In the News

Press Release: Washington Caregivers Look to Elections as Nursing Homes See Increase in COVID-19 Cases and DSHS Proposes Cuts to Already Short-Staffed Facilities

Nursing home and in-home care workers are rallying in Tacoma asking Washington voters to elect candidates who support funding long-term care in Washington

TACOMA, WA – This afternoon, nursing home workers from across the state alongside in-home care providers are rallying as part of a national movement to vote for lawmakers who support funding long-term care facilities like the ones hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The workers will gather (socially distant) in Tacoma in support of Senate candidate T’wina Nobles. The rally takes place one week after a Joint Legislative Executive Committee hearing where both nursing home workers and in-home care providers testified against the proposed budget cuts for long-term care by the State’s Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS).

For nursing home worker Shelly Hughes, being a low-income Black healthcare worker puts her at higher risk of contracting and dying from this disease. And she’s not alone. Most caregivers in nursing homes are women of color and many are working without affordable healthcare even as they put themselves at risk to care for others.

“Nursing Homes have been underfunded, understaffed and under resourced for years. The pandemic made every single problem in a nursing home worse, and cutting $240 million right now could effectively destroy the entire nursing home industry. We need lawmakers who understand the problem and support us – the essential healthcare workers on the front lines of this pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, we went into the field without proper PPE, often short-staffed, while a deadly disease killed hundreds of thousands of people including healthcare workers and nursing home residents. If my life and the lives of my residents and coworkers matter, our elected leaders will work to find a way to stop the proposed cuts and ensure everyone in WA pays their fair share.”

Nursing home workers are the front lines of healthcare in our country, and they are putting their health at risk to fulfill a critical need during this crisis. But nursing homes and their workers are not getting the funding or equipment they need to stay safe or the pay they deserve as essential workers. Nearly one in three (31%) long-term facilities in Washington, according to recent estimates, have had to function without one week’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Short-staffing in nursing homes isn’t new in this industry, it’s something that our Union has been fighting for years and it’s now been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders. “Washington needs lawmakers who are looking toward the future of long-term care. We need progressive revenue, not cuts – and the richest people in our state need to pay their fair share.”

As of October 14, 101 nursing homes (48.3%) in Washington state have had known cases of COVID-19. These facilities had a total of 7,695 cases among residents, staff, and visitors resulting in 1,203 deaths. This means residents, workers, and visitors associated with long-term care facilities made up more than half of all COVID-19-related deaths in our state.

Caregivers endorse T’wina Nobles for state Senate because she has committed to fighting to lift caregivers out of poverty by supporting better wages, benefits and workforce development, to funding nursing homes adequately and addressing the unsafe staffing levels in nursing homes and to rebalance the tax code to ensure those at the top are contributing to the economic wellbeing of all Washingtonians.

Rally Information

  • When: Saturday, October 24 from 2-4 p.m.
  • Where: The intersection of 6th Avenue and S Pearl Street in Tacoma, WA
  • Who: Washington nursing home and home care workers represented by SEIU 775

DSHS Proposed Cuts Background

DSHS’s proposed 2021-2023 budget cuts $1.1 billion in long-term care services for the elderly and people with disabilities. For the people of Washington, these cuts mean:

  • More than 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities will be kicked off of home care services
  • More than 2,800 people will be kicked out of the nursing home where they live
  • 10,000 in-home caregivers will lose their jobs, resulting in a loss of $150 million in income per year to local economies
  • Wages and benefits for in-home caregivers that keep their job will be cut by $50 million, a loss of about $1,300 a year for a full-time caregiver
  • Between changes in eligibility and rates cuts, home care funding will be cut by $200 million a year
  • Between changes in eligibility and rates cuts, nursing home funding will be cut by $240 million a year

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 SEIU 775

SEIU 775, the caregivers union, represents more than 45,000 long-term care workers providing quality home care, nursing home care, and residential services in Washington and Montana.

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Press Release: Essential in-home and nursing home SEIU 775 caregivers testify against devastating DSHS cuts

October 14, 2020

Olympia, WA – This afternoon, four caregivers testified during the Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Planning for Aging and Disability Issues hearing about the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) proposed $1.1 billion cuts to long-term care services.

Shelly Hughes a nursing home worker in Bellingham testified about how the pandemic has impacted her residents and how the proposed cuts will only worsen a bad situation. “Many of my residents lived their last days in isolation, separated from their families with only the staff there to comfort them. We did the best we could to be there for them in their time of need, but there’s only so much you can do if you have staffing challenges. That’s why the middle of a pandemic is the worst time to try and cut $240 million from an already struggling nursing home industry.”

Caregivers put our health on the line because the people we care for needed us. To cut funding for essential health care work and those who need essential healthcare now, in the middle of a global pandemic, is not acceptable.

For in-home caregiver Vicki Bickford, the cuts will not only affect her, but it will be detrimental to her client’s health. “With my client, cutting hours would be terrible, because he needs constant care. He can’t afford it. He needs more hours and not less. Over the years I’ve worked with him, he’s just gotten weaker and weaker. Our clients need more hours, not less. And for me, I also need all of my hours to keep a roof over my head and food on my table.”

We live in a state where those who make the least pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than wealthy residents – but DSHS proposes to cut wages and benefits for caregivers who make $16-18 per hour.

“We pay more 20% of our taxes and these big businesses are paying 3%,” said caregiver Diana Sanchez from Des Moines. “They don’t know my client and he doesn’t know them – why play with his life? That’s what they’re doing, playing with lives. I can’t think of waking up and not having my client’s benefits. To propose a cut to eligibility and healthcare hurts clients and me and other caregivers.”

When this pandemic started, Governor Inslee called caregivers essential workers. Our work helped flatten the curve and kept Washington safe. At the same time caregivers were risking their lives, Washington’s richest saw their wealth continually increase.

Nursing home worker Eileen Rebolledo contracted COVID-19 earlier this spring after her facility had a serious outbreak. Even as her management did what they could to get staff to work the floors, short-staffing due to already insufficient funding hurt her ability to care for residents when she was healthy. “The proposed cuts would mean more than 2,800 people will be kicked out of the nursing home where they live and funding to nursing homes would be cut by $240 million year meaning staffing our already short-staffed facilities will become even more difficult. Nursing homes is Washington, some of the hardest hit by this pandemic, need funding. Long-term care is part of healthcare and you do not cut healthcare funding.”

Washington needs revenue. We need a tax system that makes the wealthiest in our state pay their fair share. Balancing the budget on the backs of essential workers in Washington is unacceptable.

A recording of the Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Planning for Aging and Disability Issues hearing is available to view on TVW.

Background

DSHS’s proposed 2021-2023 budget cuts $1.1 billion in long-term care services for the elderly and people with disabilities. For the people of Washington, these cuts mean:

  • More than 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities will be kicked off of home care services
  • More than 2,800 people will be kicked out of the nursing home where they live
  • 10,000 in-home caregivers will lose their jobs, resulting in a loss of $150 million in income per year to local economies
  • Wages and benefits for in-home caregivers that keep their job will be cut by $50 million, a loss of about $1,300 a year for a full-time caregiver
  • Between changes in eligibility and rates cuts, home care funding will be cut by $200 million a year
  • Between changes in eligibility and rates cuts, nursing home funding will be cut by $240 million a year

 

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SEIU 775

SEIU 775, the caregivers union, represents more than 45,000 long-term care workers providing quality home care, nursing home care, and residential services in Washington and Montana.

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Press Release: Yakima Caregivers Demand Funding for Nursing Homes as COVID-19 Cases Climb

“Nursing home workers are essential, frontline healthcare workers… That’s why we’re out here today – to demand that the State and Federal government do better to protect us and to provide the resources we need to keep ourselves and our residents safe.” – Julie Ortiz, Yakima Nursing Home

YAKIMA, WA – Nursing home workers in Yakima – a city with less than four percent of Washington state’s population but almost 15 percent of its COVID-19 cases – are protesting downtown today as part of a national movement to demand funding for long-term care facilities like the ones hit hardest by the pandemic.

Nursing home workers are the frontlines of healthcare in our country, and they are putting their health at risk to fulfill a critical need during this crisis. Their jobs are getting harder, not easier. But nursing homes and their workers are not getting the funding or equipment they need to stay safe or the pay they deserve as essential workers. And while nursing home workers desperately need more resources to take care of their residents safely, the State’s Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS) is now proposing a $60 million cut to nursing home funding.

One in three COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes, according to recent estimates, and yet the caregivers in these homes must continue working without hazard pay or personal protective equipment (PPE). This lack of both federal and state funding directly puts the lives of working people, our families, and our communities at greater risk.

“Nursing home workers are essential, frontline healthcare workers,” said Julie Ortiz, a nursing home worker in Yakima. “We’ve kept some of our state’s most vulnerable out of overwhelmed hospitals while putting our own health on the line. Nursing home workers deserve better. That’s why we’re out here today – to demand that the State and Federal government do better to protect us and to provide the resources we need to keep ourselves and our residents safe.”

As of May 13, 279 long-term care facilities in Washington state had known cases of COVID-19. These facilities had a total of 2,894 cases among residents and staff, resulting in 507 deaths. This means residents and workers in long-term care facilities made up one in five (17%) of all cases in the state and more than half of all COVID-19-related deaths.

SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders says, “Caregivers, who are primarily women – and often Black women, women of color, and immigrants – have always been critically undervalued as healthcare workers and are now disproportionately being affected by COVID-19. Nursing home staff are being called essential workers by the same elected officials who are withholding vital funding for the equipment and pay they need to do their jobs safely.”

Nursing home work is essential. Nursing home workers deserve hazard pay. Nursing homes need funding.

 

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Press Release: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Announces Plan to Balance the State Budget By Destroying Long-Term Care Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL & HEALTH SERVICES ANNOUNCES PLAN TO BALANCE THE STATE BUDGET BY DECIMATING LONG-TERM CARE SERVICES 

SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders: To cut funding for the frontlines of healthcare in the middle of a global pandemic is tantamount to neglect. The people of Washington are asking: Why are we slashing care for the most vulnerable while the wealthiest in our state pay next to nothing. 

SEATTLE, WA – Today, the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS) announced their plan to balance the state budget by decimating long-term care services in our state. They’re electing to eliminate nursing homehome care, and other services for tens of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities, cutting wages and benefits for already low-wage home care workers, and slashing funding for nursing homes that were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.   

This proposal is outrageous. Caregivers put our health on the line because the people we care for needed us. To cut funding for essential work now, in the middle of a global pandemic, is not acceptable.  

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic I’ve been caring for my five clients 24-7, because if I wasn’t there I’m not sure who would help them out of bed and make sure they have enough to eat,” said caregiver Shazia Anwar. “DSHS’s proposed cuts will leave thousands of vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities without essential healthcare while we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic.” 

We live in a state where those who make the least pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than wealthy residents – but DSHS proposes to cut wages and benefits for in-home caregivers who make $16-18 per hour  

“I’ve been taking care of one client for over 5 years. When we were both diagnosed with COVID-19, even though I couldn’t be in his home with him, I didn’t stop taking care of him because his anxiety meant he needed me at this time more than ever,” said caregiver Desirae Hernandez.”We spent over 2 hours a day on the phone as I walked him through remembering to eat, talking to his substitute caregiver, and trying to mitigate his depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I kept him out of the hospital, and I know I’m the reason he’s still alive.”  

When this pandemic started, Governor Inslee called caregivers essential workers. Our work helped flatten the curve and kept Washington safe. At the same time caregivers were risking their lives, Washington’s richest saw their wealth continually increase.  

“Caregivers – who are generally women, and often Black women, women of color and immigrants – care for clients who are often high risk for COVID-19. For an in-home caregiver, over the course of a week they go into multiple peoples’ homes, the grocery store and pharmacy to pick up necessary supplies for the people they care for. Nursing home workers cared for wards of COVID-19 residents without proper access to PPE and testing. Caregivers in our state showed up to work, while risking their lives,” said Sterling Harders, SEIU 775 President. “To cut funding for the frontlines of healthcare in the middle of a global pandemic is tantamount to neglect. The people of Washington are asking: why are we slashing services for the most vulnerable while the wealthiest in our state pay next to nothing.”   

Washington needs revenue. We need a tax system that makes the wealthiest in our state pay their fair share. We need a new normal that addresses the unacceptable inequities– that have plagued our society.  

Balancing the budget on the backs of essential workers in Washington is unacceptable. We are ready to fight back. 

 

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SEIU 775 

SEIU 775, the caregivers union, represents more than 45,000 long-term care workers providing quality home care, nursing home care, and residential services in Washington and Montana.  

 

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SEIU 775 in the News

Families, caregivers oppose DSHS budget cuts that could take help away from 20,000
The News Tribune and MSN.com
October 19, 2020
SEIU 775 said in a press release that “DSHS’s proposed 2021-2023 budget cuts $1.1 billion in long-term care services for the elderly and people with disabilities.”
The union said that would mean more than 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities would lose home care services, and that more than 2,800 “will be kicked out of the nursing home where they live.”
SEIU 775 also said 10,000 in-home caregivers would lose their jobs, and those who keep their full-time jobs would lose about $1,300 a year in wages and benefits.
Shelly Hughes, a Bellingham nursing home worker and union member, told the committee: “The middle of the pandemic is the worst time” for such cuts in the “already struggling nursing home industry.”
Read more at The News Tribune.
Read more at MSN.com.

Sterling Harders: Proposed State Funding Cuts Would Harm Patients, Essential Health Care Workers
Publicola
October 7, 2020
The 45,000 in-home and nursing home caregivers of SEIU 775 have always been on the front lines of health care. We’re the first ones to know if our clients are coughing or running a fever. We know when the person we care for seems dizzy, or when their appetite is off. We know first because we’re inside of their homes providing health care, preparing food, and cleaning surfaces, giving invaluable care to the most vulnerable people in our communities. We keep those who want to stay in their homes out of costly institutions, and care for those who require nursing home care to stay healthy.
Caregivers didn’t stop providing care during the coronavirus pandemic, despite a glaring lack of PPE in the first few months. Nelly, a caregiver in Yakima, lives with her client. When everyone in Nelly’s home, including Nelly, tested positive for COVID-19, she continued providing care and kept her vulnerable client out of the hospital.
Caregiving is essential. Yet it has been consistently devalued because of systemic racism and sexism. Like farm workers and domestic workers, caregivers were deliberately excluded from the worker protection laws created after the Great Depression. We were excluded because of who we are and what we look like—predominantly women, including black women, women of color and immigrants. Caregivers had to fight to win basic standards like minimum wage, the right to a union, and even the right to protection from harassment and discrimination long after other workers won those rights.
Read more at Publicola.
(more…)
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COVID-19 UPDATE: Our Union’s actions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis

Dear Sisters, Brothers, and Siblings,

I am writing to update you on our Union’s actions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis that is impacting our State, and particularly King County.

First, I want to recognize that nursing home workers have been among the hardest hit – we’re taking a number of steps in response:

  1. Making sure the legislature increases Nursing Home funding that many of you have been supporting at Purple Presences in Olympia
  2. Working with various state agencies to seek emergency funding to help alleviate the additional staffing and supply burdens on nursing homes in the short term
  3. Preparing a public campaign to highlight the need for better staffing, better wages, healthcare, and unions for nursing home workers. Some of those stories have already run, including:

In addition, to protect home care workers and our clients we are:

  • Coordinating with the SEIU 775 Benefits Group on education webinars, you can view the latest one here
  • Communicating with employers and the State to ensure that caregivers showing symptoms can stay home and be paid for the time in quarantine
  • Working to ensure that caregivers can get quicker access to gloves and other protective equipment when possible

We also want to make sure that our union staff is protected, which is why we are following King County’s guidelines to allow employees to work from home. This has been a particular challenge for our Member Resource Center, but I’m proud to report the MRC is now up and running with reps answering calls remotely! If you get an error message between our modified hours of operation 8-4:30, please send us an email at mrc@seiu775.org or try calling again! We appreciate your patience as we work to get back up to normal operations.

Out of an abundance of caution we are also cancelling in-person Union meetings for the month of March.

We’re also getting questions about the ongoing availability of training classes especially from those nearing deadlines – we are working with the State to try to extend training and testing deadlines. Please stay tuned for more information and keep an eye out on updates about training from SEIU 775 or the SEIU 775 Benefits Group.

And while all this was happening, the legislature passed SB6205 – landmark legislation that addresses the harassment, abuse and discrimination of caregivers, an important part of the HADit campaign we launched during Leadership Conference last year! This was only possible because of the leadership that came from you all and other member leaders.

While we’re taking the time we need to respond to caregivers at the center of this crisis, our Union is not slowing down one bit!

Best,
Sterling Harders Web
  Sterling Harders
  SEIU 775 President

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Washington State House Bill 2681 and Senate Bill 6205 Addressing the Harassment, Abuse, and Discrimination of Caregivers Both Voted out of Committee

SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders: “Caregiving is work typically done by women, who work alone in someone’s home. They have no process or place to report or respond when they feel they are at danger at work. These bills will make the care environment safer for both caregivers and the people they care for by creating safety, prevention, and reporting standards. Everyone deserves to feel safe while giving and receiving care.”

OLYMPIA, WA – Today, House Bill 2681 – a bill that addresses the harassment, abuse, and discrimination of caregivers – was successfully voted out of the Washington state House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee. It joins companion bill Senate Bill 6205, which was voted out of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee yesterday, in moving to the respective Ways and Means Committees for the next vote.

Caregivers testified in support of both these bills on Jan. 28 before the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee and on Jan. 15 before the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee, urging the legislature to pass these powerful and comprehensive policies that ensure everyone can feel safe while giving and receiving care.

Caregivers shared their experiences with incidents of harassment, abuse, and discrimination – which can come from anyone in the care environment, including other people residing in or visiting their client’s home, friends, family, or neighbors. The impact is more than an immediate reaction. It affects caregivers’ health, wellbeing, and quality of care. Additionally, it leads to increased turnover among direct care workers, which can lower quality of care for clients.

Historically, caregivers – the majority of whom are low-income and women of color – have been excluded from basic workplace protection standards. But in this moment in this country, people, especially women, are stepping up and demanding a safer work environment. Caregiving is no different.

“Caregiving is work typically done by women, who work alone in someone’s home. They have no process or place to report or respond when they feel they are at danger at work,” said SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders. “These bills will make the care environment safer for both caregivers and the people they care for by creating safety, prevention, and reporting standards. Everyone deserves to feel safe while giving and receiving care.”

Senate Bill 6205 is sponsored in the Washington state Senate by Andy Billig, 3rd District, Spokane; Annette Cleveland, 49th District, Vancouver; Steve Conway, 29th District, Tacoma; Manka Dhingra, 45th District, Redmond; David Frockt, 46th District, Seattle, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park; Karen Keiser, 33rd District, Des Moines; Mark Mullet, 5th District, Issaquah; Emily Randall, 26th District, Bremerton; Rebecca Saldaña, 37th District, Seattle; Kevin Van De Wege, 24th District, Sequim.

House Bill 2681 is sponsored in the Washington state House of Representatives by Mike Chapman, 24th District; Eileen Cody, 34th District; Lauren Davis, 32nd District; Carolyn Eslick, 39th District; Noel Frame, 36th District; Roger Goodman, 45th District; Mia Gregerson, 33rd District; Paul Harris, 17th District; Christine Kilduff, 28th District; John Lovick, 44th District; Nicole Macri, 43rd District; Timm Ormsby, 3rd District; Lillian Ortiz-Self, 21st District; Tina Orwall, 33rd District; Gerry Pollet, 46th District; Marcus Riccelli, 3rd District; June Robinson, 38th District; Mike Sells, 38th District; Sharon Shewmake, 42nd District; Monica Jurado Stonier, 49th District; Gael Tarleton, 36th District; My-Linh Thai, 41st District; Steve Tharinger, 24th District; Javier Valdez, 46th District; and Amy Walen, 48th District.

More information on SEIU 775’s campaign to address harassment, abuse, and discrimination (HADit) is available at seiu775.org/HADit

 

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Washington State House Bill 2681 Addressing the Harassment, Abuse, and Discrimination of Caregivers Heard by House Representatives

 

Companion bill to Senate Bill 6205 hears testimonies from caregivers in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee

 

OLYMPIA, WA – Today, caregivers, agency employers, and allies testified in front of the Washington state House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee in support of House Bill 2681 – a bill that addresses the harassment, abuse, and discrimination of caregivers.

“Every single time workers demand rights and protections, the response is that this isn’t the right time, or that we need to slow down, or that we need to study the problem more,” said SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders. “But caregivers in this state are at risk. People deserve to be safe while giving and receiving care.”

HB 2681 was created with significant input from caregivers and the aging and disability rights community, including self-advocates. Caregivers from across the state urge the legislature to pass this powerful and comprehensive policy that ensures everyone can feel safe while giving and receiving care. 

Caregiver Danielle Green said: “While my client’s mother behaved in ways that made the overall care environment dangerous, they did not appear to put her son – my client – in immediate danger. When my client’s mother came after me with a butcher knife, there was no one for me to report it to who would have my back and ensure I was safe at work.”

For caregivers, incidents of harassment, abuse and discrimination can come from anyone in the care environment – including other people residing in or visiting their client’s home, friends, family, or neighbors. And the impacts can linger. It affects caregivers’ health, wellbeing, and quality of care. Additionally, it leads to increased turnover among direct care workers, which can lower quality of care for clients.

SEIU 775 testified in support of HB 2681 because:

  • Everyone deserves to feel safe at work and while giving & receiving care.
  • Everyone deserves to feel respected when giving & receiving care.
  • Everyone wants to strengthen long-term care workforce and system in our state.
  • And above all, caregivers want to provide the best quality care they can.

The bill is sponsored in the Washington state House of Representatives by Mike Chapman, 24th District; Eileen Cody, 34th District; Lauren Davis, 32nd District; Carolyn Eslick, 39th District; Noel Frame, 36th District; Roger Goodman, 45th District; Mia Gregerson, 33rd District; Paul Harris, 17th District; Christine Kilduff, 28th District; John Lovick, 44th District; Nicole Macri, 43rd District; Timm Ormsby, 3rd District; Lillian Ortiz-Self, 21st District; Tina Orwall, 33rd District; Gerry Pollet, 46th District; Marcus Riccelli, 3rd District; June Robinson, 38th District; Mike Sells, 38th District; Sharon Shewmake, 42nd District; Monica Jurado Stonier, 49th District; Gael Tarleton, 36th District; My-Linh Thai, 41st District; Steve Tharinger, 24th District; Javier Valdez, 46th District; and Amy Walen, 48th District.

HB 2681 is the companion bill to Senate Bill 6205, which caregivers testified in support of in front of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee on January 15.

More information on SEIU 775’s campaign to address harassment, abuse and discrimination (HADit) is available at: seiu775.org/HADit

 

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SEIU 775

SEIU 775, the caregivers union, represents more than 45,000 long-term care workers providing quality home care, nursing home care, and residential services in Washington and Montana.

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Washington State Senate Bill 6205 Addresses the Harassment, Abuse, and Discrimination of Caregivers

 

SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders: “This bill will make the care environment safer for both caregivers and the people they care for by creating safety, prevention, and reporting standards. Caregivers in this state are at risk every single day, and we need real protections now.”

 

OLYMPIA, WA – Today, SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders, caregivers, agency employers, Parent Providers, and allies testified in front of the Washington state Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee in support of Senate Bill 6205 – a bill that addresses the harassment, abuse, and discrimination of caregivers.

“This bill will make the care environment safer for both caregivers and the people they care for by creating safety, prevention, and reporting standards,” said SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders. “Caregivers in this state are at risk every single day, and we need real protections now.”

SB 6205 was created with significant input from caregivers and the aging and disability rights community, including self-advocates. Caregivers from across the state urge the legislature to pass this powerful and comprehensive policy that ensures everyone can feel safe while giving and receiving care.

“I’m a Parent Provider, and I support Senate Bill 6205 addressing harassment, abuse, and discrimination of caregivers as a caregiver and as an advocate for my son,” said caregiver Melissah Watts, who cares for her son, Max, who has developmental disabilities. Max joined her at the hearing.

Caregivers typically work in isolated environments. A survey of Washington caregivers found:

  • 47 percent reported experiencing verbal abuse while working
  • 24 percent reported physical violence
  • 12 percent reported sexual harassment (Parent Providers were not asked this question)

For caregivers, incidents of harassment, abuse and discrimination can come from anyone in the care environment – including other people residing in or visiting their client’s home, friends, family, or neighbors. But the impact is more than an immediate reaction. It affects caregivers’ health, wellbeing, and quality of care. Additionally, it leads to increased turnover among direct care workers, which can lower quality of care for clients.

Caregiver Darryl Johnson said, “A couple years ago, I was working with an elderly white woman. A couple weeks into working with her, she started to make inappropriate comments toward me. As a Black male caregiver, I was scared. I thought I was going to go to jail because of what she was saying, and no one would believe me. I stopped working with this client – but it meant I gave up a paycheck to feel safe.”

SEIU 775 testified in support of SB 6205 because:

  • Everyone deserves to feel safe at work and while giving & receiving care.
  • Everyone deserves to feel respected when giving & receiving care.
  • Everyone wants to strengthen long-term care workforce and system in our state.
  • And above all, caregivers want to provide the best quality care they can.

The bill is sponsored in the Washington state Senate by Andy Billig, 3rd District, Spokane; Annette Cleveland, 49th District, Vancouver; Steve Conway, 29th District, Tacoma; Manka Dhingra, 45th District, Redmond; David Frockt, 46th District, Seattle, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park; Karen Keiser, 33rd District, Des Moines; Mark Mullet, 5th District, Issaquah; Emily Randall, 26th District, Bremerton; Rebecca Saldaña, 37th District, Seattle; Kevin Van De Wege, 24th District, Sequim.

More information on SEIU 775’s campaign to address harassment, abuse and discrimination (HADit) is available at: seiu775.org/HADit

 

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SEIU 775

SEIU 775, the caregivers union, represents more than 45,000 long-term care workers providing quality home care, nursing home care, and residential services in Washington and Montana.

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2019 Washington Election Endorsements

SEIU 775 caregivers across Washington state came together and are proud to endorse the following candidates for elected office and initiatives.

You should get your ballot for the General Election by Oct. 22. Mail it back or put it in a drop box as soon as you can. The last day to vote is Nov. 5.

No ballot? Contact your county auditor for a replacement.

Washington state

  • Approve R-88 to approve I-1000. Fairness and opportunity for ALL Washingtonians!
  • Reject I-976. Protect funding for repairing local roads, ADA transit services, and traffic improvements!
  • Maintain Advisory Votes 20-30. In Washington, we have the most upside-down tax system in the country, where low- and middle-income families pay a much larger share of their salary than those at the top. Tim Eyman fought to put these advisory votes on the ballot to erode public trust in our government. By voting to maintain all of them we can make sure everyone, especially the wealthy, pay their fair share for public schools, affordable health care, and investments that help grow our economy.

City of Seattle 

  • City Council District 1 – Lisa Herbold
  • City Council District 2 – Tammy Morales
  • City Council District 5 – Debora Juarez
  • City Council District 6 – Dan Strauss
  • City Council District 7 – Andrew Lewis

City of SeaTac 

  • City Council Pos. 1 – Senayet Negusse
  • City Council Pos. 3 – Damiana Merryweather
  • City Council Pos. 5 – Takele Gobena 
  • City Council Pos. 7 – Mohamed Egal

City of Spokane 

  • Mayor – Ben Stuckart
  • City Council President – Breean Beggs
  • City Council District 2 – Lori Kinnear
  • City Council District 3 – Karen Stratton

City of Tacoma 

  • City Council District 1 – Nathaniel Lawver 
  • City Council District 3 – Keith Blocker 
  • City Council Position 7 – Conor McCarthy 
  • City Council Position 8 – Kristina Walker  

City of Kent 

  • City Council Pos. 1 – Marli Larimer 
  • City Council Pos. 3 – Hira Singh Bhullar
  • City Council Pos. 5 – Mizan Rahman 
  • City Council Pos. 7 – Awale Farah 

City of Auburn

  • City Council Pos. 1 – Chris Stearns

City of Bellevue

  • City Council Pos. 7  — James Bible
  • City Council Pos. 3  — Jeremy Barksdale

City of Burien

  • City Council Pos. 6 – Sofia Aragon

City of Edmonds

  • Mayor – Mike Nelson

City of Federal Way

  • City Council Pos. 5 – Jamila Taylor
  • City Council Pos. 3 – Sharry Edwards

City of Fife

  • City Council Pos. 1 – Bryan Yambe

City of Issaquah

  • City Council Pos. 2  — Michele Kemper
  • City Council Pos. 3  — Barbara de Michele

City of Kirkland

  • City Council Pos. 6  —  Amy Falcone

City of Olympia

  • City Council Position 2 – Jessica Bateman

City of Tukwila

  • City Council Pos. 2 – Nancy Manos
  • City Council Pos. 4 – Cynthia Delostrinos Johnson

King County

  • King County Council District 6 — Claudia Balducci
  • King County Council District 4 — Jeanne Kohl-Welles
  • King County Council District 2 — Larry Gossett
  • King County Council District 8 – Joe McDermott
  • Assessor – John Wilson

Snohomish County

  • Executive – Dave Somers

Legislative District 40

  • State Senator – Liz Lovelett
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