20141126-ThanksgivingTurkey.pngIn our busy lives, it's rare that we have an opportunity to sit down and share a full meal with our families. (Indeed, some men and women working in retail are being forced to work Thanksgiving day, which is a terrible shame.)

For many of us, though, between bites of lovingly prepared food, Thanksgiving with loved ones presents a unique opportunity to broaden the scope of conversation beyond the usual polite chit-chat.

If you dare to bring up certain "politically sensitive" topics like immigration and healthcare with your family over candied sweet potatoes this year, we've prepared some talking points.

We hope they help you have productive conversations this Thanksgiving holiday, maybe even with the aunt who thinks it's unjust to make corporations pay taxes because "they're the ones that create all the jobs."

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8:55 PM Eastern - Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stand with Walmart workers on Black Friday #default

Stand with Walmart workers on Black FridayWalmart won't pay its employees enough to afford Thanksgiving dinner, so they're holding food drives for their employees. Seriously. It's been reported that an Oklahoma City Walmart set up bins for underpaid associates to donate canned goods to other underpaid associates.

We have a better idea, Walmart: Pay your workers enough to put food on the table.

If you agree, please join Walmart workers in their fight for $15 and full-time work ➞ click here to find a Black Friday protest near you.

Just like fast food and home care workers who went on strike in September to demand $15 an hour, Walmart workers are courageously standing up to challenge a system that keeps millions in poverty so a few massive corporations can make huge profits.

Nobody who works for one of the richest companies in the world should have to worry about their family not having enough to eat.

That's why I'm standing with Walmart workers this Black Friday. Sign up to join us.

The Walton family has as much money as nearly half the country—which means they can afford to pay all of their employees $15 an hour and provide full-time work; enough to live with dignity and raise a family. But they won't—not unless we speak up.

Friday is biggest shopping day in America. It's also the biggest chance we have to make Walmart hear us. Sign up to join a Black Friday protest now.

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10:45 PM Eastern - Monday, November 24, 2014

Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. All lives matter. #default

We can still secure justice for Mike BrownToday a grand jury refused to indict the man who killed Michael Brown.

We are deeply disappointed in the grand jury's decision today. It deepens the wounds to the Ferguson community.

If we're going to see justice for Michael Brown and his family, it's now up to the Department of Justice to prioritize their own investigation.

Join us in increasing pressure on US Attorney General Eric Holder prosecute the case under federal charges by signing our petition: https://action.seiu.org/page/s/doj-prioritize

Black lives matter. Brown lives matter. All lives matter. We need safety and justice in Ferguson and communities of color like it all across America.

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After 15 years of countless rallies, petitions, speeches, protests, get-out-the-vote efforts, arrests, letter-writing campaigns, lobbying efforts and marches, the hard work has paid off: immigrant families and SEIU members are celebrating today after President Obama announced administrative action granting relief to millions of undocumented immigrants facing deportation.

The president's action is a major victory--and one that would not have occurred if not for the tireless efforts of the millions of people who pushed so hard for it, including SEIU members, so many of whom are themselves immigrants.

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2:07 PM Eastern - Friday, November 21, 2014

Nurses Respond to the Ebola Crisis #default

As nurses across the country watched the Ebola crisis in western Africa with deep concern, our hearts went out to our colleagues caring for Ebola patients in there and elsewhere, and to patients and families affected by the virus. Given the potential for the virus to spread to the United States, we wanted every nurse, healthcare worker and care facility to know the facts and be prepared to screen, identify and treat potential patients in their hospitals, clinics and other facilities. So we began working with our health and safety team to make sure we understood what resources nurses needed and how to get those tools to them.

The handling of the first Ebola patient at Texas Health Presbyterian set off alarm bells across the country and especially for us as front-line healthcare workers. The hospital management had not prepared, clear protocols were not in place, and workers did not have the proper equipment or training to handle this situation. As a result, two of our fellow nurses from the care team became infected while doing their job caring for the patient. We needed to take action and seek solutions to prevent this from ever happening again.

As the largest union of nurses and healthcare workers in the United States, SEIU's responsibility was to partner with the Obama administration and with hospitals to ensure everyone had a site-specific plan to handle Ebola. We needed to identify proven strategies that worked and we needed to make sure there was widespread dissemination of the most up-to-date standards and protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It was not enough for facilities to distribute copies of printouts on safety protocols, they needed real site-specific plans and everyone from nurses to lab techs to the waste management team needed to have time to practice so they were prepared should the situation arise.

SEIU nurses were part of the solution and created opportunities for healthcare workers to ask questions, get answers and practice the recommended protocols:

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8:40 PM Eastern - Thursday, November 20, 2014

HUGE immigration news ➞ President announces executive action! #default

HUGE immigration news ➞ President announces executive action!In the ten years I've lived in the United States since coming here from the Philippines, not a day has gone by that I haven't worried about my "status." Because I'm undocumented, I have never been able to count on being able to stay in the country I love and call home.

But tonight, thanks to the President's historic announcement that he will take administrative action on immigration, I have real hope. The president's action will provide millions of working people and families with the opportunity to come out of the shadows and into the light of our economy and society without fear.

Those who can benefit from this administrative action should use iAmerica.org - a new resource offering informational tools and interactive opportunities to become full participants of our nation's democracy.

Visit iAmerica and share it with a friend now ➞ iAmerica.org. (There's no application process that exists yet, but once there is, this will be a trusted resource to receive accurate information).

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10:12 PM Eastern - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wisdom from Wisconsin: President Obama is right not to wait on immigration reform #default

I hope everyone who reads this will join me in commending President Obama for not waiting for the new Congress before taking commonsense steps to help immigrant families. Republicans are asking him to wait. That's a lot like what Scott Walker asked us all to do in Wisconsin right after he was first elected four years ago - just give him a minute.

In fact, Walker wrote a letter to all state legislators here - Democrats and Republicans alike -- asking them to give him the chance he deserved. He spoke publicly of being "a governor for the entire state," promising to craft a bipartisan solution to budget challenges.

Legislators waited and the rest is history. Walker's first act as governor was to sign legislation that gutted public employees' unions.

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6:01 PM Eastern - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Courageous Bay Area home care leaders arrested with me as we call for $15/hour living wage #default

Today, I was arrested with courageous home care leaders demanding a $15 an hour wage in high-tech, high-cost San Mateo County - SEIU Local 521 President Luisa Blue and home care providers Tonya York and Myrna Bravo.

Members of SEIU Local 521--who care for seniors and people with disabilities--voted to join in acts of civil disobedience because the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors hasn't given 5,000 providers a raise in seven years.

Courageous Bay Area home care leaders arrested with me as we call for $15/hour living wage
In the days before our protest, I talked with a group of home care workers to find out more about why they were willing to take this extraordinary action. I wanted to know how their families felt, too, and what they hoped would change.

Here are their stories:

Thuy Hoa Do, provides home care for her husband since he was disabled in 2007

Thuy Hoa Do wants to know why one of the richest counties in the state can't afford $15 an hour. The county is so expensive that even the water you drink costs a lot.

Thuy Hoa Do's husband was in a union and when he went on strike, it was hard for him to go early in the morning to face the company's president and tell him he was going home.
Home care providers usually can't leave the people they care for to protest or risk arrest. "We give everything for those we serve," she said.

Though she did not go to jail today, Thuy Hoa Do was willing to risk arrest as a way of caring for her husband and standing up for her co-workers. Her daughter, who is studying at Notre Dame, told her, "You're doing the right thing and I'll always stand by your side."

To Thuy Hoa Do, a raise to $15 is not asking too much. "If the pay is not good, who will go into home care and take care of any of us?"

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10:55 AM Eastern - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages #default

The Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study

22548-Infographic-Child-Care FINALSMALL.jpgTo mark the 25th anniversary of the National Child Care Staffing Study, Marcy Whitebook, Deborah Phillips, and Carollee Howes, the principal investigators and authors of the study, have released a white paper examining the progress over the past quarter-century in improving early childhood teaching jobs and attracting and retaining a well-prepared workforce able to foster children's learning and development.

Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages compiles evidence from multiple sources to provide a portrait of the early childhood teaching workforce today in comparison to 25 years ago and how today's parents are paying more for child care, but earning less.

The solution? Only by joining together can parents and child care professionals--and indeed whole communities--build a strong foundation for children's learning and success by giving working parents and their children access to quality care and learning, and by paying wages that allow child care workers to secure a bright future for their own children and families.

Download the Executive Report Summary here.

Download the Full Report here.

Help us spread the word. Tweet out a link to the report here.

Share our Infographic on Facebook.

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9:44 AM Eastern - Friday, November 14, 2014

Nurses Know the Facts: Millions of Americans Are Poised to Get Better Coverage at a Lower Cost as the Healthcare Marketplaces Open for Enrollment--November 15 #default

As a nurse, and chair of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare, I want to correct any confusion about the Affordable Care Act and the opportunity millions of Americans will have Nov. 15 to shop for health insurance plans.

Americans have said time and again they are not interested in repealing the healthcare law, but in making it better. My fellow nurses and I won't stand by while extremists confuse millions of Americans as the healthcare marketplace is about to open. We've heard their partisan rhetoric before about repeal of the healthcare law. Americans do not want the Affordable Care Act repealed, weakened or dismantled--they don't want control of their healthcare put back into the hands of insurance companies.

It is irresponsible for these politicians to be talking about repeal. What they should be doing is helping their constituents prepare for the opening of healthcare marketplaces.

I want to share with you some facts:

  • The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land--it was passed by Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court. Despite extremist rhetoric, the law will not be repealed.

  • Regardless of political party, the Affordable Care Act is helping millions of Americans.

  • On Nov. 15, the healthcare marketplaces will open and you can go online and shop for health insurance. You can go window shopping for plans this week.

  • If you have insurance through the marketplace, are happy with it and your family size hasn't changed, you don't have to do anything. Your plan will automatically renew--however, you should go back to the marketplace and see if some of the new options are a better fit for your needs and budget.

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