After months of collecting signatures, rallying in cities across the state and meeting with local officials, Missouri home care providers and the people they care for were able to celebrate a big victory last week – a first contract!
The Missouri Home Care Union, an AFSCME/SEIU partnership, reached an agreement with the state that will raise hourly wages up to $10.15, guarantee premium pay on holidays, and make the home health care system more transparent and responsive.
Their hard work paid off big time for the home care workers, many of whom were making minimum wage or barely above it. Their pay is among the lowest in the nation. It’s not enough to pay the bills, and it certainly doesn’t reflect the value of the work they do caring for seniors and people with disabilities.
That’s why Michael Richards of Moberly, along with his caregiver Karen Harlan, traveled to St. Louis last week to deliver more than 400 petition signatures to Gov. Jay Nixon. Richards says he wouldn’t be able to leave the house without the help of Harlan, but the current system doesn’t value what she does.
“I got into the home health care system and it completely changed my life,” he says. “These workers are out working nine, 10, 11 hours a day and then they go home and live on food stamps at the poverty level. People like them keep people like me alive and well and they deserve more than that.”
Sarah Auxier and her son Kyle, from St. James, also have been active in the union. Kyle has muscular dystrophy, and Sarah works around the clock to care for him. But she can’t support herself on the income she gets as a home care attendant, so Kyle has to hire someone else while Sarah works a second job.
“His other attendant has four jobs and is barely making ends meet,” Auxier says. “It was so embarrassing to say to her, you have this huge responsibility, Kyle relies on you for everything, and you’re only worth $7.75 an hour.”
The contract is a big first step, and it will make life a little easier for Missourians like Richards and Auxier. When home care workers and consumers work side by side to advocate for change, they can raise the standards for everybody.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa finished a two-day GOTV effort in Chicago by reminding workers of the importance of showing up at the polls.
ATLANTA – AFSCME Local 1644 members who work for Atlanta Public Schools and the City of Atlanta are encouraging their co-workers to vote early this election season. Last week they joined local teachers in voting early at South DeKalb Mall to launch early voting across the state.
Although every election is important, close U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races have caused increased interest in this midterm election.
“My co-workers and I are voting early because on Election Day we’re going to help other people get to the polls,” said Local 1644 member Tracey Thornhill. “There are some big races happening and we can’t let any excuses stand in our way.”
“We’ll be driving folks to the polls and helping them make educated decisions,” she said. “Just like every election, we all need to stand up for ourselves and all working families.”
Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia offer early voting, increasing access to the democratic process. Click here to find out more about what options you have available in your state.
The benefits of early voting include greater participation by traditionally disenfranchised voters and reduced stress on the voting system on Election Day.
Ebola virus is a serious, usually fatal, disease for which there are no licensed treatments or vaccines. But for people living in countries outside Africa, it continues to be a very low threat. The fact sheets are available for download that will help our members prevent or reduce the spread of this virus.
Here are today's top news stories of interest to Teamsters for October 23, 2014.http://teamsternation.blogspot.com/2014/10/teamster-news-today_23.html
With Election Day just two weeks away and early voting already under way, more than 14,000 Florida women came together for a teletown hall Wednesday night to talk about the importance of getting out to vote.
The mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton, encouraged women on the call to get out and vote. Traditionally, midterm elections see lower voter turnout than presidential elections. In 2010, only 41 percent of the electorate turned out to the polls.
“Our voices need to be heard,” Fulton said. “We need to be sure we’re helping other people get to the polls. That we’re supporting early voting.” She added, “We just have to be very vigilant and very aggressive.”
Fulton encouraged Floridians to make a plan to vote. If you’re in Florida, you can take a second now to make your plan to vote.
Eighty-one percent of the women on the call Wednesday night said they’ve already voted early or planned to vote early. The call also offered women the opportunity to sign up to volunteer in getting out the vote across the Sunshine State
Faced with mounting attacks on everything from jobs and a minimum wage to expanding Medicaid, from retirement security to the right to vote, Florida women and all Florida voters are faced with a choice at the polls. Issues like improving public education and health care, preventing gun violence, and making higher education more affordable, are on the table this election.
“Each of us must decide what part we will play in this moment,” AFSCME Pres. Jeanette Wynn said. “Will we let the anti-worker, anti-union, anti-poor, anti-people forces continue to accumulate more power and influence over our political system and even more of our nation’s wealth? Or will we stand together and raise our collective voices in support of the values we hold dear?”
Joining Fulton and Wynn on the call were Monica Russo, president, SEIU Florida State Council, and Mar?a Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
“It’s critical for us as women as leaders in our households, communities churches to make our vote plan and help our friends and our neighbors make their vote plan,” Russo said. “In 2010, our communities did not vote. Our vote really matters.”
Italian workers are facing a triple dip recession, and the economy has never recovered from the worldwide financial crisis of 2008, which began on Wall Street. Unemployment has gone from 6.4 percent in 2008 to 12.6 percent and workers’ wages and rights are under continuous attack.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa heads to Illinois to get out the vote in union workplaces all over the Chicagoland area.
In recent weeks, a series of court rulings blocked implementation of discriminatory voter identification laws in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Texas. But on Saturday, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court and allowed Texas to move ahead in what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called "a major step backward to let stand a law...designed to discriminate."
Please read my latest entry on the Huffington Post here.
TWENTY-SIX UNION LEADERS from Japan’s electric power industry visited International headquarters September 28-29 to learn more about U.S. electric power and to build goodwill between unions in Japan and the United States.