Montana caregivers holding signs that say "I take care of your loved one."

Together, Montana caregivers with SEIU 775 have won higher pay, affordable healthcare, and a powerful voice for clients and caregivers with our employers at the bargaining table and with our legislators.

The Union Difference for Montana home care workers

Are you a caregiver in Montana? Click here to join SEIU 775!

SEIU 775 members in Montana have improved our lives, the lives of our coworkers, our clients and residents, and our communities.

SEIU 775 began organizing workers in Montana in July 2007, and now represents more than 1,400 long-term care workers in Montana, including 25 percent of Montana’s agency home health care workers. Our members include nurses, CNAs, personal care attendants, and laundry and dietary workers that are providing care in nursing homes and clients’ homes. We also represent Developmental Disability workers in group homes, Early Headstart Teachers, Case Managers, and caregivers who provide care to clients impacted by Mental Illnesses.

About 80 percent of our members in Montana are women. About 9 percent are Latino and about 9 percent are Native American. We represent members on four Native American reservations.

In January 2016 , SEIU 775 organized 800 members at Aware Inc. AWARE delivers services for children and families – as well as adults – with challenging mental health, emotional, and in some instances, physical disabilities.

SEIU’s members fought for Health Care for Health Workers, convincing Montana’s state government to set aside money for home health agencies to provide health care for their employees. Because of this benefit, some home health care workers now receive medical, dental, and vision benefits for only $40 per month.

“I was one of many caregivers that fought for Health Care for Health Workers. Our work in the Legislature saved my life. A few years later doctors discovered I had a rare medical condition that caused seizures, and could be fatal if untreated. Because I had health insurance I was able to see the best doctor in Seattle and get the care I needed. The cost of all the doctors’ visits and operation was over $750,000, I was in surgery for 19 hours and in the ICU for 4 days. Years later, I have fully recovered and am still caring for my clients. If I didn’t have that excellent health insurance because of the Union I probably wouldn’t be alive today or would be in a nursing home.”

– Marion Titus

SEIU has long been a leader in bringing Medicaid expansion coverage to nearly 100,000 Montanans. Now we are leading efforts to ensure that life-saving – and job-creating – access to healthcare continues.

“Before they passed Medicaid expansion I did not qualify for Medicaid, so when I was diagnosed with endometriosis and needed surgery I was scared. After they passed Medicaid expansion, I enrolled in the program and my life has been so much better. Because of Medicaid expansion, I have been able to receive preventive, vision and dental care. I was able to get new glasses for the first time in decades, and can better care for my clients.

– Celeste Thompson, SEIU 775 Member and Leader

SEIU’s direct care members have won bonuses and wage increases in the State Legislature by advocating for Direct Caregiver funding in the State Budget.

“In the time I’ve been a Union Member my wages have literally doubled. When I started working for my agency, we were paid just over minimum wage, today we earn over $14 an hour. Back then I could only afford to rent my home, now I’m in the process of buying it. I have more security in my life knowing I have a roof over my head and can live more comfortably knowing I can afford the basic necessities – like light, gas and heat. Also our paid time off has improved substantially, which was a life saver last year when I got really sick and had to miss 2 weeks of work. Our work together has meant I can enjoy a piece of the good life.”

– Delphine Camarillo

SEIU 775 is working hard to ensure that Montana’s growing senior population gets the services they need. In the next few years, Montana will have one of the oldest populations in the country, and many of its primary care providers will retire. SEIU is working to address this “Silver Tsunami,” by carving career paths for long-term care workers. SEIU 775 provides professional training opportunities, including long- distance home care and other caregiving classes.

SEIU 775 is also working to mainstream otherwise disparate workers who share one vital profession – caregiving – through collective bargaining to ensure quality care for Montana’s seniors, children & families as well as people with challenging mental health, emotional, and physical disabilities and fighting for fair compensation for workers.

We are Stronger Together!