2020: A look back at the year that changed our world forever

2020 required more compassion, strength and determination than any year in recent memory. As caregivers, we were better prepared than most to meet the challenges of this year—and as a union, we faced these challenges together. As we look back on 2020, we grieve for those we lost, give thanks for those that are still with us, and turn toward the future wiser, kinder, more resilient and ready to take on whatever 2021 has in store.

Here is a look back at all that we experienced together in 2020.

 

JANUARY

UDW members at the Kern Board of Supervisors meeting

Introduced legislation to win unemployment insurance for parent and spouse IHSS providers

On January 24, Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager introduced our sponsored bill AB 1993, The Family Caregiver Economic Security Act. AB 1993 would extend Unemployment Insurance (UI) eligibility to IHSS providers who care for their spouse or child. Though AB 1993 would ultimately be vetoed by the governor, our AB 1993 campaign raised awareness of the unfair UI exclusion of parent and spouse providers and set the stage for us to right this wrong in 2021.

Demanding respect in Kern County

Our members in Kern County have not had a negotiated raise since 2014 and have been working on an expired contract since 2017. This year we said “enough!” and turned up the heat on the elected officials who refuse to do their job and protect the IHSS program in Kern. We started 2020 by showing up in force at the Kern County BOS meeting, demanding a contract that respects our work and protects our clients.

Members helping members: CCPU-UDW Mandated Reporter Trainings

CCPU-UDW members across the state got together to complete the Mandated Reporter Training required for all family child care providers. Getting and maintaining a license to provide family child care in your home can be frustrating—it’s a lot easier when you have the support of other union members. Our shared CCPU-UPW training also allows our members to get to know each other and share ideas for the future of child care in California.

Gov. Newsom announced budget

Governor Gavin Newsom announced his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year showing care as a top priority for his administration. This pre-pandemic budget proposed extending the temporary restoration of the 7% reduction in IHSS until July 1, 2023. Though we were grateful for his support of our program, we continued to demand that the cut be removed permanently. Six months later, the governor tried (unsuccessfully, thanks to us) to reinstate the 7% cut due to the pandemic-created budget crisis.

 

FEBRUARY

SACRAMENTO, Calif.,February 5, 2020.
CCPU members march from the state Capitol to the PERB building to deliver 10,000 unions crds to call for elections in Sacramento, Calif., February 5, 2020.
Photo by Robert Durell

Black History Month

Member meetings in February were a great chance to celebrate Black History Month and recommit to rejecting hate and oppression in all its forms. If our movement has taught us anything, it’s that we need to work together, fight together, and understand each other in order to make real change. As San Diego IHSS provider Kamela said about Black History Month at our February member meeting there: “We are here for the people who don’t have anything and need our help. And when we have their backs, the union has our back.”

Child care providers file for union election

History was made on February 5 when CCPU-UDW members filed for our child care union election. On a sunny day in Sacramento, family child care providers and our supporters marched from the state capitol to the Public Employment Relations Board. When we got there, we delivered 10,000 petition signatures to qualify for an election that would make CCPU the official union of family child care providers in California. For San Diego CCPU-UDW member Rahmo Abdi, the day was special not just because of what was accomplished, but also because of what it symbolized:

“Today was so special because this is our victory. We won, and all of us getting together, trying to show how we’re united and trying to make a statement … it’s a victory just being a part of it,” she said.

Kern County UDW members in the news

Our members in Kern brought attention to their contract fight with another rally at the Board of Supervisors there and the news took notice. Said Kern UDW member Teresa Swick: “We keep on fighting for it and fighting for it and they don’t listen. Well now it’s time to listen. We want higher raises and healthcare, and all the other things that come with it.”

Merced County UDW members win a new contract

Merced County UDW members scored a victory as they ratified a new contract that raised their wages to $13.60 an hour with raises of $14.60 effective January 1, 2021 and $15.60 effective January 1, 2022. The contract also includes $5,000 per year for supplies such as gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

UDW honored by Peggy Browning Fund

Our union was honored by the Peggy Browning Fund, which awards fellowships for students studying labor law. Accepting an award on UDW’s behalf, Executive Director Doug Moore inspired future law students by reminding everyone how domestic workers like us were excluded from labor laws written during the New Deal—and how we lifted ourselves up. “We have had to fight for everything,” Doug said. “We used the law to write ourselves back into the law.”

Butte County contract fight

Butte County members demanded respect at a Board of Supervisors meeting there on February 25. Butte IHSS providers have been without a contract since 2014 and have not had a negotiated pay raise since 2014. Our members educated the BOS and community members on the long-term danger to the community of not investing in the IHSS community.  Said Justin Meyers, who cares for his 32-year-old brother Teal: “Here in Butte County, care providers are only making minimum wage. It’s very hard to find someone outside of the family with the level of skills that are required for my brother’s level of care.”

Coronavirus

COVID-19 became part of our lives in February as the virus began spreading worldwide. UDW’s first communications to members on COVID-19 were facts on basic safety precautions and reminders to avoid fear-based misinformation and stay focused on protecting our clients and families.

 

MARCH

Women’s History Month

Throughout the history of the labor movement, women have been a crucial driving force in the fight for worker’s rights. For Women’s History month, we highlighted the contributions of amazing women in labor history such as Dolores Huerta, Ai-Jen Poo and Rosina Tucker.

Primary election

To make sure that our voices are heard in government, we prepared a voting guide for the 2020 election to let members know which candidates supported caregivers and our families. And to help get working Californians out to the polls, we rallied with our friends in the labor movement. UDW Executive Director and Labor Council President Doug Moore spoke at the San Diego Central Labor Council on the importance of the primary election: “Working Californians like UDW caregivers have needs that elected officials must face. We need opportunities. We need support. We need care. And we need justice. We need candidates that are champions on ALL the issues that keep working Californians from taking care of their families and living their dreams.”

Coronavirus spreads

On March 15, the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic set in as Governor Newsom asked that all Californians over the age of 65 and those living with chronic illnesses self-isolate in their homes. UDW put together a coronavirus resource page with the latest available information and resources and began procuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and pushing the state to protect IHSS providers and clients.

To protect our members, our clients and UDW staff, we made our offices available by appointment only. Advocacy and timesheet trainings moved online.

On March 19 Governor Newsom issued a statewide shelter-in-place order. IHSS providers and family child care providers were named essential workers, allowing us to leave our homes in order to care for our clients and run our businesses.

Informing UDW members in a pandemic

On March 17, UDW hosted our first Facebook Live event to update IHSS providers on the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 pandemic. We were joined by a representative from the California Department of Social Services who answered questions on safety protocols and navigating IHSS during the crisis. On March 21 we held a teleconference for child care members to share the best information on providing child care and staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. And on March 25 and 26, we held three tele-townhalls—in English, Spanish and Vietnamese—to help our IHSS members during the pandemic. A doctor from Kaiser Permanente joined us to answer our medical concerns and our legislative and executive team gave out information on navigating the IHSS program during the pandemic.

Victories for IHSS providers and family child care providers

As schools across the state shut down, child care providers became overwhelmed with the influx of children needing care or, for some providers, losing income. CCPU-UDW quickly organized and demanded the state come up with solutions for the providers we represent. Thanks to our work, Governor Newsom agreed to take steps to ensure that child care providers continued to be paid and wouldn’t have vital utilities shut off during this state of emergency.

UDW also called on the state of California to take immediate, direct action to address the needs of the IHSS community. In March we won temporary suspension of violations but continued to push the state to do more to ensure the needs of us and our clients are met.

UDW members give back

Even though we are frontline workers, UDW members found ways to give back and help others while continuing our vital work protecting and caring for the clients and children in our care. UDW caregiver Camilla Bradford and her family made meals and shopped for those unable to do so themselves. Said Camilla: “I want to make sure our community of seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities are taken care of.”

Urging everyone to get counted

Even in the midst of the widening pandemic, UDW remained committed to ensuring everyone in our communities participated in the 2020 Census. Because the census determines important things like where federal money goes and how many members of Congress California has, we continued our outreach to members to fill out their census forms and get counted.

 

APRIL

UDW member Rubi Ambrosio hands out PPE in Grass Valley

UDW in the news

As the pandemic continued, UDW members stepped up to share their stories with news media and bring attention to the challenges IHSS providers and family child care providers face as frontline heroes.

Executive Vice President Astrid Zuniga, who cares for her son: “We’re in the most intimate situations. There is no social distancing in our jobs. None.”

San Diego family child care provider Miren Algorri: “We are running very low on cleaning, disinfectant, and sanitizing supplies. When I don’t have those supplies, then I will have to stop providing services.”

Kern County member Wymon Johnson, who cares for his nephew: “I know that we need to take precautions, and he gets sickly and we don’t know what it is. His immune system is compromised – so is he putting me in danger, or am I putting him in danger?”

San Diego family child care provider Gabriella Cisneros: “Trying to maintain everything sanitized, clean and safe for everyone involved has been a huge challenge and even scary. It’s really difficult to get out there and replenish because stuff isn’t available. By the time we get done here — we close our doors at 5 o’clock — there’s nothing left on the shelves.”

San Diego County member Nicanora Montenegro: “The most common concern of our members caring for non-family members is that most of them have lost their jobs. Now that people are in quarantine, most of the family members of their clients are now at home and they don’t want our providers to come to their house because of this quarantine.”

Butte County member Carnella Marks, who cares for her father-in-law: “We’re not getting the additional hours for the additional care since the virus outbreak. But we’re having to work continuously.”

San Diego caregiver Mary Courtney Sheldon, who cares for her sons: “We are front-line providers that were not thought about. It’s scary. It’s a lot more dangerous for clients. We know that many of them would not survive this. We have come out of pocket and been very creative to find disinfectant, and gloves, and masks.”

Sacramento family child care member Miriam Edwards, who has an autoimmune disease: “For me this moment is stressful, and I know the doctors tell me, ‘Don’t stress because that’s the worst thing for your autoimmune disease. But that’s the hardest thing to do is not to stress right now. I’ve sat back and, in ways, considered: ‘Should I just close my doors?’ But then it’s hard. It’s hard to say I’m going to close my doors on all these families that still need me.”

Kern County member Aurora Sanchez, who cares for her mother: “We are human beings and we need respect and dignity. Just because we don’t have a diploma, that doesn’t make us any different than what a professional doctor or nurse is doing. We are saving lives.”

UDW “Reach Every Member” Campaign

The pandemic impacted our membership right away and many of us needed help with things like PPE, more hours for our clients, unemployment or sick leave and COVID health care. With lives at stake, our union took a proactive approach with our Reach Every Member campaign. Staff and member volunteers picked up the phones and made over 83,000 phone calls to check in with members and connected them with the resources and help they needed. Thousands of members received help and the staff and members who volunteered for the campaign reported having many meaningful conversations that strengthened the bonds of our union.

UDW pushes for pandemic relief

To address the specific needs of our members during the pandemic, we immediately pushed for an emergency relief package from the state including full unemployment benefits, increased pay, added paid sick time, provide protective gear, and back up care for clients whose providers contract the virus.

Before the COVID-19 epidemic, IHSS providers earned up to two days of sick leave per year. With the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government finally realized that sick caregivers, just like all workers, need more than that. Now, thanks to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) IHSS providers can get up to eighty hours (two weeks) of emergency paid sick leave when they are unable to work due to COVID-19.

PPE and food distributions

Local member leaders and staff held PPE distributions in offices across the state as UDW stepped in to provide needed pandemic supplies to caregivers when no one else would. Masked-up and socially distant, our drive-through events have been some of our only contact with each other. We are all looking forward to the day when we can crowd into our union halls again!

San Diego members joined our friends in the labor community to feed 1,000 families in need during a food drive there on April 27. Said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore: “This is what we mean when we say ‘union strong’. Thank you to everyone who came out to help, we could not have done this without you!”

Victory for Stanislaus County

Our members in Stanislaus County ratified a new contract that included a raise to $13.50 an hour with raises to $14.50 on January 1, 2021, and $15.50 on January 1, 2022. The contract also included added money for trainings and $10,000 per year for supplies.

Help with stimulus checks

Direct payments from the federal government helped many of us early in the pandemic but, because many low-income people like caregivers don’t file taxes regularly, the checks didn’t come automatically. UDW did the research to find out what our members needed to do to make sure they got their checks as well as how to watch out for scams and misinformation relating to coronavirus relief.

We also held our second Facebook Live event with UDW Legislative Director Kristina Bas Hamilton who was joined by Debbie Thomson and Jennifer Troia from the California Department of Social Services to answer member questions about how the IHSS program is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

UDW member honored by legislator

We were all so proud when UDW caregiver Angie Nguyen was named an Everyday Hero by State Senator Tom Umberg!

Victory for Sutter County

Sutter County members ratified a new contract that included a raise to $13.40 an hour with additional raises to $14.40 on January 1, 2021, and $15.40 on January 1, 2022. The contract also included the creation of a Dental and Vision Plan as well as $2,500 annually for supplies.

 

MAY

UDW members meet with Assemblymember Jose Medina

Demanding support for frontline workers

UDW joined millions of workers across the country to demand that Congress “Fund the Frontlines” and support essential workers like health care workers, first responders and home care workers who are risking our lives under the most difficult possible conditions.

UDW also expanded our member advocacy to include helping members who became ill with COVID and needed help applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), paid sick leave, and more. We created a page to help navigate the UI and PUA programs so members who lost hours or were no longer able to care for their clients didn’t lose all of their income.

UDW member Nicanora Montenegro and Executive Director Doug Moore spoke at the San Diego Mayor’s daily press briefing to highlight the essential and life-saving work being done by caregivers across the state and to urge that counties provide more PPE to IHSS providers.

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day

UDW Assistant Executive Director Johanna Puno Hester addressed our child care providers by video to celebrate Child Care Provider Appreciation Day and thank them for all they do to keep working families safe and secure.

Governor proposes cutting IHSS and child care program and UDW fights back!

In his May Revise budget announcement, Governor Newsom responded to the pandemic-related budget deficit by going back on his January promise not to cut IHSS hours. Said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore: “Now is not the time to drain resources from a critical program that is already struggling to meet the growing need for care in a state with a rapidly aging population.” Newsom also announced a proposed 10% cut to child care subsidy rates.

Our union went all in to fight back against Governor Newsom’s proposed cuts. Our Executive Board sent a letter to legislators and we organized our members statewide to contact their legislators and call in to budget committee hearings with a simple message: You can’t cut services to those most impacted by the pandemic.

Murder of George Floyd

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic and threats to cut our vital programs, UDW members were left devastated and reeling when Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd on May 25. While video of the murder was traumatic and painful, it also re-ignited a passion to end racism and violence against people of color once and for all in our country. UDW members spoke out at rallies and demonstrations across the state, and UDW Executive Director Doug Moore said in his statement on the murder: “This can be a turning point if we let it be. But we need to have courage. Our leaders need to have courage to change policy and to address the disparate treatment of Black people in this country.”

AB 1993 gains support

Our bill to expand unemployment insurance to parent and spouse IHSS providers gained momentum with a blog post by the bill’s author, Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager. In it, Kamlager describes the story of UDW member Christine Cruikshank, whose family was financially devastated when her daughter was hospitalized and her IHSS pay was cut. Kamlager wrote: “Now is the time to elevate the essential work that IHSS providers and scores of other Californians do every day behind the scenes. We should use this crisis as an opportunity to patch the holes in our social safety net to ensure that California is a place where ALL workers are treated with dignity and respect, in times of global crisis and in normal times, too.”

 

JUNE

UDW member Kesha Haynie speaking at a protest against police violence against Black people after the murder of George Floyd.

Solidarity for Black lives

UDW members took part in marches, car caravans and rallies across the state to protest the murder of George Floyd and demand an end to systemic racism and police violence against Black people in America.

Victory for Placer County

Placer County members ratified a new contract that included a raise to $13.40 an hour and raises of $14.40 on January 1, 2021 and $15.40 on January 1, 2022. The contract also included money for a Dental and Vision plan and $10,000 per year for PPE such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

UDW stops the 7% cut to IHSS hours

As the 7% cut to IHSS hours came closer to becoming reality, we intensified our efforts to stop it and made a socially-distanced video for lawmakers that featured our members explaining how important IHSS is to their clients—and how every hour of care counts. Thanks to the work of UDW members, the California State Senate and Assembly voted NOT to include a 7% cut to IHSS hours in the state budget. But we still needed Governor Newsom to reject the cut, too, so we turned up the heat in the last weeks before the budget deadline.

We won! The governor approved a 2020-2021 budget that protected care for seniors and people with disabilities. But the fact that the governor had proposed it in the first place meant we must always stay strong to protect care. Said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore: “Stopping this cut to IHSS hours was the result of UDW’s hard work and the dedication of our members to protecting their clients. It’s a huge victory for UDW caregivers. But we can never get comfortable when it comes to protecting the IHSS program; we need to keep our membership strong, united and vigilant to fight new threats when they come.”

CCPU-UDW stops 10% cut to child care subsidy rates

Thanks to the work of CCPU, family child care providers who care for children on subsidy programs were spared from cuts in the state budget. Proving that’s what good for our members is good for the children they care for too, Keisha Nzewi, director of public policy for the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network said: “It’s absolutely wonderful that these cuts were rejected. To a lot of providers that I talked to, they felt like a 10% cut would mean they would have to cut their assistants or they wouldn’t be able to pay their mortgage or their rent. Just the thought of that was a lot to carry during this time.”

UDW member Camilla Bradford shares her story with the LA Sentinel

UDW caregiver Camilla Bradford wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Sentinel to point out that domestic workers and women of color have always been on the frontlines, COVID-19 just made it clear. “Historically, domestic workers have been marginalized and excluded from worker protections specifically because it was work usually done by women of color,” Camilla wrote. “It’s a power dynamic that traces back to slave times when Black women were forced to work for slave owners–not only as cooks and housekeepers, but as caregivers for their family members.”

Juneteenth

This day—which marks the end of slavery—took on extra meaning in light of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on people of color. To mark the day, UDW members took part in commemorations statewide and recommitted ourselves to fighting for dignity, safety, and respect for Black care workers and those they care for and honoring Black life, freedom and joy.

CCPU ballots arrive

As our historic election on union representation for family child care providers drew near, ballots began arriving in the mail for CCPU-UDW members. Solano member Allison Davis told the Solano Republic about our organizing effort: “The union is a huge step to get child care recognized as an essential business… it just builds up child care and will bring in more people into child care with better wages and benefits.”

 

JULY

Latino community most impacted by COVID-19

By July it became clear that California’s Latino communities were the hardest hit by the pandemic—something UDW’s member outreach and case tracking confirmed. Likely the result of so many Latino Californians being frontline workers, Governor Newsom said: “These are the heroes of the front lines, the essential workers that we relied on at the beginning of this pandemic to keep us fed and to take care of our most acute needs.” As California increased its outreach to Latino communities, UDW helped impacted caregiver families find medical and financial assistance. We also held another Telephone Town Hall on July 10 to discuss our victory on the 7% cut to IHSS hours and update members on COVID-19.

Advocacy and timesheet help goes virtual

The ongoing pandemic changed the way UDW members helped each other get help with timesheets and IHSS advocacy, but we were still there for each other when it came to help with navigating IHSS. UDW offices were open for appointments and staff held online advocacy workshops. And our app, IHSS help, became more critical than ever in making sure IHSS worked for providers and clients.

Commit to Equity

We joined the growing voices of working families statewide demanding that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share in taxes and that the state stop recommending cuts that hurt the most marginalized and underfunded communities. At a rally in San Diego to support Proposition 15, which would close a loophole for wealthy property owners, CCPU-UDW member Miren Algorri said: “This tax would help those families who need quality child care, affordable child care, so we are supporting the children. This is not about the rich, this is about the children, the future, not only of this community, but of California, the nation.”

Virtual Disability Capitol Action Day

In normal (non-pandemic) years, we join with other disability rights activists at the Capitol to ensure the legislature acts in the interest of seniors and people with disabilities. This year the event went online and we used it as an opportunity to raise awareness of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). When the ADA was signed 30 years ago, it was the biggest anti-discrimination change in our country since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In July, we joined our friends at the Disability Action Coalition to mark the ADA’s anniversary and celebrate its significance in our lives and the lives of our clients.

Child care providers vote yes for their union!

It was a victory almost 20 years in the making: our union election showed that 97% of child care providers voted yes to be represented by our union, CCPU. Together we began an exciting new chapter of our union’s story: representing family child care providers and helping to fix California’s broken child care system. In the middle of a very difficult year for child care providers, this victory was a welcome ray of hope.

Said Alicia Turner, a CCPU-UDW member from Stanislaus County: “We are paving the way for social and economic justice. This victory is proof that when women, and women of color lead a movement, it can and will make history, and we did just that.”

UDW protects minimum wage increase

When the Governor Newsom announced his proposed budget, we demanded that the governor not delay the 2021 minimum wage increase that we had fought for in 2016. The law allows the governor to delay the scheduled yearly raises, which some were urging Newsom to do to address the pandemic-caused budget shortfall. But you can’t build an economic recovery if workers can’t pay their bills, so we were grateful when Newsom formally announced that on January 1, the minimum wage would increase to $14.00 statewide. This also ensured that all UDW contracts tied to the minimum wage increase would move forward on January 1 as well.

 

AUGUST

UDW joins fight for environmental justice

In August, UDW signed on as co-sponsors to AB 345, a law that would require oil and gas drilling to be set back a minimum distance from sensitive locations like hospitals and child care facilities. Our work on environmental justice reflects that the fight for clean air and water is in reality a fight for our members’ lives—especially in oil and gas producing counties like Kern. Said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore “Last year, the American Lung Association named [Kern County’s] largest city, Bakersfield, as the city with the worst air quality in America. Our members are low-income women and people of color and we are tired of our communities being the first choice for environmental hazards. We support AB 345 because the people who breathe the air and drink the water should have a say in where oil and gas extraction sites are located.”

Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

Before the Voting Rights Act was signed on August 6, 1965, many people of color were prevented from exercising our constitutional right to participate in elections. To celebrate the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, we urged all members to register to vote before August 6, the anniversary of when the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, breaking down legal barriers the October 19 deadline.

CCPU urges state to protect child care

California’s newest union leapt into action in August to call attention to the worsening child care crisis. In July alone, over 1,000 family child cares closed their doors due to COVID-19, bringing the total to over 4,000 since the beginning of the pandemic. As the state’s officially certified child care union, we urged the state to take immediate action to extend and implement vital COVID-19 protections to stabilize family child care.

UDW works towards racial healing

We continued our anti-racism work in August, talking to each other and looking for ways to be leaders on racial justice in our communities. Said Wymon Johnson, a UDW caregiver in Kern County: “We are now in a time of significant social change; that scares a lot of people who are used to the divisiveness and don’t want change. But we can’t let them keep us divided. There is power in our unity. Fighting for racial justice is a form of caregiving. It starts with love.”

 

SEPTEMBER

UDW members in Riverside showing their support of AB 1993.

AB 1993 heads to governor’s desk

Thanks to the hard work of UDW members, our bill to extend unemployment insurance to parent and spouse IHSS providers was passed by the California State Senate and Assembly in September and sent to the Governor’s desk. Our members went all-out to get the governor to sign AB 1993, calling his office, sending emails, and posting selfies of ourselves and our clients to his Facebook page. In an Op-Ed for CalMatters, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore said: “AB 1993 is making its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. If he truly believes in a California for all, I urge him to sign it. For the 122,240 parent and spouse providers who take on IHSS care, it is a labor of love – but make no mistake, it is labor and deserves the rights and protections of any other job.”

CCPU-UDW’s Miren Algorri honored in national Labor Day essential worker celebration

On Sunday, September 6, labor and social justice groups across the country came together online to watch performances, hear stories, and honor the lives of working people who continue to sacrifice daily for our nation’s safety and wellbeing. CCPU-UDW member Miren Algorri was invited to take part and spoke for all of us when she said: “It’s not enough to praise essential workers—we’ve got to show up and fight for their rights and protections.” Miren also received Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’ Unsung Hero Award.

Working for safer communities

UDW District 6 Chair Dr. William Reed and UDW Special Assistant to the Executive Director Kim Moore joined Californians for Safety and Justice for an online discussion of how reallocating funds to workforce development can make our communities safer and healthier.

UDW lead organizer Ly Nguyen is named Woman of the Year

State Senator Tom Umberg presented our own Ly Nguyen with the Woman of the Year award for the 34th Senate District. Said Umberg: “I am proud to recognize Ly for the amazing determination she has as she fights for worker’s rights and social justice. Ly Nguyen takes care of those in need, has dedicated her life to the advancement of Asian Pacific American worker rights, immigrant rights, and civil rights.”

CCPU rallies statewide

We held simultaneous car caravans in Sacramento, San Diego and Fresno on September 30 to demand the state take emergency actions to save family child care in California.

Governor Newsom vetoes AB 1993

On the last day for the governor to sign or veto bills for the year, Newsom vetoed AB 1993 and denied unemployment insurance eligibility to parent and spouse IHSS providers. UDW Executive Director Doug Moore expressed our collective disappointment in a public statement: “We expected Governor Newsom to have the courage to lead by example and take action to break down systemic racism and sexism by signing AB 1993. Instead he chose to leave caregivers behind.”

Though AB 1993 was ultimately vetoed, the months of action and commitment our members put forth were not in vain; the governor’s veto message affirmed that excluding parent and spouse IHSS providers from unemployment insurance is discriminatory and opened the door to fixing the issue in 2021 budget negotiations.

 

OCTOBER

CCPU member Miren Algorri speaking at a press conference in San Diego.

Victory for Madera County

Madera County members ratified a new contract that included a raise to $14.50 an hour with an additional raise to $15.50 on January 1, 2022. The contract also included $6,800 per year for supplies such as gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

CCPU demands end to child care crisis

CCPU and 77 other organizations sent a letter to Governor Newsom, Senate pro-Tempore Atkins, and Speaker Rendon to demand that the state of California take action to end California’s child care crisis.

UDW works to pass Proposition 16

Women and people of color still face discrimination in hiring, employment, and education. That’s why UDW joined our friends in labor to support Proposition 16, which would have repealed California’s ban on affirmative action. Though Prop. 16 ultimately failed, the movement for justice is growing and UDW remains committed to fighting discrimination in all its forms.

CCPU rally & candlelight vigil

By October, more than 5,600 child care providers in California had closed their doors because of the pandemic. On October 15, we rallied in San Diego to call attention to the crisis, especially the new challenge providers face facilitating distance learning for kids in their care. Said Johanna Puno Hestor, UDW Assistant Executive Director and Co-Chair of CCPU: “Family child care providers aren’t paid for the extra work. But they have to do it so parents can go to their jobs. It’s an impossible situation. And Governor Newsom and the rest of our elected leaders are ignoring it.”

October 27 in San Diego, family child care providers and our allies gathered for a candlelight vigilremembering child care providers lost to COVID-19 and honoring the providers who were forced to close their doors since the pandemic began.

Voter registration

UDW made sure members knew that October 19 was the last day to register to vote in California. We also prepared voter guides to help members know what candidates and propositions would help—or hurt—caregivers and our families. We set a goal of 7,000 new UDW voter registrations and, by the end of the registration period, successfully reached that goal—and surpassed it by 5,489!

 

NOVEMBER

UDW members at an Election Event in downtown San Diego.

Election Day 2020

After a challenging year, it was finally election day. In the days and weeks leading up to the big day, UDW members and staff made 166,834 calls supporting our issues and candidates. We also sent 15,195 text messages. Unlike other years where much of our election work would be door-to-door, in 2020 we moved online, holding dozens of Zoom calls to give our members the opportunity to interact with candidates and ask them questions.

Election victories

As election returns came in in the days following the election, it was clear that California’s record-high voter turnout led to many wins for caregivers and our communities. In the counties where we have members, 17 of 25 UDW-endorsed State Assembly candidates and 7 of 9 UDW-endorsed State Senate candidates won their races. And, in a historic win in San Diego, the Board of Supervisors had its first pro-caregiver majority. Said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore: “Moving forward, we expect the Board to prioritize working families and our issues, and to work toward a San Diego County where everyone has equal protections and opportunities.”

Provider Appreciation Month

In a year like no other, we celebrated a Provider Appreciation Month like no other. Instead of the gatherings and in-person celebrations that have marked past Novembers for our union, we hosted Zoom parties and drive-through Turkey giveaways. It was different, for sure, but one thing remained the same: our support of each other as fellow caregivers in our mission to help our clients live the best lives possible.

We win money for child care!

In a big win for family child care providers, Stage 1 CalWORKs stipends began being dispersed in November. Funded by the CAREs Act, state officials set stipend rates based on the number of subsidized children providers cared for in July and weighted by county November 18. The win was thanks to the CCPU-UDW members who fought to make our voices were heard during the budget process—and a testament to the power of having union representation. At the same time, CCPU filed an unfair practice charge (ULP) against the State of California, which has refused to work with providers as required by law as the pandemic upended their industry. Said Sacramento CCPU-UDW member Charlotte Neal: “Child care providers were barely getting by before the pandemic. Now, we’re not getting by at all…We need action from the state. And we need it now.”

Victory for IHSS providers

Two years ago, the federal government tried to tell caregivers what we can and can’t do with our own paychecks. They introduced a new rule to make it harder for home care workers to pay our union dues and other monthly automatic deductions, like health insurance. They thought that if our unions couldn’t collect dues, they could weaken our collective power, but we fought back—and in November, we successfully blocked the rule and kept our paycheck rights. Said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who filed the lawsuit on our behalf: “Fortunately, the court saw through the administration’s faulty posturing and sent them packing. This ruling is a victory for our state and for the collective bargaining rights of home care workers who play a vital role in our health care system.”

Executive Director Doug Moore featured on Capitol Weekly podcast

Our Executive Director Doug Moore was invited by Capitol Weekly to sit down for a long talk on what matters to our members. Listen to the podcast here.

 

DECEMBER

District 6 Vice President William Reed, preparing to hand out supplies during Christmas.

Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge

The dire warnings of public health experts came true with many Californians travelling for Thanksgiving and gathering without masks or distancing. The post-Thanksgiving surge in COVID-19 infections caused a spike in cases that filled up hospitals statewide and led to new shutdowns and new daily records for deaths.

COVID-19 vaccinations begin

The COVID vaccine finally arrived but, at least in the first few months, there wouldn’t be enough for everyone. UDW worked with the state to ensure that home care workers and child care providers were among the essential workers allowed early access to the vaccine. As of the end of the year, very few of us had been vaccinated, but the arrival of the vaccine was like a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.

A very COVID holiday season

The virus may have changed the way we celebrated this year, but it didn’t change what we feel about each other and the work we do as caregivers. And as we found new ways to bond with love ones and honor our traditions, we all had one eye on December 2021 when, hopefully, we would all be able to gather again safely.

 

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2021

We’re happy for 2020 to be over, but the change in calendars isn’t an automatic reset on this challenging year; we will need to work to make 2021 a better year. For UDW and CCPU-UDW, that work will mean taking the lessons we learned as essential workers in a pandemic and using them to push for what we want: a future where everyone has the right to affordable, quality long-term care and childcare—and every family has what they need to live a happy, healthy life.

You can help shape 2021 for our union and our communities. Get involved! Call your local UDW office and find out ways that you can make 2021 a great year for caregivers and those we care for.

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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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