SEIU 775 member TJ Janssen recently wrote an opinion article for the Wenatchee World. The article is behind a pay wall, but you can read the entire piece below!


“George Will Should Walk in My Shoes”
By SEIU 775 caregiver TJ Janssen
It seems like more and more media sources these days are falling for cheap headlines and exciting — but inaccurate — stories.

A recent George Will column (“SCOTUS case could enhance public workers’ rights” Wenatchee World, December 23, 2017) is a good example of this. Mr. Will made it sound like my union, SEIU 775, was hurting caregivers and those we care for, and like a group called the Freedom Foundation was some sort of hero to workers.

But if you want to know the truth about something, go to the source. Find out what’s going on firsthand.

When it comes to SEIU 775, I’m a good source: I’ve been there since the very beginning days of the union and I can tell you that the union is the reason we’re able to live a little bit better while taking care of our loved ones.

When my fellow caregivers and I formed the union back in 2002, we were getting paid minimum wage, just a little more than $7 an hour. Now, our wages are at least double that, with healthcare, PTO, professional training, and retirement benefits.

What that means is that caregivers like me can start to afford a decent life for our families. That’s all we want, and that’s why we’ve joined together in a union to just get paid enough to have a safe home and enough to eat.

George Will doesn’t know that because he’s never walked in my shoes. He’s never talked to any of us caregivers to know what being in a union really means.
However, I’ve talked to someone from the Freedom Foundation. She came to my home and knocked on my door.
At first, I wasn’t going to talk with her at all: I know all I need to know — firsthand — about why I support my union. But I let her talk, and by the end of her visit, I felt sorry for her.
How much are they paying you to do this? I asked her. Minimum wage, she told me, hanging her head.
What kind of benefits are you getting? No benefits.
She added that she got benefits from one of her other two jobs. She had to work three jobs to make ends meet, while working for this group that claims to be helping working people.
She told me that her mom was a union member. I said, “And you’re out here doing this? Trying to talk people out of being in their unions?”
I shouldn’t have been surprised that the Freedom Foundation stooped so low. When they failed to obtain personal contact info about caregivers through public records requests they resorted to buying stolen information from former union and training fund employees in early 2016. Those employees are now facing felony charges for trafficking in stolen property.
But the fact that the Freedom Foundation preyed on this desperate woman and others like her told me everything you need to know — firsthand — about who you should depend on to have your back.
TJ Janssen is a caregiver and member of SEIU 775. He lives in Wenatchee. SEIU 775 represents long-term care workers providing quality in-home care, nursing home care and adult day health services in Washington State and Montana.

In early January 2018, SEIU 775 member Darryl Johnson was featured in The Atlantic. The piece «Low-Wage Workers Finally Get a Raise» written by Annie Lowrey focused on what a wage increase means.

“It has changed my life, and I have noticed the changes,” said Darryl Johnson, a home health worker based near Seattle, whose hourly rate has gone from $13.50 to nearly $15 over the past 18 months. “I have more food at the end of the month, and I’m not trying to stretch those groceries for a week and a half. I’m feeding myself better, and you need to work to eat and get out there.”
You can read the whole piece here.

January 23, 2017

An open letter to leaders in business, labor and government:

Building a portable benefits system for today’s world.

The world of work is changing – driven by technological and economic developments that have reshaped the opportunities and challenges for workers in the twenty-first century. However, the American social safety system, which was designed in the 20th century for a very different economy, has not kept pace with today’s workforce.

At a basic level, everyone should have the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones when they’re injured at work, get sick, or when it’s time to retire.

Leaders across business, labor, and government have publicly recognized the need for action, but a myriad of legal, policy, and political hurdles have – to date – prevented meaningful progress toward a new portable benefits system.

These hurdles will only be overcome when parties are willing to sit down, put aside historical differences, and work together to develop a solution. Furthermore, while we applaud and support efforts at the national level, we believe there is great opportunity to take the first significant steps at the state level. The pursuit of local solutions will expedite the move from the theoretical into the practical, unraveling the thorny issues and beginning to show how a portable benefits system can empower workers and enable technology to meet the growing demand for more flexible, independent forms of work.

For these reasons, we are today coming together in an effort to develop an initial state-level portable benefits system.

The foundations of a portable benefits system.

We believe that such a system should be underpinned by the following principles:

Flexibility​ – continuing to deliver reliable economic opportunities that are available for people when they want it and leaving them in control through establishing a system of individual accounts that follow workers and enable them to readily change the nature, structure and intensity of their work while continuing to have access to social benefits or protections

Proportionality​ – ensuring that any new system accounts for differentiated and diverse connections to work through proportional contributions to be developed and determined through an ongoing independent, expert-driven process that recognizes the need to promote a rising standard of living as well as healthy, profitable businesses

Universality​ – build more resilience in our communities by ensuring that any new scheme is universal in its application and supports the movement, growth and development of people across businesses, industries, sectors and life stages regardless of how they get work while providing businesses with legal certainty over their work arrangements

Innovation​ – promote the development of innovative products and systems that respond to and enhance independent work, establish open platforms to enable all organizations to compete for contributions and create arrangements for social investments from private and public sources

Independence​ – ensure that independence and choice are paramount in the development of any scheme and that organizations act in the best interests of individual members

A shared commitment to action.

We firmly believe that renewing the social contract is both urgent and important.

We acknowledge that developing a first-of-its-kind scheme will involve business impacts, implications for worker and consumer protection, complexity in market design and regulatory framework and the need for prudential standards.

We commit to undertaking a collaborative process that involves all stakeholders and seeks to understand and account for these through data, evidence and an open process.

We call on business, labor and government in Washington state to join us in this effort, and come together to meet this critically important challenge.


Membership Plus, and Bright Now! Dental are sponsoring an exciting contest. You might one of two $500.00 Visa Gift Cards!

Step One: Sign up to become a Union Recruiter. You were sent an email with a link to the sign-up form.

Step Two: Once you have fully completed the sign up form you will be automatically entered into a drawing for your chance to win one of two $500.00 Visa Gift Cards.


1. Eligibility: The Contest is open only to those SEIU 775 sign up to become a Union Recruiter. Employees of SEIU 775 (the “Sponsor”) and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are not eligible to participate in the Contest. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.

2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, you agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and you represent and warrant that you meet the eligibility requirements set forth herein. In addition, you agree to accept the decisions of SEIU 775, as final and binding.

3. Contest Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on or about January 4, 2018 and ending January 19, 2018. All online entries must be received January 18, 2018 11:59PM PST.

4. How to Enter: The Contest must be entered by signing up to become a Union Recruiter. An email was sent to all SEIU 775 members for whom we have email addresses and are not unsubscribed or have not requested to stop emails.

5. Prizes: Winners will receive one of the two $500.00 Visa Gift Cards.

6. Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by the Sponsor. No cash or other prize substitution permitted except at Sponsor’s discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes shall be the sole responsibility of the winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by winners is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for SEIU 775 to use winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

7. Odds: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

8. Winner selection and notification: Winners of the Contest will be selected in a random drawing under the supervision of the Sponsor.
Winners will be notified either via mail or via the email address we have on file based on the first and last name of the winner, within five (5) days following the winner selection. SEIU 775 shall have no liability for a winner’s failure to receive notices due to winners’ spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for winners’ provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If the selected winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 15 days from the time award notification was sent, or fails to timely return a completed and executed declaration and releases as required, prize may be forfeited and an alternate winner selected. The receipt by winner of the prize offered in this Contest is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal and state laws and regulations. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES BY ANY WINNER (AT SPONSOR’S SOLE DISCRETION) WILL RESULT IN SUCH WINNER’S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE CONTEST AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.

9. Rights granted by you: By entering this content you understand that SEIU 775, anyone acting on behalf of SEIU 775, or its respective licensees, successors and assigns will have the right, where permitted by law, without any further notice, review or consent to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use, worldwide in any media now known or hereafter in perpetuity and throughout the World, your entry, including, without limitation, the entry and winner’s name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image or statements about the Contest, and biographical information as news, publicity or information and for trade, advertising, public relations and promotional purposes without any further compensation.

10. Terms: SEIU 775 reserves the right, in its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest should (in its sole discretion) a virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the Contest. In such case, SEIU 775 may select the recipients from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by SEIU 775. SEIU 775 reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or website or violates these Terms & Conditions. SEIU 775 has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Contest, to void votes for any reason, including, but not limited to; multiple entries from the same user from different IP addresses; multiple entries from the same computer in excess of that allowed by Contest rules; or the use of bots, macros or scripts or other technical means for entering. Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any web site or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, SEIU 775 reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. By entering the Contest you agree to receive email newsletters periodically from SEIU 775. You can opt-out of receiving this communication at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the newsletter.

11. Limitation of Liability: By entering you agree to release and hold harmless SEIU 775 and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from (i) such entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof, (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunctioning of any computer, cable, network, hardware or software; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error which may occur in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.

12. Disputes: THIS CONTEST IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF The United States AND Washington State, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Contest, participant agrees that any and all disputes which cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Washington State having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances will participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Contest), and participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

13. Privacy Policy: Information submitted with an entry is subject to the Privacy Policy stated on the SEIU 775 website. To read the Privacy Policy, click here.

14. Contest: The Sponsor of the Contest is SEIU 775, 215 Columbia Street, Seattle, WA 98104.