Caregivers Travel to DC to Defend the ACA
Contact Nina (dot) Jenkins (at) seiu775 (dot) org
Long-term care is a cost that many families don’t know they’ll have to bear until it’s too late. The New York Times takes a look at programs in Hawaii and Washington aimed at helping middle-class families manage that burden.
From the story:
“Washington has been a leader in long-term care for many years. In 2017, it was ranked first in the quality and execution of long-term care in a study commissioned by AARP and several partner organizations. Representative Laurie Jinkins, a Democrat, and Representative Norm Johnson, a Republican, introduced a bill last winter called the Long-Term Care Trust Act, which would provide universal long-term care in the state. Everyone would contribute through a payroll deduction, and everyone would be guaranteed a long-term benefit if needed. The program would provide $100 a day to support caregiving across a range of care situations including at-home care, assisted living and nursing homes. Washingtonians have a strong track record of passing legislation on a similar model, including universal paid family leave in 2017 and universal paid sick leave in 2016. The bill is expected to be reintroduced in early 2018…
“The proposed legislation in Washington is limited to 365 days (consecutive or not) of caregiving support and the Kupuna Caregivers program is starting with a six-month trial period. With those limits, these programs aren’t meant to be lifetime care. But they offer options for families that can’t afford private insurance and don’t want to spend down retirement savings to qualify for Medicaid.”
SEIU 775 caregivers across Washington State came together and are proud to endorse the following candidates for elected office.
Make sure to drop your ballot in a dropbox, or mail it in by November 7.
Dropboxes close promptly at 8 p.m.
31st Legislative District, State House: Morgan Irwin
31st Legislative District, State Senate: Phil Fortunato
37th Legislative District, State Senate: Rebecca Saldaña
45th Legislative District, State Senate: Manka Dhingra
48th Legislative District, State Senate: Patty Kuderer
48th Legislative District, State Senate: Vandana Slatter
King County, County Executive: Dow Constantine
King County, County Council Position 3: Kathy Lambert
King County, County Council Position 5: Dave Upthegrove
King County, County Council Position 7: Pete von Reichbauer
King County, County Council Position 9: Reagan Dunn
Proposition No. 1 Levy Lid Lift for Veterans, Seniors and Vulnerable Populations: Vote Yes
Federal Way, Mayor: Jim Ferrell
Seattle, Mayor: Jenny Durkan
Tacoma, Mayor: Victoria Woodards
City Council Races
Auburn City Council, Position 6: Larry Brown
Burien City Council, Position 1: Pedro Olguin
Burien City Council, Position 3: Jimmy Matta
Des Moines City Council, Position 7: Chad Harper
Edmonds City Council, Position 3: Adrienne Fraley-Monillas
Federal Way City Council, Position 2: Jesse Johnson
Kent City Council, Position 2: Satwinder Kaur
Kent City Council, Position 4: Tye Whitfield
Renton City Council, Position 6: Ruth Perez
Sammamish City Council, Position 1: Jason Ritchie
Sammamish City Council, Position 5: Rituja Indapure
Seattle City Council, Position 8: Teresa Mosqueda
Seattle City Council, Position 9: M. Lorena González
Shoreline City Council, Position 5: Carolyn Ahlgreen
Spokane City Council, Position 1: Kate Burke
Spokane City Council, Position 2: Breean Beggs
Spokane City Council, Position 3: Candace Mumm
Tacoma City Council, Position 4: Catherine Ushka
Tacoma City Council, Position 5: Chris Beale
Tukwila City Council Position 5: Zak Idan
Tukwila City Council, Position 7: De’Sean Quinn
Kent School Board, Position 2: Maya Vendgadasalam
Port of Seattle, Position 1: Ryan Calkins
Port of Seattle, Position 3: Ahmed Abdi
Port of Seattle, Position 4: Preeti Shridhar
Seattle City Attorney: Pete Holmes
Please stay tuned for updates. SEIU 775 caregivers’ endorsements will be updated throughout the election cycle.
Home care aides are not taking a proposed $28.1 million cut to their healthcare benefits lying down.
Since April, caregivers have been organizing around the state to raise awareness about the life-altering budget cuts proposed by Senate Republicans. Demonstrators have called on their state senators to work across the aisle to find a way to support long-term-care service providers in Washington state.
State of Play for Home Care Aide Healthcare Benefits
State Republican Senators are attempting to fund tax breaks for the wealthy by defunding health insurance for caregivers. Under their budget, the Health Benefits Trust – the home care aide healthcare group – would suffer $28.1 million reduction in funding. To accommodate the loss in funding, the Benefits Group would have to change eligibility requirements and require a 500 percent increase in premiums, which could put the cost of healthcare out of reach for most caregivers.
There are thousands of caregivers all over the state who could see a rise in healthcare costs if the Legislature moves forward in gutting their healthcare.
Standing Stronger Together
For demonstrators like Cindy Thao and Bunrod Harvey, two local caregivers living Snohomish and King counties, Senate Republicans’ commitment to defunding their healthcare benefits prompted them to reach out to the public for support.
“Healthcare is not just a budget line item for tens of thousands of home care aides,” said Adam Glickman, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU 775. “Healthcare is a well-deserved safety-net when caregivers need care. This will impact thousands of caregivers. Even parents who sacrificed full-time careers could be forced off their healthcare if this budget cut goes through. If they become sick, who will care for their adult child?”
In addition to local demonstrations, home care aides have been calling and emailing their state senators urging them to vote against these massive cuts to caregiver health benefits. To date, SEIU 775 members made 5,300+ calls and sent 10,000+ emails into the Legislature.
The decision to save funding for the home care aide health-insurance program will be decided upon this fiscal year. Budget negotiations between the House and Senate have reached a stalemate after Gov. Inslee extended the regular legislative session through May 24.
To stand with caregivers, take action today by calling the legislative hotline at (844) 669-0064. Leave a message for your Senator telling them to stand with home care workers.
275 residential caregivers at ResCare Washington, Inc. voted overwhelmingly to unite with SEIU 775 as its newest members.
They join 953 home care workers from the private home care agency First Choice, who joined SEIU 775 in July.
These significant wins end a year of historic victories for SEIU 775. During the 2015 legislative session, caregivers won legislation setting minimum levels of staffing for nursing homes, set at 3.4 direct care hours per resident day effective July 1, 2016, which gives Washington one of the strongest minimum staffing levels in the country.
Home care workers also celebrated a new two-year contract that awards them the first-ever retirement benefit for home care workers in the nation. Under this new contract funded by the legislature this year, caregivers will also see their average hourly wage go up from about $12 an hour to more than $14 an hour by January 2017.
SEIU 775 is 44,000 long-term care workers in Washington and Montana.
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If you would like more information, please contact Chris Casquejo at 206-538-5721 or email at Chris.Casquejo@seiu775.org.
June 30, 2015
Budget Approves Funding For Home Care Union Contract
Olympia – More than 40,000 home care workers will see significant raises over the next two years and a first-ever retirement benefit under their new union contract. The legislature yesterday passed budgets approving funding for the new contract, which will raise the average wage of home care workers from just over $12/hour to more than $14/hour over the biennium.
“This is another huge step towards lifting caregivers out of poverty,” said Vancouver home care worker Linda Lee. “Twelve years ago caregivers made just over minimum wage, about $7/hour, but by the end of next year most caregivers will be making more than $14/hour. That’s doubling our wages in just over a decade – that would never have been possible without gaining a strong voice through our union.”
The contract also provides for a first-ever retirement benefit for state-paid home care workers. The state will pay 23-cents/hour into a privately managed retirement fund for these caregivers.
“Winning a retirement benefit is a game changer for caregivers and the long-term care workforce,” said SEIU 775 Secretary-Treasurer Adam Glickman, who led negotiations with the state on the contract.. “This will help stabilize and increase the workforce as we prepare for a huge increase in the senior population over the next few decades.”
The contract directly covers 33,000 home care workers who are paid directly by the state to serve low-income seniors and people with disabilities, and the budget also includes funding to provide similar increases in pay and benefits to another 12,000 home care workers employed by private agencies that serve Medicaid clients.
June 30, 2015
Olympia – Nursing home workers across the state are excited about the prospect for improved quality of care, as the Governor prepares to sign today groundbreaking legislation establishing for the first time minimum staffing levels for nursing homes in Washington State.
“I’ve seen it all: residents falling and hitting themselves on the head, residents who go for weeks without a shower because there’s no one available to give them one, even a resident who got outside and fell on the sidewalk, suffering a traumatic brain injury. If our building had been fully staffed, he wouldn’t have died that way,” said Bellingham nursing home aide and SEIU 775 board member Shelly Hughes. “Setting minimum staffing levels will improve the lives of some of Washington’s most vulnerable residents”
Championed by Representatives Eileen Cody and Senator Linda Parlette and passed almost unanimously in both chambers, HB 1274 creates a framework to simplify the nursing home rate payment system and move towards a system that rewards quality care. The legislation also mandates minimum level of staffing for nursing homes, set at 3.4 direct care hours per resident day effective July 1, 2016, which gives Washington one of the strongest minimum staffing levels in the country.
According to a national scorecard by AARP, turnover for Certified Nursing Assistants in nursing homes in Washington State is 52 percent, putting Washington near the bottom of the nation in turnover among nursing aides. One of the most cited reasons caregivers leave the field is inadequate staffing levels.
“Legislators really stepped up to address quality care in our state’s nursing homes ,”said SEIU 775 Secretary-Treasurer Adam Glickman. “it was encouraging to see such strong bi-partisan support for ensuring that nursing homes have enough staffing to keep residents safe and ensure quality care for our most vulnerable.”
SEIU 775 represents caregivers at 30 nursing homes across Washington State.
Home care workers across the state applaud House Democrats for continuing to support fully funding the home care union contract with a retirement benefit. Unlike the Senate, the House proposal does not make a modest retirement benefit contingent on restricting bargaining rights and ensuring that caregivers can never have an adequate retirement.
House Democrats are also doing the right thing for working families by standing up for a capital gains tax, an important step towards ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share to support public services and improving the most regressive tax system in our country.
We urge the House to restore funding for private home care agencies to ensure that they can continue to provide quality care for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities in our community.
We remain deeply disappointed by the Senate Republican’s ongoing efforts to restrict the bargaining rights of home care workers and undermine their ability to have a secure retirement. The Senate Republican budget proposal puts unreasonable restrictions on the ability of caregivers to bargain for retirement benefits and would consign caregivers to continue to work until they need long-term care themselves.
Home care workers, who make an average of $12/hour, bargained for a modest defined contribution retirement benefit this year. For an average caregiver this benefit would contribute about $300/year into their retirement account – well below what is needed to build a secure retirement. Senate Bill 6126 would severely restrict the ability of low-wage caregivers to bargain for an increase in their retirement benefits in the future and prevent them from ever having the ability to retire.
SEIU 775 represents 43,000 long-term care workers across Washington State including home care aides, nursing home workers, and adult day health workers.