good, and by any means necessary—because dignity can’t wait. We will continue our fight to win retroactive overtime pay for IHSS providers. We’ll work on improvements to the IHSS timesheet process. And together, we will use our strength as a union to help elect the next leaders of our state and country.

I look forward to working with you in the coming months and years. We won’t stop until we win justice.