Walk a Day in My Shoes

WADIMS-logo-'10.jpgUS Senate Candidate Paul Hodes "Walks A Day in the Shoes" of SEIU Nursing Home Worker Nicole Thomas

New Hampshire's general election in began when U.S. Senate candidate Representative Paul Hodes "walked a day in the shoes" of nursing home caregiver Nicole Thomas in Strafford County.

Hodes spent the morning taking care of residents at the Riverside Rest Home in Dover, including feeding them breakfast, housekeeping, and participating in a disaster training exercise with staff and Dover firefighters to ensure patients can be transported to safety in any emergency.

Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

Dan Onorato
, the Democratic nominee for Governor, spent a few hours walking in the shoes of Shanrika Dukes, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at the Somerton Center nursing home in northeast Philadelphia. Shanrika has been working at Somerton Center for 15 years and is an elected member of the SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Executive Board.

"Before he got there, I thought he might be scared to interact with the residents or do all the things that I do," said Shanrika Dukes. "But he did really well. He talked with them, asked lots of questions and did everything a rookie employee on the job would do. His commitment to the residents showed and it was fun working with him."

20100211sd_MarquezWADIMS_142.jpgCalifornia (Bellflower and Los Angeles)

A typical morning at work for Tonia McMillian begins at 7:00 a.m., cooking breakfast for the 10+ children she currently cares for as a child care provider out of the Bellflower, California family child care home she operates. From there, each day for the children Tonia cares for includes plenty of facilitated playtime, reading, and two hours of preschool curriculum. On February 11, Tonia had an extra hand to assist her with nurturing, teaching and caring for the kids--Luis Marquez, the Democratic Candidate for the California State Assembly in District 50.

Marquez spent time with Tonia as part of SEIU's "Walk a Day in My Shoes" campaign to get every elected official to experience firsthand what life is like for working people. More photos of their day spent together are available on Flickr.

Three Los Angeles Unified School District employees wanted to make sure that the candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction walked a day in their shoes. They wanted the candidates to know what it's like providing good student services when massive state budget cuts have forced LAUSD to eliminate 650 building and grounds positions this school year and nearly 200 cafeteria positions over the last two years.

Recently, candidates Tom Torlakson, Gloria Romero and Larry Aceves learned firsthand the challenges district employees face given the limited resources schools have due to recent budget cuts.

Read the whole article, which originally appeared on the California Labor Federation blog "Labor's Edge."

Wisconsin (Stevens Point)

On April 14, 2010, Tom Barrett, candidate for Governor of Wisconsin for Governor, was invited to spend a day on the job as a home care worker in Stevens Point. 

Barrett learned of the challenges facing home health care workers through his visit with Nick Dufek and Kathryn Burton. Barrett assisted around the house for a day, and traveled with their consumer Don Zivney as he filled candy vending areas in Stevens Point.  Burton and Dufek provide 24 hour live-in care for Don who has cerebral palsy. Their work allows Don the independence to live in his own home, and the ability to be a productive part of the community. "I was excited to have Tom Barrett walk a day in my shoes," said Burton. "We need elected leaders like Barrett who understand the challenges working people face."

Highlights from the Barrett/Dufek/Burton Walk a Day are available on YouTube.
SEIU has a proud history of working to elect candidates across the nation that support working families despite political affiliation.
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