“The work that you do matters,” Bullock told a crowd of nearly three dozen SEIU Healthcare 775NW caregivers in a lunchtime ceremony in the Capitol rotunda. Bullock spent a day last year working with Belgrade caregiver Anna Volkersz, experiencing the emotional and physical demands caregivers experience daily.
Caregivers from around Montana were at the Capitol to urge lawmakers to fund better wages, improve healthcare coverage and support Access Montana. Bullock buoyed the caregivers’ efforts, calling on the Legislature to find a better way to deliver healthcare in Montana.
“It’s the right thing to do,” Bullock said.
The caregivers, all clad in signature SEIU purple jerseys, clogged the Capitol hallways to meet with representatives and senators outside the two chambers.
House Minority Leader, Rep. Chuck Hunter, reminded the caregivers that their work providing support to seniors and people with disabilities is “really critical.”
“I’ll work hard to take you of you in this session,” Hunter said.
Dozens of caregivers unite in Helena sending clear message to support vital workforce
HELENA, Mont. (Jan. 30, 2013) – Montana’s changing demographics and burgeoning senior population will require a vibrant workforce of caregivers. That’s part of the message that will be delivered Wednesday when dozens of SEIU Healthcare 775NW home care workers from around the state meet with lawmakers and Gov. Steve Bullock.
“Home care workers provide the state’s most vulnerable citizens – our seniors and people with disabilities – the dignity and ability to stay in their homes,” SEIU Healthcare 775NW member Anna Volkersz said. “We save the state millions over costly institutional care, and yet many of us still live in poverty. We’re here in Helena to ask lawmakers to do the right thing: Support better wages, more affordable health care and fully implement Access Montana.”
By 2032, the number of people 85 and older is expected to grow by 75 percent in Montana, recent reports show. Unless a viable workforce is available to meet the needs, these seniors risk being institutionalized or worse.
SEIU Healthcare 775NW represents about 800 caregivers in the Montana and more than 40,000 caregivers in Washington. We are part of Service Employees International Union, the fastest growing union in the country, representing more than 2.1 million workers.
A note from SEIU member Anna Volkersz
We need a Governor who will support homecare and nursing home workers. That’s why Steve Bullock is our choice for governor in Montana.
Steve took time out of his campaign to spend a day working with me and my client in Bozeman. He walked a day in my shoes, so he could better understand the stamina, dedication and professional service that caregivers like you and me give to their clients and residents. He assisted my client getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, doing laundry, cooking breakfast and doing the dishes.
After seeing Steve work with my client with care and compassion, I know that my vote is going to elect a governor who will stand with homecare aides and nursing home workers–not against us.
On Tax Day, people across the country stood up for the 99%. In Montana, our union joined allies to demand that the wealthiest 1% pay their fair share.
Montana communities offered several solutions for the nation’s budget woes including the passage of the Buffet ruling that would end the tax breaks for the corporate 1%.
On February 17, workers at the Missoula Health and Rehabilitation Center voted by a margin of 63% to unionize. They registered via card check to become represented members of SEIU Healthcare 775NW.
“We are thrilled to be represented by SEIU Healthcare 775NW and look forward to negotiating our first union contract,” said Frannie Roberts, CNA and member of the Organizing Committee. She added, “My co-workers and I think having a union will give us a stronger voice at work.”
Missoula Health and Rehab Center is a 53 bed facility that provides a continuum of care that includes professional nursing care, rehabilitative therapy and other support services to residents enabling them to maintain their independence. The facility is designed to meet both short and long-term care needs.
There are approximately 30 bargaining unit members.