4:35 PM Eastern - Monday, October 20, 2014

Ebola: Partnering With Healthcare Workers is Step One #default

It comes as no surprise in our global transportation age that the Ebola virus -- once isolated to Western Africa --would eventually reach the United States. But this week we were deeply concerned by the diagnosis of not just one, but two healthcare workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Now, our challenge is to share up-to-date information and collaborate in the way that all public health crises demand, to contain the Ebola virus and keep front-line healthcare workers and their patients healthy.

We urge employers to take responsibility for worker, patient and consumer safety, and institute protocols and a tailored worksite plan that don't just meet, but exceed current recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Effective worksite plans should:

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Home Care Workers Launch Fight for $15; demand politicians do whatever it takes to raise worker pay

Roxanne Trigg, a 42-year-old home care worker from Milwaukee, who cares for her mother, is ready to Fight for $15.

"I'm tired of working hard only to penny-pinch my way through life. I take pride in the care I provide my clients and I deserve a life out of poverty," she said. "I am not alone. I'm more determined than ever to win $15 for all home care workers in Wisconsin and across the country."

Trigg joined one of a dozen actions this week calling for politicians to support $15 per hour and a union for home care workers. She rallied with home care and fast-food workers calling out Gov. Scott Walker, who recently said about the minimum wage, "I don't think it serves a purpose."

In contrast to Walker's out-of-touch declaration, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) met with Illinois home care workers and signed a pledge to support $15/hour and a union.

Home Care Workers Launch Fight for $15; demand politicians do whatever it takes to raise worker pay

"Home care workers hold some of the most important jobs in our country, caring for older Americans and people with disabilities by providing critical services like bathing, dressing and preparing meals," said Schakowsky.

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10:42 AM Eastern - Friday, October 17, 2014

Can I count on you on November 4? #default

Pledge to vote on November 4I've been a home care worker for four years. Even though I get up and go to work every day to help people with disabilities live at home with dignity, I'm always in the red at the end of the month. I'm 34 years old—but I had to move back in with my mom because I couldn't afford food, rent and utilities on my own.

Too many working people are facing similar struggles and that's why I'm committed to voting this November 4th.

This election is about lifting up families. We've got to be able to count on each other to turn out to the polls so we can get that done.

Click here to join me and pledge to vote on November 4 for candidates that stand with working families.

Where I live in Illinois, we also have a chance to vote "yes" to raising the minimum wage. An increase to the minimum wage would help a lot of families in my west side Chicago neighborhood, including home care workers. If we can raise wages for folks at the bottom, everyone else would have more power to bargain for a raise.

In this country, someone making the minimum wage earns $290 a week. You and I both know that's not enough to feed a family and pay all the bills, let alone buy your kids winter coats as temperatures began to dip to freezing.

Take the pledge to vote this Election Day on November 4, 2014.

Election Day is coming, and there's a lot at stake. We need to change the direction of the country so everyone who works hard for a living can support their families without having to live on the brink--and this change starts at the ballot box. Will we elect candidates who'll raise wages and create good jobs or ones who'll give more tax breaks to corporations and CEOs?

Let's stand together and win this one in November.

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4:38 PM Eastern - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Protect airport workers against infectious disease #default

No worker should have to risk their health or safety--much less the threat of contracting an infectious disease--in order to make a living. Yet that is exactly what's at stake for Air Serv cabin cleaners at NYC's LaGuardia Airport.

Air Serv cabin cleaning crews encounter hypodermic needles, vomit and blood while cleaning. Just last month, one of the Air Serv cabin cleaners was hospitalized after being pricked with a needle while cleaning out a seat-back pocket.

To make matters worse? As the number of workers per job has decreased, so has the time allotted for them to clean these hazardous materials before the next passengers board the plane.

Airport workers went on strike late last week to call attention to this debilitating‎ and dangerous issue. Sign the petition to demand that airlines and their contractors protect each and every airport worker on the job against infectious disease.

Airports_InfectiousDisease_580px.jpg

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From airport workers welcoming international passengers to nurses, hospital cleaners, and medical technicians caring for patients, workers are on the front lines of protecting American communities from the spread of the Ebola virus. Last week, dozens of New York-area airport workers took part in awareness training dealing with infectious disease and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) updated guidelines on preventing the spread of Ebola at our nation's airports.

SEIU leaders will be working with leading hospitals in the Partnership for Quality Care (PQC) and other employers to provide training opportunities for the entire patient care team and other service workers, such as airport workers, in the days and weeks to come. SEIU is also calling on airlines to partner in bringing infection-control training to airport workers across our nation and plans to announce further trainings soon.

Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said the following about the role of ordinary working women and men in defending against Ebola and the need for employers to better support them in their critical roles:

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1:35 PM Eastern - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Workers Need Adequate Protection from Ebola, Infectious Diseases #default

Dozens of New York area airport workers took part in an awareness training provided by SEIU trainers and healthcare professionals. The training came as workers have revealed their lack of training to deal with infectious diseases in light of the Centers for Disease Control's updated advice on preventing the spread of Ebola in our airports.

I was really glad to know that we would be getting this training, because I don't think we are getting what we need to keep ourselves safe at the airport.

A lot of us are worried about this because we know there's a risk of passengers coming through who have Ebola. The equipment we have is just not good enough to deal with that. Also, this training is more than we've gotten so far from my company. They told us yesterday we should wash our hands and use gloves, and we could get gloves if we asked. I've been working here for a while and just like some contractors, they don't like to buy good equipment.

When we clean the bathrooms, we are exposed to everything, so I am really glad to know that I'm getting this training. In the past, contractors have told us just to wash our hands and use gloves. Cleaning kits are not readily available to protect against the various bodily fluids we encounter every day. Sometimes all we have are paper towels to wipe down the bathrooms.

That can be a real problem because we have to deal with some tough things -- vomit, blood and feces. You end up having to clean it up with the spray bottle and a mop, and then wipe it up with paper towels and pitch it in the garbage.

That's why I am organizing to get a voice at work with 32BJ SEIU. Even though we don't have union or a contract, the best advice we've had so far is from our union. It's time for the airlines and our companies to sit down with us and listen to our voices, so that we can make our airports safe for us and for our passengers.

Sign the petition to demand that airlines and their contractors protect each and every airport worker on the job against infectious disease.

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10:34 PM Eastern - Friday, October 10, 2014

The World is Watching Ferguson, Mo. #default

HCIIMK-Ferguson.jpgIt's been two months since the tragic shooting of 18-year-old Mike Brown and many black and brown communities are still reeling with pain and anger at a policing system that is broken and in desperate need of repair.

Yet the crisis in Ferguson has sparked a movement moment. This weekend, thousands of people are gathering in Ferguson, Mo. to demand justice for Mike Brown, Vonderrit Myers Jr. and many other known (and unknown) men and women who have lost their lives to senseless police violence.

This movement needs you.

Help build momentum for a nationwide movement against police violence on Twitter. Use one (or more!) of the tweets below to show you're standing strong with the people of Ferguson:

It will take ALL of us in this national movement to dismantle broken policing systems. I'm in. Are you? #FergusonOctober #1uFerguson

We refuse to remain silent. We will not go back to business as usual. #FergusonOctober #1uFerguson

Justice in #Ferguson must include economic opportunity for all. This is our moment. #FergusonOctober #1uFerguson

Racially-motivated police violence has no place in law enforcement. Help us draw a line in history to say, "not one more!"

Learn more about #FergusonOctober here: http://fergusonoctober.com/

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2:08 PM Eastern - Friday, October 10, 2014

'An Economy That Works for Everyone' is Our Mid-Term Election Rallying Cry #default

With the 2014 midterm elections just weeks away, SEIU members and our allies are stepping up our on-the-ground commitments to be strong champions for the issues that really matter to working people--good jobs with good wages, healthcare, commonsense immigration reform, and justice and safety in our communities.

I'm delighted to share with you a new booklet, "An Economy That Works for Everyone," which highlights the campaigns we are driving day-in and day-out to deliver on the bold promise of that title in 2014 and beyond. It includes powerful personal stories of individuals whose lives have been touched by these campaigns.

At a time when so many people in America still grapple with stagnant wages and rising costs, SEIU members are out there. They are everywhere, talking to elected officials and candidates at all levels of government, talking to union and nonunion voters alike, and especially talking with voters who are African American, Latino or earning less than $50,000 a year.

As we continue in this work, we want to share successes and goals for working people such as those described in this booklet. For example, the rapidly growing movement sparked by fast-food workers in New York City who went on strike for "$15 an hour and a union" is growing by leaps and bounds.

'An Economy That Works for Everyone' is Our Mid-Term Election Rallying Cry

Joining the fight are union allies such as truck drivers and nonunion services workers such as those at Wal-Mart. Plenty of SEIU members are also in the battle: home care providers, airport workers, adjunct professors, child care providers, security officers, janitors and hospital workers.

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1:43 PM Eastern - Friday, October 10, 2014

Raising America: Adjuncts Raise Standards on Campuses across America #default

What group of working Americans earns so little money they often qualify for food stamps, have no health insurance, and no job security?

Believe it or not, it's adjunct professors. Adjunct professors make up 76.4 percent of the faculty in U.S. higher education institutions of all types. Yet the majority of these highly educated professors live BELOW the poverty line.


Editorial: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/editorial-adjuncts-unite-for-better-education/article_5f8df83b-a23b-5037-99be-43096b44ef6d.html

Across the country, there is a movement of adjunct faculty joining together to improve higher education by working to create better working conditions for themselves and better learning conditions for their students.

Contingent faculty are uniting to address the crisis in higher education and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty that endangers our profession.

Watch Rebecca Gibson at Tufts University winning a union with her fellow workers:

"Being an adjunct can be an isolating experience. Our schedules alone discourage interaction with one another. However, stories I've heard from fellow contingent faculty since I became involved in the adjunct unionization efforts--of little job security, lack of benefits, the struggle to get by on sometimes astonishingly low wages--have led to a growing awareness of our shared contingent status. Coming together with fellow adjunct faculty, I recognized a way forward to a better future through unity and collective action."

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1:18 PM Eastern - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Being Prepared for the Ebola Virus: Basic Resources for Nurses, Physicians, Healthcare Workers, Front-Line Caregivers and the Service Industry #default

As nurses, doctors and healthcare workers across the country watch the Ebola crisis in western Africa with deep concern, our hearts go out to our colleagues caring for Ebola patients in West Africa and elsewhere -- especially those who are volunteers -- and to patients and families affected by the virus. Given the potential for the virus to spread, we want every nurse and healthcare worker to know the facts, dispel myths and be prepared to screen, identify and treat potential patients in their hospitals, clinics and other facilities.

We also know that many service workers, including those at airports around the country, have a critical role in preventing the spread of infectious disease. I am proud to know that our own SEIU Health and Education Fund, in collaboration with 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East and the Doctors Council of New York is conducting an infectious disease training for New York airport workers on Thursday, October 9. The training will introduce cabin cleaners, wheelchair attendants and terminal cleaners from Kennedy and LaGuardia airports to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on identifying and protecting against exposure and spread of infectious diseases at airports.

SEIU Healthcare will continue to coordinate efforts with hospitals, clinics, and other workplaces to ensure our fellow workers across the country are prepared.

Last week, members of the Partnership for Quality Care (PQC), a coalition of the nation's leading hospitals, and SEIU nurses and frontline caregivers, were briefed by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. Click here to view Dr. Frieden's presentation to the PQC.

Please read and share these important resources for front-line caregivers:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Ebola Information for Workplace Safety and Health

Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Ebola Information for Protecting Workers from Ebola Virus

OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen and Needlestick Prevention

Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard (Cal/OSHA)

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