In the towns of Tanauan and Tacloban in the hard-hit Philippines province of Leyte, SEIU 1199 Secretary-Treasurer Maria Castaneda checked on the progress of the rehabilitation and rebuilding projects necessitated by last year's Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which was one of the strongest tropical disturbances ever recorded.

Castaneda Brings Support and Encouragement to Typhoon-Damaged Philippines Communities

Castaneda attended the "blessing of the boats" and their turnover to a community group called the Bangon Magay Association, and visited the damaged Maribi Elementary School. The school is being rebuilt with the support of The Malaya and Tala Fund, a partner of SEIU. The school building was destroyed during the super-typhoon and students have been occupying tents as temporary learning facilities.

Castaneda Brings Support and Encouragement to Typhoon-Damaged Philippines Communities

SEIU also donated 20 "trisikad" units to a pair of community groups in Tacloban City, Leyte. Trisikads are pedestrian cabs commonly used by Philippines travelers. The typhoon had destroyed the beneficiaries' vehicles, forcing the trisikad drivers to rent pedi-cabs for 60 pesos a day to continue their livelihood. They were earning only five pesos per ride, so the rental took a major bite from their daily income.

Watch the video of the reconstruction efforts on YouTube.

Read Inquirer.net coverage of Maria Castaneda's visit.

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12:32 PM Eastern - Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our country needs a big dose of education justice #default

early-learning-voter-final3.jpgEvery day, family child care providers, center workers and Head Start teachers are speaking up to take action with elected officials and create change in their communities.

Yet the work to ensure all children have access to a quality, affordable education continues. And far too many of our families are struggling to make ends meet in this economy.

But it doesn't have to be this way. We live in a country of tremendous wealth and resources. If we start making the right investments, our children will grow up to be a smart and productive generation of Americans. We've been so inspired by fast-food workers and their Fight for $15 and a union to provide for their families. That's why providers and parents are leading the charge to raise standards and wages in early learning so they can support their families, too.

Let your family and friends know you're stepping up to join the fight for early learning and child care this Election Day. Share this badge on your Facebook page now.

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4:23 PM Eastern - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Victory for Missouri Home Care Workers! #default

Victory for Missouri Home Care Workers!


After almost a year of bargaining, Missouri home care workers have reached a historic agreement with the state's Quality Home Care Council that will raise wages from an average of $8.58 per hour up to $10.15 per hour for many. Home care workers will also receive holiday pay for the first time.

This victory comes just a week after hundreds of home care workers met at the Home Care Workers Rising summit in St. Louis and rallied to demand Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon raise wages. More than a hundred home workers united in SEIU's Home Care Fight for $15 - both union and nonunion - attended the summit.

The agreement allows consumers to determine the wages of their home care workers. Choosing from a "wage range" of $8.50 to $10.15, consumers will be directly involved with workers and the union. The Missouri Home Care Union bargaining team viewed this unique proposal as a way to strengthen the relationship between better jobs and quality care.

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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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