Billionaire-backed Harris vs. Quinn hurts homecare

By Jose Cartagena, caregiver, San Diego County

Jose Cartagena, caregiver, San Diego County

Jose Cartagena, caregiver, San Diego County

The billionaires behind the court case Harris vs. Quinn hope it will weaken unions, but there is much more at stake if they succeed in taking away our rights. What some people don’t seem to realize is that this will hurt us—caregivers and clients like me and my mom—the most. Diminishing the collective voice of homecare workers hurts our ability to stand up for our loved ones.

I take care of my 80-year-old mother who is a breast cancer survivor. Before getting active in our union, I felt like I was on my own, trying to navigate the confusing IHSS appeals process with little success. Every phone call I made seemed like a dead end. I would hear, “Okay sir, we understand. We will send over the paperwork next week,” and every week there was nothing in my mailbox. I got sick and tired of waiting so I did some research and found out that our union has an Advocacy Council that helps caregivers who need help with the appeals process.

I reached out to our union and after months of trying on my own, I finally received the paperwork to appeal my mother’s case. With our union behind me, I got my mother the hours of care she needed.

Harris vs. Quinn means the strength that we have worked so hard to build could be torn apart. The strength that defeated the 20% cut to IHSS hours last year, that keeps politicians from obliterating IHSS altogether, that helped me get the hours my mother needed—split up, our voices divided.

When people frame this court case as an attack on unions, they forget that unions are made up of people—hardworking Americans who have a right to a collective voice, to stand up for our jobs, our families, and our futures. The billionaires behind Harris v. Quinn don’t come from California and they don’t care about our clients.

Now more than ever we must we must stand together. We are facing a continued 7% cut to IHSS and the possibility of having our hours capped to 40 per week. It is through our union that we are fighting back on these fronts, too.

Harris vs. Quinn could change the landscape of homecare forever if we let them divide us: we could see the end of the IHSS program as we know it. We must be united to protect IHSS, to make our collective voice heard. This matters to all of us.

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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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