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Caregivers Demand County Honor Their Contract
Date:10/10/2007

Yuba Homecare Workers File Challenge to Protect Health Benefit

MARYSVILLE, Calif., Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Yuba County homecare workers held a press conference Wednesday to announce the filing of a formal grievance over the county's refusal to honor the contract it negotiated with the caregivers earlier this year.

Because of the county's unwillingness to abide by its own contract, workers caring for residents who are elderly or have disabilities must play a waiting game with their own health-hoping that they remain healthy for long enough to sit out the county's obstinacy, which is delaying coverage.

"I suffer from skin cancer, and I have put off blood tests that I need done because I can't afford them," said Pat Berry, a homecare worker from Olivehurst. "I've waited five months now to go to a doctor for another treatment. The county needs to respect the contract that we bargained and fund our healthcare."

The grievance stems from the county's decision not to fund the "umbrella" benefit of the contract, which went into effect in July for caregivers represented by SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West. The umbrella benefit is a defined amount of funding set aside for workers' healthcare costs above and beyond what their health plan covers.

County officials were fully aware of the umbrella benefit when they negotiated and approved the contract earlier this year. Workers represented by UHW have bargained similar benefits in several other California counties- including Kings, Nevada, Plumas, San Luis Obispo, Sierra, Solano and Tulare.

Filing a formal grievance is one step toward resolving the issue, as outlined in the caregivers' contract. If the grievance is not resolved through administrative means at the county level, it could eventually go to an outside arbitration hearing.

The 145,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents
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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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