SEIU 775 sisters, brothers, siblings –
Last year, our Union created our vision committee who evaluated and reimagined our SEIU 775 Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals. Together, we drafted recommendations for our next 10 years reflecting our plans for the future, the fights we will undertake, and the changes we will make.
Since we built SEIU 775 – the caregivers Union – we have won the best standards for caregivers in the nation, we’ve passed historic legislation, and we’ve grown to include caregivers from Montana, and soon to be, Alaska.
Our wins didn’t happen by accident. They didn’t happen without a fight. They happened because we worked together, we set goals and made plans, and we are unafraid.
And in December, our members overwhelmingly approved our 2022 Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals. Together we are going to do amazing things in the next decade for caregivers, our families, those we care for, and our communities. We have set goals and made plans, and we will keep fighting together and keep winning together to make sure caregivers are respected today and in the future.
Our new mission is to unite the strength of all caregivers, to create a better life for ourselves and those we care for, and to lead the way to a more just and equitable world.
SEIU 775 President
Leadership Conference 2022: A peek at our next 10 years
Being at our Leadership Conference – our first in-person conference in three years – was such an amazing experience! The last time I was there was after I had started to get involved with our Union – we had just kicked off our HADit work. I remember talking to so many caregivers who had experienced similar things as me, and knowing that together, we could do something about it.
Our Leadership Conference is about connecting with other caregivers and being part of our movement. This year’s conference was special because not only did we look back on our wins from last year with so many of our member leaders sharing their experiences, but we also looked ahead at the next decade. Even when we’ve been apart, our Union has been growing and growing with strong caregivers. We had caregivers new and old from Washington, Montana, and even Alaska share our fights, wins, and plans for the future.
And the work we do doesn’t go unnoticed either. Alongside a handful of other caregivers and member leaders, I was honored to be the recipient of the Outstanding Advocacy Award for the work I did on our HADit campaign. I was so surprised and touched. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my Union, so I feel like I should share the award with all of you!
— Ana Maria Moreno de Riojas, Individual Provider, Sunnyside, Washington
Check out our Facebook page for pictures and videos from this year’s Leadership Conference!
Electing candidates who support caregivers and our clients
I’ve been a caregiver for 14 years and before this year, I had never considered myself the kind of person who got involved in elections or politics. I didn’t think those things affected me. But after attending this year’s Leadership Conference and hearing stories of other caregivers getting active, I decided I had to get involved. I became a Member Political Organizer (MPO).
Being an MPO, I was making calls to caregivers and providing information about the upcoming elections. My work as an MPO helped caregivers see the connection between the elections and their power because voting is power. It’s important to have elected officials in office who hear from us caregivers, who understand the work we do, and will fight alongside us to make sure our clients, our families, and our communities aren’t forgotten and more importantly, that we are recognized as the healthcare workers we are.
Caregivers and clients win when pro-caregiver, pro-worker candidates get elected. I’m excited about the work we did over the past few months, and I’m looking forward to working with these officials to make the lives of caregivers and clients better.
— Alejandrina “Minnie” Casillas, Individual Provider, Pasco, Washington
Earlier this year, caregivers across Washington interviewed and endorsed candidates for this year’s elections, and together we helped the majority of our endorsements win their elections. See the power caregivers have to elect lawmakers who support us here.
2023 WA Legislative Session: We’re heading back to Olympia
Legislative session for Washington kicks off in January, and I’m already fired up about it.
This year, our Union is going back to Olympia to meet with our elected officials and talk with them about what it’s like to be a caregiver. Our elected officials make decisions every day that affect caregivers, so it’s important that they hear from us so that they can have a better understanding of the impact these decisions have on caregivers and clients.
This year we have a lot to talk about. We need to make sure when they’re putting together the budget that they don’t forget about anybody in long-term care.
We need to fully fund the homecare rate and get funding for our nursing homes. We also have other things that we’re fighting for that affect caregivers and clients, like making sure our dependents can get coverage, and that housing is affordable.
I never thought of myself as someone who would talk to politicians, but through my Union, I found my voice. There will be a lot of different ways to get involved so I hope that you get a chance to share your story too.
— Rhonda Smith, Individual Provider, Bucoda, Washington
Welcome to our many newer Nursing Home workers
We have a lot of new nursing home workers to welcome to our Union!
Up in Bellingham, we are welcoming three new facilities: Bellingham Health and Rehab, Shuksan Health and Rehab, and St. Francis of Bellingham! We’ve also welcomed new members in Port Orchard (Stafford Health and Rehab,) Spokane (North Central Care and Rehab,) Shelton (Shelton Health and Rehab,) and Ellensburg (Prestige Post-Acute & Rehab Center Kittitas.)
Nursing home workers are choosing to unionize and join our Union – the caregivers Union – and we’re building our strength and power. I only made about $7 an hour when I started at my facility 26 years ago. I used to think I would never be able to retire from this job. But because of the work we’ve done as a Union at the bargaining table, our benefits and wages have gotten so much better – I’m now making over $25 an hour!
Good union contracts mean higher wages, which makes it easier to recruit and retain staff. With more staff, residents get the best care. These wins at the bargaining table have a positive impact on worker’s lives, but the ripple effect goes further.
When we stand strong together, we can achieve anything. That’s what I love about my Union.
— Rhonda Pebbles, CNA, Shelton, Washington
Alaska caregivers celebrate with SEIU 775
I heard that caregivers in Alaska were coming together to fight for more funding and better working conditions and knew I wanted to get involved. I started attending meetings, talking with SEIU 775, and then just talking with any other caregivers I met about the problems we’re facing and what we can do to fix it.
I think people don’t realize that we can change the way things are. I didn’t. But it’s amazing how much things can change in just one year when you organize.
Our system is underfunded and broken in Alaska, but stories like mine and other caregivers’ – they make a difference. We know that’s true because this year in Alaska, we won $32 million in new funding, and 10% raises for caregivers, thanks to our work with SEIU 775!
I came to Seattle in September to share my story at the SEIU 775 Leadership Conference and to meet other caregivers from Washington and Montana in the same fight. And we’re going to keep up the fight in next year’s legislative session.
We’ve grown into such a large and powerful community, and we’re not stopping now. We achieved so much, and we did it because we organized. We won funding. We won recognition. We won respect. Next up, we’re winning our union!
— Meghan Deaver, Personal Care Assistant/Caregiver, Homer, Alaska
SEIU 775 has been working in Alaska supporting caregivers over the last year in their fight for higher wages, benefits, and more. More news to come!