“Talking with my family and my union organizer, I felt relieved. It lifted a weight off me. It made me feel stronger. I know that with my family at home and my union family, I am not alone.”
– IP Ana Maria Moreno de Riojas
At our 2019 Leadership Conference, we launched HADit: the campaign to ensure caregivers’ health and safety are protected when facing harassment, abuse, or discrimination on the job. A panel of four caregivers — IP Tina Rodriguez, AP Marie Spaulding, Nursing Home CNA Shelly Hughes, and IP Ana Maria Moreno de Riojas — spoke courageously about their experiences on a panel that was emotional and (unfortunately) very real to many of the people in the room.
These four women bravely shared their stories of verbal abuse, violence, harassment, and discrimination – at some points in heartbreaking detail – with the packed room. Through the audible gasps, nodding heads, and, at times, tears of the audience you could feel the endless support everyone had for each other, regardless of what their own personal experiences have been.
Their stories serve as a reminder these experiences are all too common to caregivers and laid out the next steps our Union is taking to make sure that every caregiver has someone in their corner and isn’t facing these challenges alone.
Bargaining: We’re currently in the middle of agency and nursing home bargaining, and we have won language in almost all of our agency contracts that ensures caregivers will be notified of any health or safety risks and behaviors before they agree to take that client on, empowers caregivers to leave very unsafe situations, and mandates that if a caregiver has to leave because the situation is unsafe, they will still get paid for the rest of the shift.
Training: To ensure caregivers have access to the trainings, the Benefits Group is providing courses – including Verbal De-Escalation and Care Boundaries – through the library and continuing education, available to agency and IP caregivers, that are designed to make sure caregivers have the tools they need to support their personal health and safety.
Laws: During the next legislative session in Washington State, we are working to pass legislation to protect caregivers from harassment, abuse, and discrimination on the job.
We know caregivers have HAD it, and now is the time to take action!
If you have a harassment, abuse, or discrimination story from your workplace that you would like to share with the Union, please contact HADit@seiu775.org