2012: One of the most successful years in UDW history

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From a cold, crisp January morning to 100-degree heat in June; from the AFSCME Convention in Los Angeles to Election Night in Sacramento, the year 2012 was without question one of the most successful years in our union’s 34-year history.

At a State Capitol news conference in January, UDW and its allies launched an unprecedented six-month campaign to stop any further budget cuts to the IHSS program and to reform IHSS to improve consumer care and make the program more effective and efficient.

One of the campaign’s goals was to integrate home care and health care to provide better and more coordinated care for consumers while making the program more cost-effective. Another was to create an IHSS statewide public authority which would realign responsibility for collective bargaining from the county to the state. It was hoped that these steps would help stop the attempts year-after-year to make IHSS a target for budget cuts.

Throughout the winter and spring, UDW held town hall meetings across the state to get our members and others involved in the”Let’s Get Healthy at Home” Campaign. We met with elected officials, other provider and consumer organizations and the media to explain our goals and gain their support.

The culmination of our efforts took place at the State Capitol for 10 consecutive days in June—one of the longest sustained campaigns ever seen in Sacramento. Thousands of home care providers and those for whom they care rallied at the Capitol to send a simple but powerful message to state legislators and Governor Brown: “IHSS Saves Money and Saves Lives! No More Cuts!”

See gallery of photos from historic 2012 Sacramento Campaign to STOP IHSS CUTS

Our message was heard loud and clear. The 75,000 petitions we delivered to the governor’s office had an impact. None of the massive cuts proposed by the governor were included in the final 2012 budget. And the foundation for many of the IHSS reforms we have been seeking was put in place.

Final State Budget; Details all impacts to IHSS

At the same time that UDW was winning in Sacramento, it was making history at the AFSCME International Convention in Los Angeles.

Following a spirited campaign, UDW President Laura Reyes was elected AFSCME Secretary/Treasurer, the second highest office in the union. This marked the first time a female has held that position in AFSCME’s 75-year-history. But it also is the first time that a caregiver has held that high an office in any major national or international union.

Her running mate, former AFSCME Secretary/Treasurer Lee Saunders, became the first African-American president in AFSCME history.

In her acceptance speech, Ms. Reyes said: “I am a proud rank-and-filer, a proud homecare provider. And for that, I have my sisters and brothers of UDW to thank. You are my family. And I will always have your back. Click here for her inaugural speech

Sixty UDW delegates from across the state—the largest AFSCME delegation from California–represented our union at the convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

In addition to Laura Reyes’ groundbreaking election as the new AFSCME Secretary/Treasurer, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore and Director of Organizing and Field Services Johanna Hester were elected International Vice Presidents and now serve on AFSCME’s Executive Board.

UDW at AFSCME Convention
Photos from AFSCME Convention

UDW’s made more history during the fall election campaign. Never before in our history has UDW conducted such an organized and effective election campaign. And never before in our history have UDW members responded the way they have this year. It’s estimated that our members made more than 175,000 phone calls and knocked on nearly 25,000 doors during the campaign.

The results were remarkable. From the reelection of President Barack Obama and the defeat of Proposition 32, to the passage of Proposition 30 and victory for nearly 90 percent of UDW’s endorsed candidates for the State Legislature, this was a truly memorable election. Click here to see election results for UDW Candidates.

Proposition 32, a flawed, unfair and misleading ballot initiative that would have weakened workers’ political power while exempting corporate special interests, was soundly defeated by more than one million votes!

Proposition 30– another important ballot initiative that will help fix the state’s budget mess and protect us from potential cuts to IHSS—was approved by more than 700,000 votes.

And all but one of the UDW-endorsed candidates for State Senate and State Assembly won their races. This means that legislators who are most likely to support IHSS now hold two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and the Assembly, making it less likely that the 2013 State Legislature will target our program for further budget cuts.

YOU DID IT! Election Victory Testimonials from UDW Members

Have a look back at how far we’ve come!
Historic UDW Photos/Slideshow

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Paid for by United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund, sponsored by United Domestic Workers of America. Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.

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