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UDW members protect care for seniors and people with disabilities

Faced with a 7 percent cut to hours, we fought back—and won

There are many great things that workers can do when they join together in a union: pay raises, benefits and discounts, and big changes like overtime and sick pay are some of the things UDW has won for members. But when it comes to our union’s top priority, we all agree our number one job is to protect the IHSS program for providers and clients. We know that IHSS saves lives, saves money, and is a critical resource for hundreds of thousands of Californians and their families.

That’s why we use our power to fight any attempts to cut IHSS. And we win.

Cutting IHSS was on Governor Gavin Newsom’s “to-do” list in May. After California’s closed-down economy presented the state with a $54 billion shortfall, the governor proposed drastic cuts to many important programs. One of those proposed cuts was a 7 percent reduction, across the board, to IHSS hours. Many of us lived through cuts to hours in previous economic downturns, and we weren’t about to go through it again. A 7 percent cut would have worked out to be an average of nearly 8 hours less care per month for IHSS clients—and that is just not acceptable.

UDW immediately went to work at every level to make sure that cut didn’t happen. We conducted virtual lobby visits with legislators to let them know the real people who would be hurt by the cuts. We spoke at press conferences and did interviews with newspaper, TV and radio reporters. And when the legislature met to discuss the proposed cuts, even though we couldn’t flood the capitol like we’ve done in the past, we watched online and called in to make sure caregiver voices were heard.

Our efforts, and our solidarity as a union, paid off! The legislature rejected the proposed cut and came up with a new plan that didn’t rely on drastic cuts to services for seniors and people with disabilities. On June 29, Governor Newsom signed the no-7-percent-cut budget, ensuring that IHSS hours are safe during this economic downturn.

“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,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “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.”

UDW anticipates further threats to IHSS as the state deals with the economic fallout of COVID-19, and will keep you updated every step of the way as we fight to protect this vital program that so many of our loved ones rely on.