10494377_10152118626442680_3452731177374829832_o.jpgCafeteria workers, custodians, special education assistants, campus safety monitors and other school service workers represented by SEIU Local 99 have ratified their contract agreement with the Los Angeles Unified School District that includes a landmark wage increase to $15 an hour by July 2016 and will open up a world of possibilities for nearly 20,000 school workers and their families.

It has "thrust the system into the forefront of a national movement and marks another political victory for a powerful labor group," according to the Los Angeles Times.

As Congress remains gridlocked, the contract for the lowest-paid workers in the nation's second-largest school district marks the latest win in the growing movement by workers to currently sweeping the country to raise wages.

"This historic agreement sets a new standard for ending poverty in our schools," said Local 99 Executive Director Courtni Pugh. "This will be felt in school districts across Los Angeles and across the country." LAUSD Supt. John Deasy said that through education, "we lift youth out of poverty every single day." The school system must do its part, he added, "to make sure parents are not remaining in poverty."

"As our nation struggles with questions about justice and fairness for low-wage workers, LAUSD must lead by example," said Steve Zimmer, a school board member who joined others in a unanimous vote of approval for the contract. Read more about the new contract here.

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry also hailed the agreement, saying that "at this pivotal moment in the Fight for 15, this groundbreaking contract is a shining example of the transformative power of workers coming together with employers to improve wages, benefits, quality of services and the future of our communities."

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2:29 PM Eastern - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Critical Month for Healthcare Law #default

This summer has brought many surprises already. While the shocking defeat of Congressman Eric Cantor -- who led 50 votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, supported Medicaid block grants and wanted to turn Medicare into a voucher system -- may seem like good news, we should be worried that even that track record isn't extreme enough for his Tea Party successor. It just reminds me how much is at stake in the 2014 elections for the Affordable Care Act.

A divided Supreme Court issued a decision in the Hobby Lobby case that is bad for women's health, bad for working families and bad for basic workplace protections. It came down just minutes after the Harris v Quinn ruling, another closely divided ruling by the conservative wing of the Court that upheld collective bargaining rights for Illinois home care workers but also said that individuals, could reap the benefits of collective bargaining without paying a "fair share" fee.

The Hobby Lobby ruling stripped away the right of millions of working women and their families to make their personal healthcare decisions in consultation with their healthcare providers -- not their bosses. SEIU President Mary Kay Henry immediately issued a statement warning that this decision -which Justice Ginsberg called "startling" in its breadth -- could harm not only women but all workers. As nurses, we've advocated for decades for our patients, and we will continue this fight.

We have a lot of work to do, but I can't imagine better colleagues with whom to be in this fight!

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12:45 PM Eastern - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Share your immigration story with the President #default

It's clear: Speaker Boehner and his Republican colleagues in the House ignored the will of the majority of Americans. Rather than do their job, they failed to act for our country and pass immigration legislation that would have kept families together, brought millions out of the shadow and strengthened our economy.

So now, President Obama has committed to take executive action for our immigrant communities.

Share your message with President Obama on how his commitment to immigrant families can strengthen all our communities. We'll be delivering your stories to the White House.

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1:57 PM Eastern - Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby court case ruling? Unbelievable! #default

India Walton protested the Supreme Court hearing for Hobby Lobby in January, and is committed to continue fighting for women and workers. Stand with her. -->


The Supreme Court issued a decision today that BOSSES at certain corporations can decide which forms of birth control women have access to.

Not a woman herself. Not a healthcare provider. A BOSS! As a NICU nurse, I am outraged.

This ruling in the Hobby Lobby court case also chips away at one of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act. It's the guarantee that, no matter what insurance plan you have, you'll get a wide range of basic preventive services for free -- annual checkups, cancer screenings, even maternity care.

Except that now some forms of contraception won't be covered for women working at certain corporations with "religious beliefs." This puts a heavy burden on women and families working minimum wage jobs and already struggling to make ends meet.

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12:06 PM Eastern - Monday, June 30, 2014

No court case is going to stop us #default

"No court case is going to stop us!"

That is the resounding message being spoken since the Supreme Court issued a ruling on Harris v. Quinn, which places at risk Illinois home care workers ability to come together to have a strong voice for good jobs and quality home care.

Show your solidarity and share our graphic now.


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11:07 AM Eastern - Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby Ruling Puts Ideology Over Sound Health Policy #default

The Supreme Court today sided with corporate interest over the health of working people in their ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.

Nurses know how important the relationship between a patient and their healthcare provider is in ensuring the best healthcare outcomes. Allowing politics and ideology to define healthcare policy is a bad prescription for women's health.

Depending on where you work, the court's ruling allows your boss to make decisions about your healthcare based on his or her religious beliefs. As a nurse who spent 25 years on the front lines of care, I know this is not sound health policy.

This ruling harms millions of women and puts them in real economic and emotional distress. Access to certain reproductive health services will now depend on where you work and how much you make.

Women across the country will now be forced to make tough choices between using recommended forms of birth control and keeping gas in the car or food on the table.
SEIU nurses fought for decades for healthcare reform. While this is a disappointment, it is not the end of our fight. Across the country, we vow to fight back and continue to advocate for the health of our patients.

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10:31 AM Eastern - Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court Case Could Impact Home Care Workers and Consumers #default

This post originally appeared here January 14, 2014.

Areesa Johnson, Springfield, IL Home Care Worker

PHOTO: Areesa Johnson, Springfield, IL Home Care Worker

On January 21, 2014, the Supreme Court will hear Harris v. Quinn, a case brought by the National Right to Work Committee, an extreme right-wing think tank. This case threatens home care workers' right to collectively bargain with states to improve working conditions.

More than that, Harris v. Quinn jeopardizes the ability of senior citizens and people with disabilities to live independently at home. Weakening our home care workforce will result in more folks being forced to live in institutions.

I have been a Personal Assistant for four years now, caring for people with disabilities in my Springfield, Illinois community. Seventeen years ago, my husband fell ill and that was my first experience as a caregiver. I fell in love with the work then and with each new consumer I work with, that love only continues to grow.

This line of work often involves more than an exchange of services; you build a relationship with the people you care for and share in the joy of their independence through the work that you do. My consumers get to stay in our community, living safely and independently where they want to be, and that makes me very proud to be a home care provider.

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5:17 PM Eastern - Friday, June 27, 2014

House Republicans: It's now or never #default

On June 27, 213, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill with 68 votes and the country rejoiced.

One year later, Republicans in the House continue to block reform. Instead of fixing the problem once and for all, House Republicans are choosing to play politics with this important issue.

We've come too far and gone through too much together to stop fighting to reform our broken system and bring 11 million aspiring Americans out of the shadows.

Watch this video for a compelling and heart wrenching reminder of why we need House Republicans to move forward on immigration reform now. Then spread the word to 5 friends.

Ana Fernanda Zaragoza, a DREAMer and DACA recipient, shares her heart breaking story as she starts her college career amidst the devastating situation of her father's deportation

Yesterday, Democratic Senators came together to speak out for reform. "Republicans know that if the House does not pass immigration reform they'll be handing the House, the presidency, the Senate, to Democrats in 2016," said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

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4:02 PM Eastern - Thursday, June 26, 2014

Commonsense Immigration Reform Respects Our Elders #retirement-security

Imagine contributing your hard-earned money into a retirement system all the while knowing that you'll never be able to access the program's benefits. Sounds unfair, right? But it's a sad reality for 72-year-old Ricardo Perez.

The California resident has paid into Social Security since migrating from Mexico in 1985. However, he'll never receive those benefits under our current immigration policies. These policies also prohibit undocumented workers from receiving Medicare, food stamps, subsidized housing or other public programs that hold deep poverty at bay for millions of senior citizens.

Because undocumented immigrants of all ages are twice as likely as the general population to live in poverty, elderly immigrants are less likely to have designated retirement savings. To survive, many of these seniors are left with little choice but to keep working low-wage, often physically demanding jobs--street vendor, cleaning houses or working as home caregivers--for the rest of their lives.

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Bonnie Senteno is an independent education consultant and single mom who lives with her son in San Francisco, CA. She also is one of the nearly 8 million Americans who recently signed up for lower-cost health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

"I got a plan that covers me and my son for about $80/month. It means that we'll be able to go from waiting in lines at clinics to getting to schedule appointments at doctor's offices, " she said. "It's also a lot of stress off of me and my son. I want him to know that if something happens, like if we need to call an ambulance, that we have insurance for something like that."

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