Pima Chapter

Help PCOA for All, Inc., Attendant Care Workers Fight for Good Jobs

Send an email message to PCOA Board Members and ask them to do the right thing for quality care in Tucson.  Click here to send them your thoughts.

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SEIU Continues the Fight for PCOA For All Inc. Home Care Workers

Tucson Company Rejects Pay Increase for Home Care Workers – SEIU will Continue to Fight for Workers

On December 15, the PCOA For All Inc. Board of Directors rejected a proposal for home care workers to receive a 22 cent increase from $9.60 to $9.82 per hour. The company’s bargaining team, including the CEO, had recommended supporting the modest wage increase. Representatives have been bargaining since May 31 to secure a raise and improve the quality of care clients receive by providing additional training. The workers were formerly employed by Pima County and transitioned to PCOA for All at the end of 2010.

SEIU members met last week with the Pima County Board of Health who agreed to support an earlier union proposal for a 40 cents per hour increase and send a letter to the PCOA for All’s Board of Directors requesting that the board either approve the pay increase or provide a compelling reason why they can’t afford the raise.

“Although AHCCCS has cut rates to home care agencies, they still receive an average of $15 per hour for home care services provided,” said Tina Puckett, a long-time home care worker and a member of the bargaining committee. “There is money available to give us a modest raise that will reduce turnover and improve the quality of care that clients receive. We want to partner with PCOA for All to provide training, but we can’t partner with them if they are denying us this modest increase and the basic respect we deserve.”

The union bargaining team has already identified several areas in the company’s budget which could be used to fund this modest wage increase. Workers have not had a wage increase in over seven years. The company’s management enjoys an assortment of employer paid benefits that front-line workers who care for patients do not have.

Home care is the fastest growing occupation in the country and the need for home care workers will increase with aging baby boomers and continuing consumer and policy shifts to provide more home-based services versus more costly and less consumer friendly options. There are over 3,500 home care workers in Pima County. SEIU Arizona is committed to reaching out to help raise standards across the board with all home care agencies in Pima county.

SEIU represents nearly half a million home care workers nationwide and has developed extensive training programs and partnerships with public and private employers and other stakeholders to improve the quality of care, improve working conditions and enhance and preserve funding for home care programs.

For more information, contact Suguey Hernandez, SEIU Pima County Organizer, at 520-247-4617 or suguey.hernandez@seiu5az.org.

See the story on TucsonCitizen.com.

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Raise PCOA For All, Inc. Workers to $10 per hour! Pima BOH agrees…

Wearing stickers that simply said, “$10,” SEIU’s Pima County members, PCOA members, friends and allies, attended the Pima County Board of Heath meeting on December 8 to fight for a raise for PCOA For All, Inc. home care workers.  The workers have not had a raise in seven years.

SEIU Pima Chapter President, Maya Castillo and PCOA Bargaining Team spokesperson, Tina Puckett, asked that the the board provide a letter of support for the workers’ request for a raise to $10 per hour, and the same bargaining rights they had before they were transferred from Pima County’s employ to PCOA For All, Inc.

From The Arizona Daily Star: “The board unanimously supported the request, saying state contract money should go primarily to patient care.  The board’s letter will also tell PCOA for All that it would like to hear from the company if it has a compelling reason not to pay a wage increase.”

Read the full story in The Arizona Daily Star.





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SEIU Arizona members stand with members across the U.S. for the “National Day of Action!”

SEIU Arizona members stood together on the 15th Ave. Bridge over the Grand Canal on the National Day of Action! Pictured (left to right): Todd Schwarz, Sen. Steve Gallardo, Edwina Vogan, Arcelious Stephens, Tomas Pino and Mark Hardenburg.

SEIU Arizona members from Gilbert, Chandler and State Chapters joined allies here — and members across the nation — to declare an economic emergency for the 99% and tell Congress to support job-creating policies to repair America’s crumbling infrastructure.

Arizona members stood together on the 15th Ave. Bridge across the Grand Canal. This historic bridge in Phoenix is just one of 230 in Arizona that are structurally deficient. 

In communities across America SEIU members participated in bridge actions.  In New York City, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry was arrested, along with other community leaders and clergy.  See coverage of her arrest on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.”

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Pima Chapter President Maya Castillo wins Arizona Daily Star “40 Under 40” honors

SEIU members already know that Pima SEIU Chapter President Maya Castillo is an exceptionally effective leader.  Now, the Arizona Daily Star has recognized her, too, honoring Maya as one of Old Pueblo’s “40 Under 40.”  She was selected by a judging panel from 250 nominations, based on her professional accomplishments, leadership qualities and community impact.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be selected for the Arizona Daily Star’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2011,” Maya said.  “I really owe tremendous thanks to my wonderful family who allow me to put time and effort away from them and to my fellow SEIU Pima members (my other family) who work alongside with me to accomplish great things in a right-to-work state.”

Since her election as SEIU Chapter President in August, 2010, Maya has won several remarkable victories for Pima County employees.  Here are just a few highlights:

Faced with proposed increases in health insurance premiums and a two-year deal, Maya led members to fight back, asking the Pima Board of Supervisors for changes.  As a result, the Board agreed to pay 83.3% of the increased costs and revised the plan to one year, giving SEIU the opportunity to have a say in selection of the health care plan in the following year.

Next, Maya organized SEIU members and successfully petitioned the Board of Supervisors to approve a 1% raise for Pima County employees, to offset the increase in costs for the Arizona State Retirement System.  The raise was approved and workers received the raise starting July 1, 2011.

The community has benefited from Maya’s leadership, too, as she brings members together to volunteer for projects ranging from a Back-to-School drive for clothing and supplies, to the “Santa Cruz River Clean-up Day” and “Family Read Aloud Night” at the Santa Rosa Branch of the public library.

Maya has accomplished all this — and more — while working fulltime at the Santa Rosa Library and raising beautiful family.  Perhaps most amazing, Maya gave birth to her second child, Magdalena, on November 10, 2010.  Within a few hours, she had already sent her first message to let SEIU members know we had another fighter on the team!

Maya will be honored at the “40 Under 40” awards breakfast on October 6 at the Doubletree Hotel.

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Members take action for “Jobs Not Cuts!”

SEIU Arizona members joined other volunteers on Monday, October 10 to demonstrate the need for jobs to rebuild infrastructure in our state.

The rally was held on the historic bridge over the Grand Canal on 15th Ave., north of Indian School Rd.  The aging bridge was one of several structures in Arizona that are structurally deficient.

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Huge Victory! Judge Rules Against Arizona Anti-Union Bill!

When the Arizona legislature passed a bill discriminating against union members and challenging our rights to free speech, SEIU fought back and won a major victory for union members!

On Friday, September 23, a Federal District Court in Arizona issued a preliminary injunction against Arizona SB1365. The law prohibited employers from deducting union and professional organization dues that would be used for “political purposes.” Judge G. Murray Snow stated that by targeting only certain unions, the law was discriminatory and in violation of the First Amendment.

This is a huge victory for working people in Arizona, and a blow to anti-union forces that are using the legislature to undermine the fundamental rights of workers. SEIU members joined other unions, including the local affiliates of NEA, UFCW and AFSCME and made the case that the law was a direct assault on the First Amendment. The Judge agreed – he ruled that the entire law was unconstitutional.

Our fight will go on, because these politicians will continue their attacks on public services and the public employees who provide them. See the editorial SEIU Arizona State Director Don Carr wrote in May, alerting members to the lawsuits filed to stop the legislature’s unconstitutional bills from taking effect.

SEIU members will continue to stand together as we fight to preserve the merit system and protect workers from unfair discipline, prevent staff cuts, and provide appropriate staffing to get the jobs done without breaking workers’ backs.

Through SEIU, members are united with co-workers all around the state.  We are Stronger Together – and together we have the power to make positive changes for all Arizonans!

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