Winter 2022

April 20, 2022

The Life-Changing Power of Getting Involved in Your Union

It’s a well-known fact that having a union can help you earn better pay and benefits. But getting active in your union can help you in other ways, too. Through our union, members learn how to make important changes in our communities—and how to use that training to help ourselves in other areas of our lives.

Becoming an active union member can help you:

  • Connect with your peers—Our union is made up of over 148,000 home care and family child care providers.No one understands the unique challenges and rewards of our work like others who share the same profession. When you become active in your union, you build a network who will support you when you need it.

Miren Algorri, Family Child Care Provider, San Diego

Being so active in the union has helped me stay strong and stay focused. At times things get too hard to go on, but then you have your sisters and brothers that are the for you and they become a shoulder to cry on. They listen and offer guidance. They take matters into their own hands and give you the tools to keep on going. If we’re together, we are invincible. 

  • Get involved in social justice—Our union supports and conducts trainings all over the state to help members learn the history behind the challenges we face. Together through our Civil and Human Rights councils, we educate each other and take action to build a better and more equitable world.

Desmond Prescott, IHSS Provider, Riverside 

The racial and civil rights councils have helped me to speak with a little bit more conviction and brought about a lot of clarity as to why the condition of homeware providers is what it is today…Once you start to see the systematic oppression and systematic ways in which providers were cut out of the legislation process, it gives you a larger understanding and ideas to what you can do daily to create change.

  • Build your communication skills—UDW passes laws and wins important changes to public policies by connecting our members to elected leaders and other decision makers. You can learn how to share your story and become a better public speaker—all while helping your fellow union members.

Josefina Ochoa, IHSS Provider, Merced County

“Being active within the union has made me stronger and has educated me very well in how to best approach local political leaders to better advocate for myself and for my community. It’s also helped me get involved with other groups in the community that are in similar situations and fighting for rights to protect the health of our clients.”

  • Step into your leadership—All the elected leaders of UDW are members just like you who realized becoming a leader is sometimes as simple as stepping up and speaking out. UDW members who have become leaders travel to meetings and conferences around the country to share our stories and build relationships with other workers and activists. Some of our members even run—and win—elections for public office!

William Reed, PhD, Secretary Treasurer UDW, IHSS provider, Placer County

“Being an active part of the union has given me the forum to speak to others about the difficulties I faced as a provider, as well as a parent of a disabled son. It has also helped me reach out to a wider audience as a leader, connected me to other organizations and has broadened my knowledge not only about the IHSS program, but in about how laws are passed and how organizations interact to create change. Ultimately, it’s helped me see how I can make a significant difference through my actions.”

There are several ways you can get involved, whether it’s through our many councils, volunteering at events, becoming a graduate of our Leadership Academy, or by sharing your story with others. So, what are you waiting for?! We are taking on big challenges in 2022 and there are many opportunities for you to learn, lead and grow. Visit www.udwa.org/get-involved and sign up to learn more.

CCPU-UDW members rally for health care

After months of bargaining with the state to improve provider access to quality, affordable health care benefits, child care providers are increasingly frustrated that the state has failed to make any progress to address providers’ access to affordable health care.

So, on December 7, members of CCPU-UDW joined family child care providers from across the state in a candlelight vigil for our fellow providers who lost their lives due to inadequate health coverage, demanding that the state take immediate action to protect these essential workers.

In a recent survey, 20% of CCPU members reported that they don’t have health insurance of any kind and 50% said they had to skip appointments or treatments because their healthcare premiums were too high. The survey also exposed the dire consequences for child care providers with no health coverage: One provider broke a bone while caring for young people, and couldn’t afford the cost of a cast; as a result, her bone healed improperly. Another provider reported having to pick up a second job on the weekend just to afford a pair of eyeglasses. Many providers report putting off lifesaving preventative care such as mammograms and pap tests because of the cost.

“California is sitting on a $31 billion surplus, yet they are telling us they can’t afford to take action on our health care,” said Charlotte Neal, a family child care provider in Sacramento. “But with what we are hearing from providers, they should be asking:  How can we afford NOT to do something?”

Heroes Pay for IHSS Providers

Dear fellow providers,

Over the last year, UDW members came closer together, built a better and stronger union, and raised our voices to make historic advances for all IHSS and family child care providers. Regardless of the hurdles we met throughout 2021, UDW members continued to amaze me with your leadership and passion!

Our work, including the restoration of hours to IHSS providers and a historic contract ratification with the state of California for family child care providers, has encouraged legislators to recognize just how valuable our work is to the community—not just with words, but through actions.

UDW fought hard for the recognition of our members, and last September, when the current administration increased funding for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), we made sure that it included provisions to give IHSS providers what we’re calling 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, to be distributed in early 2022. The state already began disbursing the funds, which they are calling “Care Economy Payments,” as of Jan. 3, 2022, and should complete payouts by Jan. 28, 2022.

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 that our voices are being heard and making an impact. Of course, we have a long way to go before reaching an equitable and sustainable future for all care providers, so we must keep looking forward and fighting for what we deserve!

Thank you for your tremendous work in leading us one step further on this journey to a future that respects and recognizes all UDW members as essential, front-line workers.

In solidarity,

Editha Adams
IHSS provider and UDW Statewide President

Help us rename The Caregiver and win $100!

Now that our union includes caregivers and family child care providers, we’re changing the name of our newsletter to be more inclusive—but we need to hear from you! All UDW members are welcome to submit name ideas, and every member who submits will be entered to win a gift card for $100. All entries must be received by March 1, 2022. Visit www.udwa.org/caregiver-contest to enter today!

More News

Historic Tax Benefit for Union Workers Championed by UDW Signed into Law

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Workers Tax Credit into law, a major… Read More

Fighting for Supplemental Pay and better futures!

Hami Kitsuda was stuck between a rock and a hard place. She was… Read More

Coming #AllTogether at AFSCME’s 45th International Convention

This July, 45 UDW delegates joined more than 2,000 union siblings for the… Read More