Independent Contractors

Homecare funding is under attack

In the last few weeks, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that we are facing a $140 million shortfall in funding services. Unless legislators act, our consumers could face significant cuts in services.

SEIU members have been working hard to stop the cuts. From taking time to share personal stories with their legislators to speaking out at regional hearings, SEIU members are making the difference by highlighting common-sense ways to both protect funding for our services and to balance the state budget. We have from now until the end of June to convince state legislators to make the right decisions for our consumers and our communities!

Key concerns:

1.      $140 Million in cuts to services. We need to make sure we do everything we can to stop cuts and continue investing in seniors and people with disabilities.
2.      50 hour-per-week cap. DHS is proposing significant changes to the live-in program and a weekly hour limit for workers. This change could have very bad consequences for high-need consumers, and could seriously impact families’ ability to find quality care providers.
3.      Wages and benefits. Currently, DHS is proposing no new investment for cost-of-living increases for wages or benefits, as well as an up-to 40 percent rate cut for providers known as “independent contractors” and “job coaches.” We can’t fall backward, and we need to recruit and retain quality care providers! We sent a clear message that this regressive proposal is unfair and wrong. For more information on bargaining, click here to view a side-by-side comparison of opening proposals.

We need your help if we want to both protect services for our consumers and invest in workers. Click here to learn how you can help support our efforts.

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Homecare worker bargaining: Opening proposals

The chart below shows the opening proposals for each side. Our goals are to raise standards for workers and to protect access to services for our consumers!

SEIU PROPOSAL STATE PROPOSAL
Wages to recruit and retain quality providers
  • Base rate: We are pushing for a pathway to $15 per hour by the end of the contract.
  • We are proposing fair cost-of-living increases for all providers already earning above $13.75 per hour.
  • Wage freeze for the majority of providers.
  • The State proposed up to a 40 percent rate cut for providers known as “Independent Contractors” and “Job Coaches.” We sent a clear message that this regressive proposal is unfair and wrong.
Fair Labor Standards With the extension of the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover homecare workers, our team proposed:

  • Overtime for all hours worked above 40 per week.
  • Paid travel time between consumers’ homes.
  • Health and safety hour limitations: Any hourly worker hired after July 1, 2015, can work no more than 60 hours per week.
  • The State proposed a 50 hour-per-week cap for workers (except for APD live-in providers). This is concerning given the workforce shortages our state is facing.
  • No proposal to pay overtime, despite putting forward a weekly hour cap.
Retirement security Proposing the State set up a new voluntary retirement plan to give providers a secure way to save for retirement. The State has not yet responded to our proposal.
Paid time off We have proposed expanding the Paid Time Off benefit to five days a year for qualified hourly workers. The State has not yet responded to our proposal.
Hold bad employers accountable
When large corporations pay their workers poverty wages and no benefits, Oregon taxpayers foot the bill. The State should make these corporations pay their fair share, so more of our state revenue can go toward funding services and less toward subsidizing big corporations. The State has not yet responded to our proposal.

 

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Homecare workers: Tell us why retirement security matters

SEIU 503 homecare workers provide critical services for senior and people with disabilities, but many have no pathway to retirement. This means many care providers are at risk of living in poverty at retirement – unable to cover basic living and medical expenses.

One of our top priorities for Homecare bargaining this year is to win access to retirement savings system. There are currently two bills moving through the Legislature (House Bill 2960 and Senate Bill 621) that would create the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan. This would be an automatic, portable and secure way for all Oregonians to save the money they earn.

At our most recent bargaining session with the State we proposed that if either of these legislative bills become law, that Homecare workers should have the ability to participate in this new savings plan through automatic payroll deductions.

What can you do to help? We need workers like you to share your story about why having access to a retirement savings plan is important to you. We need to make sure that Legislators hear from voters like you about why they should support House Bill 2960 and Senate Bill 621.

Click here to share your story about why access to Retirement Security for Homecare Workers is important!

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Update for PSW Independent Contractors

Update regarding work done coming out of the PSW-Independent Contractor Workgroup:

This workgroup came out of our 2013-2015 contract with the charge of making recommendations on requirements and certification for PSW Independent Contractors (PSW-ICs).  The workgroup members included PSW-ICs, representatives of ODDS, OHCC, brokerages and other stakeholders.

During the workgroup, brokerage representatives shared that they were no longer qualifying new PSW-ICs due to liability concerns because some PSW-ICs successfully filed and won unemployment claims. This issue had existed prior to providers joining SEIU, but has been amplified by all of the great gains we’ve made like protecting rates from big cuts, access to health insurance, paid time off and more. We wanted to avoid a situation where the pool of workers shrunk over time and became irrelevant.

Due to the concerns around liability and not qualifying new PSW-ICs, the workgroup spent a lot of time reviewing the various definitions of an Independent Contractor to see if it still correctly applied. Many members of the workgroup felt that PSW-ICs didn’t correctly fit the definition of an Independent Contractor. Our main concern was what would happen if all current PSW-ICs were re-qualified. If they didn’t fit the legal definition of an IC, what would that mean?

Our primary goals in the workgroup were to make sure the important work done by PSW-ICs was protected, and valued as an important service with fair compensation. Instead of focusing on the definition of an IC, which most providers may not meet, we suggested exploring a new provider/worker classification. Something akin to a Skills Development Specialist. The other option for people who wouldn’t want to fall under this new classification is getting access to resources and support to explore becoming a Provider Organization (Click for full workgroup report)

At this point the workgroup report is only a recommendation for the upcoming bargaining and any changes would have to be negotiated. So nothing could change until that process is complete. Over the past few weeks your bargaining team has been reviewing the report and thinking through next steps, including having an opportunity to hear from you. We will be holding a meeting the last week of March (time/location will come in a follow-up email). In the mean time, if you have questions please contact coombesk@seiu503.org.

 

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Member Benefits

Important Notice for Homecare Workers

Administration of the Oregon Homecare Workers Supplemental and Benefits Trust to change on May 1, 2014.

Starting May 1, 2014, Benefit Solutions, Inc. (BSI) will be responsible for handling and processing all premium payments and member reimbursement payments for the Oregon Homecare Workers Trusts.

Should you need to contract BSI directly:

Phone: 844-507-7554
Email: OHCWT@bsitpa.com
Fax: 866-459-4623
Mail: P.O. Box 6, Mukilteo, Washington 98275

 

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Important information from your Homecare Workers Supplemental Trust

Dear Homecare or Personal Support Worker,
We received notice that Kaiser Permanente sent invoices to Oregon Exchange members who had never received invoices or only a portion of their invoices in 2014.
You may have received in the mail a premium bill from Kaiser asking for payment, potentially in error.
If you have received a premium bill and you are a Trust eligible homecare or personal support worker that was enrolled individually through Cover Oregon into the Kaiser Silver Plan with no family members on your plan, you can ignore this bill.
If you have any questions as to whether or not you are Trust eligible, please contact the Trust office at ohcwt@bsitpa.com or 1-844-507-7554 Option 3, Option 2.
Kaiser will also be reaching out to you to confirm this information in the near future.
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Important Message About DD System Changes and PSW Payments

Personal Support Workers:

Below is the email that DD Services recently sent out regarding the movement to a centralized payroll starting in July.  We wanted to share it with Personal Support Workers in case you didn’t receive it.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: BAXTER Patricia E <patricia.e.baxter@state.or.us>
Date: Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:32 AM
Subject: Important Message About DD System Changes and PSW Payments
To: BAXTER Patricia E <patricia.e.baxter@state.or.us>
Dear Personal Support Worker,

As you know, our state is making a number of changes throughout the programs supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  These changes are needed to be in compliance with federal regulations and our collective bargaining agreement, as well as to improve service delivery.  The Department of Human Services has been working collaboratively with SEIU, Brokerages, Community Developmental Disability Programs (CDDP), providers and other advocates in making sure these changes do not negatively impact the people we serve or our workers.

The most immediate and direct change, coming up on July 1, is how you will be paid.  Beginning in July, we are moving to a centralized state payment system, with TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services, Inc., with common payroll dates twice a month.  This is going to help streamline eligibility for medical, dental and vision benefits.  As we have previously communicated, there is a delay to other program changes, specifically around the Plan of Care functionality in eXPRS. We will be sharing more information around those timelines as it becomes available.

You may have recently been contacted by the CDDP and/or brokerage that you work with to complete information required for the transition to TNT Fiscal Intermediary Services for the purpose of processing payroll on July 1. Please complete and return any paperwork you have been provided so that we can ensure you are paid timely. Once you have completed and submitted your paperwork you have nothing else to worry about – TNT will contact you, through your CDDP or brokerage, should additional information be needed. TNT has indicated that if paperwork is delayed, they will still do everything in their power to ensure timely payments, even to the point of running an extra payroll cycle if needed. It is important to us that you are paid accurately and timely. You will need to sign a new direct deposit form if you chose direct deposit.  This form was included in the information you received from your CDDP or brokerage. If you need another copy of the form, please contact the CDDP or brokerage, or you can contact TNT directly at (503) 463-0134.

In accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, beginning with services provided after July 1, 2014, claims for payment should be submitted to the Brokerage or CDDP no later than three (3) business days (excluding Oregon and Federal holidays) before the eighth (8th) and/or the twenty-third (23rd) of each month.  You will be paid three (3) business days (excluding Oregon and Federal holidays) after the eighth (8th) and/or the twenty-third (23rd) of each month.  Click here to see the full details http://www.seiu503.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/10/files/2014/03/SEIU-OHCC-2013-2015-Collective-Bargaining-Agreement-FINAL-SIGNED-COVER-LETTER.pdf. Payment for June or earlier services will be paid in accordance with current practice.

If you have questions regarding this transition, please contact your CDDP, Brokerage, or TNT. Be watching for additional information over the next couple of weeks, including a calendar outlining payment dates, options for payment, and other information for your reference.

Trisha Baxter, Interim DD Program Director
Chief Operating Officer
Aging and Disability Programs
Department of Human Services
500 Summer Street NE
Salem, OR 97301

503-945-5858 (desk)
503-580-7853 (cell)

 

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SEIU 503 response to Harris v. Quinn

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We’re on the move! Sign up for the SEIU Local 503 Campaign to Build Voter Power

This summer, SEIU care providers will once again take the state by storm! From Bend to Lincoln City and Eugene to Medford, care providers are planning to reach out to fellow workers to sign them up for membership, build political power through our union’s political fund (CAPE), register voters in key legislative districts, and invite them to volunteer with our union. In 2012, 39 member leaders participated in the blitzes, and together we knocked on 2,011 doors, signed up 254 new members and 202 CAPE contributors, and registered 92 new voters through weekend visits to communities across the state.

Will you join us? Whether you can come out for the whole weekend or just devote a day or a few hours, it all makes a big difference. We’ll feed you, train you and pair you up with someone who has knocked on doors before. Lodging provided for folks traveling more than 75 miles. Blitzes scheduled throughout the state on weekends: Fridays and Saturdays, 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Register here to participate: http://seiu503.seiu.org/page/s/2014blitz

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Homecare contract ratified!

We are thrilled to announce that, with overwhelming support, SEIU 503 homecare members have ratified the tentative agreement for our 2013-2015 union contract. Thank you to all of the providers who became members, lobbied, testified, phone banked, wrote letters, rallied and reached out to fellow Homecare Workers. Together we made history!

We hope you share the excitement we feel in these substantial improvements to our contract! But our work doesn’t end with this new contract—in fact, it’s just the beginning. We are going to be working to build a stronger union so we can continue to advocate for quality services.

These wins are not accomplished easily, and the next few years will continue to challenge us. We need to fight for a more stable state budget that will allow for the continued investment in vital services. On the 2014 ballot, anti-union forces are putting forward measures that, if passed, would weaken our collective voice. As we navigate these challenges and prepare for contract negotiations in 2015, we must maintain the great spirit of solidarity—with each other, our consumers, and all Oregonians. This is what propelled us to win today. This is what will drive us to victories in the future.

We won raises and heath coverage now because we invested in our political strength last year, and elected a pro-worker legislature in 2012. To win in the future, we’ll need to do more of the same. Click here to invest in our political strength by making a contribution to CAPE, our member-driven political action fund.

If you have questions or want to be involved please contact SEIU 503 at 800-452-2146 or visit www.seiu503.org!

In it Together!

Your Homecare Bargaining Team,

Rebecca Sandoval, Medford
Megan Adkins, Portland
Chuck Wynns, Salem
Laurann Kealiher, Portland
Carol Conlon, Grants Pass
James Parker, Scio
LJ Denney, Camas Valley
Eileen Ordway, Springfield
Robert “Drake” Ewbank, Springfield
Patricia Lawrence, Sandy
Rose Rogers, Coos Bay
Joy’e Willman, Portland
Penny Wicklander, Pendleton
Phyllis Wills, Hillsboro
Alice Redding, Rainier
Annie Smith, Portland
Carolynn Kohout, Hillsboro
Adam Riggs, Eugene
Annie Smith, Portland
Bobbie Sotin, North Bend
Sally Cumberworth, Cave Junction
Rachel Hansen, SEIU Staff
Jereme Grzybowski, SEIU Staff

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