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Korean: 함께 더욱 강하게 SEIU 775 뉴스레터 봄호 
Russian: Наша сила — в единстве: весенняя новостная рассылка от SEIU 775
Simplified Chinese: 团结使我们更强大:SEIU 775 春季内部通讯
Spanish: Juntos somos más fuertes: el boletín informativo de primavera de SEIU 775 
Vietnamese: Cùng Nhau Lớn Mạnh: Bản Tin Mùa Xuân Của SEIU 775

Hello SEIU 775 Caregivers,

Together, caregivers from Washington, Montana, and Alaska have accomplished so much already in 2024. Through the hard work and determination of caregivers, we won bonuses for IPs, settled all the WA agency contracts, bargained historic raises for Montana caregivers, and welcomed hundreds of new caregivers from Alaska into our Union!

We are proud of our wins, but we know that caregivers continue to face big challenges. Too many caregivers are struggling to get paid on time and correctly. One big barrier has been a cumbersome and confusing background check system. We recently sent out a survey to gather more stories and data and appreciate all the feedback caregivers provided. We are dedicating a team to work both on short term solutions around holding CDWA, other employers, and the State accountable to helping caregivers navigate the system and also long-term solutions to look at changes to the overly burdensome background check rules.

We know that as a Union when we sit down together and make a thoughtful, smart plan and dedicate resources we can solve big problems. We have a lot to accomplish this year, including the WA rate-setting process, continuing organizing successes in nursing homes, Alaska, and Montana, and elections with huge stakes. I look forward to fighting alongside all of you for a better future for caregivers and all workers in 2024.

In Solidarity,
Sterling Harders
SEIU 775 President

Some of the Many 2024 Victories so far:

  • WA IPs Win Bonuses! For the first time ever, we negotiated for IPs to get bonuses! There are two rounds of bonuses for caregivers with CDWA – one in February and a second one in August. The most experienced IPs will be getting as much $1,100 in total. Learn more at:
  • WA Agency Bargaining is Done! Washington agency caregivers have finished negotiating and approving contracts. Caregivers won higher pay, better benefits, and more respect for ourselves and the people we care for! To read your contract and see highlights check out:
  • Montana Caregivers Win Raises of $4+ an Hour! Caregivers in Montana have finished negotiating contracts and everyone received an increase of over $4 an hour! Read about the victory in a story by Montana Public News Service at
  • More Caregivers in Alaska Join 775! In January, the second largest home care agency in Alaska organized and voted to join SEIU 775! Welcome caregivers of All Ways Caring Alaska. And, bargaining is underway with Consumer Direct Alaska (CDAK), the Alaska caregivers who joined our Union last year!
  • 200+ Caregivers Went to Olympia! This Washington Legislative Session, over 200 caregivers from around the state came together in Olympia for four Purple Presences to share their stories with their legislators and fight for our priorities!

The Impact of Climate Emergencies on Caregivers and Our Clients

Being a caregiver is a tough job, but when we must balance caring for our client along with climate emergencies, this makes it even more difficult.

In the summer of 2020, we got hit with extreme heat, and my client had no air conditioning at her home. Plus, she lived in a trailer, which gets even hotter. I brought over my own fans, but she was worried about paying for the extra electricity. There were no cooling centers nearby. Sometimes we’d sit in my car and run the A/C, but that’s hard on my car, and expensive for me to pay for the gas.

We would often take a long time in the grocery store so we could stay in the A/C, but one day when we went, it was broken. So I did my best to minimize her walking and keep her as cool as possible. But still, by the time I got her home, she could barely move to get in the door.

The next day, her grandson called me and told me she’d passed away overnight from heat exhaustion. I was devastated.

This could’ve been avoided if I had the resources to help keep her safe.

This is why I fight – to make sure no other caregiver experiences what I went through. I came out to Purple Presence this session, to tell my legislators why we need accessible resources to help protect our clients, who are especially vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme weather.

Us caregivers are often the unseen first responders for our clients and residents. Many caregivers like me will pay out of our own pocket to protect our clients from extreme weather, because there aren’t any resources. This needs to change.

Marie S. (she/her), IP, Tacoma, WA

Update: This Legislative Session, we pushed for lawmakers to invest in climate emergency preparedness trainings for caregivers, and to make trainings accessible in multiple languages. AND WE WON! Expect more information soon as this training is created and offered by the Benefits Group.

Fighting for Better Healthcare for Nursing Home Workers

I worked as a CNA in nursing homes for over 35 years, but I had to leave three years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. I needed better health insurance to help cover my treatments, and the insurance I got through nursing home where I worked – didn’t cover much, so undergoing treatment for my cancer left me in debt.

So, I became an Individual Provider. The healthcare I got as in-home caregiver means everything is covered, and when I do need to pay, it’s nothing that’s going to break me.

I am just one person out of many that had to leave working at a nursing home, because the health coverage is so bad. Over the 35 years that I worked at a nursing home, short staffing is always a problem. To keep nursing home workers and bring in new staff, providing good quality healthcare is essential. 

Even though I no longer work in a nursing home, it’s important to me that I fight. I know firsthand how difficult it is to fight cancer and also worry about how much I’m going to need to work to pay for it, or if I’m even going to be able to go back to work. No one should have to worry about being able to get care for themselves.

For years, I was the one who was in the position where I had insurance but couldn’t afford to use it. I will keep fighting until our Union wins high-quality, affordable healthcare for nursing home workers and I urge my fellow homecare workers to do the same!

Jessica F. (she/her), IP, Eatonville, WA

Update: This year we urged the WA legislature to create the WA Essential Worker Healthcare Fund pilot for Nursing Home workers. Although we won some funding, lawmakers did not fully fund our request. The start-up funds we did win will begin building the systems to create this healthcare pilot. We will come back loud and strong in 2025 to win the funding to start providing affordable, quality healthcare to nursing home workers.

Defending WA Cares

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news devastated me and my loved ones. I’ve always been the rock, the one who takes care of people. But I quickly found out how financially and emotionally destabilizing an unexpected diagnosis is. I couldn’t just keep working to make more money to pay for my treatments. I needed to take time off in order to survive my diagnosis.

It’s terrifying to lose your independence and potentially your future to unknowns. But while there’s nothing that can totally take away that fear, WA Cares gives me some peace of mind. I know that it will support me and my family with long-term care coverage if we have to face another sudden care situation.

Making sure my family and other caregivers are taken care of is why I go to Olympia and fight to defend WA Cares from attacks from people who don’t have to worry about affording long-term care for themselves or their children. When I went to Purple Presence and shared my story with my legislator, who was against us, I got him to change his vote! It made me realize just how important and powerful my voice is.

Legislators need to know that the decisions they make impact real people. They don’t get to have it easy, because we don’t have it easy.

Together we are powerful. And together, WE WIN!

– Julie S. (she/her), IP, Spokane, WA

Update: WA Cares was strengthened by caregivers this session, when we worked with the Legislature to make this essential benefit portable; meaning we can take our WA Cares benefits with us if we move out of state. BUT we need to defend WA Cares this November. This crucial long-term care benefit is under attack. Support WA Cares and vote ‘NO’ on I-2124.

Join MMS and MCOI

When I joined SEIU 775, it was my first time being in a Union, so everything was new to me. For caregivers, we often feel alone. Since in our day to day, it’s usually just us and our clients. But we actually have a community of caregivers behind us!
When I heard of the opportunity to learn more, and connect with other caregivers, through our MMS (Member-to-Member Specialist) program, I took it! Through the training I received, I realized all the benefits that we have, and see the impact our Union has made on caregivers’ lives.

Since then, I’ve participated in our MMS program many times and the MCOI (Member Canvass Organizing Internship) program for the first-time last year, which was also the first one in four years! I really loved my experience with MMS and MCOI. My favorite part was getting to meet other caregivers doing the same program, and even more as I’m calling and going door to door!

Getting to talk to other caregivers, I hear their stories and their struggles, and I get to help them understand how our Union can help them. It’s exciting for me to share that our Union is working towards good things, better wages, more benefits! Talking with other caregivers about our Union gives us all hope. And by coming together and staying informed and fighting together for what we deserve, we build our power.

– Gina F. (she/her), AP, Fife, WA

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