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Senseless Budget Cuts Will Gut California's Cost Efficient Home Care Program and Force Seniors and People with Disabilities Out of Their Homes and into Institutions
Date:5/26/2009

SEIU Launches Month of Protests, 48-Hour Vigil, Class Action Suit and Ad Campaign with Affected Californians, Families and Caregivers

LOS ANGELES and SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seniors, people with disabilities and the people who provide the care that permits them to live at home launched a statewide effort today to fight back against Governor Schwarzenegger's sharp and deep budget cuts with a 48-hour vigil at the State Capitol, a class-action lawsuit, and a new television and print ad campaign featuring President Barack Obama.

SEIU Ad Buy Features President, Affected Senior and Caregiver "When candidate Barack Obama spent a day with a home care worker in Oakland, he saw what every politician should see," says the voice over of an ad sponsored by the California members of SEIU. "For thousands of California's seniors and people with disabilities, caregivers like Pauline Beck are a lifeline -- allowing people to stay in their homes, while saving taxpayers money. So when Governor Schwarzenegger proposes slashing home care -- forcing seniors into nursing homes and caregivers into poverty -- he's not just being short-sighted, this governor doesn't see them at all."

The six-figure ad buy will begin airing on select cable stations in Los Angeles, Fresno and Sacramento this week to coincide with the President's visit to the state. The print ads will run in targeted markets during the same period.

Home Care Workers Kick Off 48-Hour Vigil

A 48-hour vigil begins today as home care workers from across the state arrive at the grounds of the State Capitol.

"What's wrong with our state leaders when a big oil company like Chevron gets huge tax breaks it doesn't need and at the same time seniors and people with disabilities could lose their homes and hard working home care providers are facing huge pay cuts that will force them into poverty?" said Ellen Rollins, a home care worker from Santa Clara County. "We've heard a lot in recent months about shared responsibility to solve the budget problem. Where's the shared responsibility in this?"

The vigil will include:

  • candlelight prayer circles on Tuesday night,
  • a rally and testimony by caregivers and people who are able to remain at home because of the homecare services they receive on Wednesday afternoon, and
  • a mass to be celebrated Wednesday night.

SEIU Files a Class-Action Lawsuit

Also today SEIU filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, seeking a preliminary junction to stop the State of California and Fresno County from slashing the wages of homecare workers to near poverty levels and from to reducing the hours of care seniors and people with disabilities receive from going into effect. The suit, brought on behalf of individual consumers and SEIU, charges that the planned cuts put seniors and people with disabilities at risk and violate the American with Disabilities Act and Federal Medicaid Law.

MEDIA NOTE: BACKGROUND & LINKS

Governor Schwarzenegger's current proposed budget cuts would slash homecare workers' wages to just $8.00 an hour, a sharper reduction than the deep cuts already passed by the California Legislature in February. Wage cuts at any level will force thousands of homecare providers to leave their employment to seek living-wage jobs, forcing their clients to enter nursing homes or other residential institutions. Any net savings claimed by the State will quickly be dwarfed by the increased costs of institutional care -- which by conservative estimates is four times more expensive to the State.

To view the SEIU ad produced by See-Change Media, please see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3T0HPm2c-k.

To learn more about SEIU's Walk a Day in My Shoes program and to see President Barack Obama spend the day as a California homecare worker: http://www.walkadayinmyshoes2008.com/obama-and-beck/


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SOURCE Service Employees International Union
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