Independent Contractors

Homecare workers win $15 and consumers win quality care improvements!

Our member-elected, member-run homecare bargaining team has made history by winning a path to $15 for over 20,000 Oregon Homecare workers!

Workers’ current base wage of $13.75 will increase to $14.00 January 1, 2016 and then $14.50 February 1, 2017—and workers who complete seven employer-paid training classes with first aid and CPR will also receive a $0.50/hr training certification differential (see below for more details).

This historic victory belongs to all of us. In 1999, Oregon Homecare workers had no union, no voice on the job, and no ability to make a living. Many of us earned less than minimum wage. We were considered “domestic servants.” Sixteen short years and lots of collective action later, our work is coming out of the shadows. Our consumers have increased support to live their lives with dignity and autonomy, and we workers can survive and provide for our families.

These huge victories have made us the target of some out-of-state, anti-public-services groups like the Freedom Foundation. They are trying to weaken our union by encouraging care providers to drop their membership, but homecare workers are showing them that we know better. If this historic win has showed us anything, it’s that our strength is our membership, and through our strength, we can move mountains!

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CONTRACT SETTLEMENT DETAILS

Fair Wages to Recruit and Retain Quality Providers

  • Four year contract July 1, 2015- June 30, 2019, with a wage reopener in 2017.
  • The base rate will increase from $13.75 to $14.00 effective January 1, 2016.
  • The base rate will again increase to $14.50, effective February 1, 2017.
  • Providers making above $13.75/hr will receive 1% COLAs January 1, 2016 and February 1, 2017. This is a huge win considering the State’s initial proposal was to cut these providers down to base rate.
  • New Training Certification Differential that’s $0.50/hr effective January 1, 2017.

Fair Labor Standards Act

  • All Hours Worked- APD live-in providers will be paid for at least 16 hours a day starting in January 2016. APD Live-in providers are currently only paid an average of 9 hours a day.
  • State minimum wage- Many APD live-in providers have been making an average wage that is less than state minimum wage. Starting January 1, 2016 all APD live-in providers make at least state minimum wage.
  • Hours Cap- The State wanted to establish a cap limiting the total number of hours a provider can work per week. We were not going to agree to any type of worker hours cap until the State also has to implement overtime. The State agreed to back off of their weekly hours cap proposal until the overtime requirement is resolved in the courts.
  • Paid Travel Time- Starting January 1, 2016 providers can be paid for their travel time directly between clients at the base rate.

Fair Shot Legislative Wins

  • We helped pass House Bill 2960 which sets-up up a new state retirement option that will allow providers to have a secure way to save for retirement. The plan will be operational in 2017.
  • We also helped pass Senate Bill 454 which expands the Paid Time-Off benefit to 5 days a year for qualifying hourly workers.

Payroll System Changes

  • The State wanted to require all providers to use the online timesheet system immediately. We were able to get this requirement delayed until July 2016 to give more time for training.
  • Knowing that not all providers have access to the internet, we won language that workers without access to the internet continue to have a way to submit paper timesheets.

A Stronger Voice for Providers to Advocate for Quality

  • Advocating for Consumer Services- we protected language in our contract that guarantees consumer services/hours will not be reduced as a result of improvements won for providers.

Rights & Respect

  • Issues Committee- We created a Joint Issues Committee for Homecare and Personal Support Workers.
  • Worker Credentials- Providers will be better notified in advance of when they need to renew their background check or Provider Enrollment Agreement including a 120 and 60 day reminder.
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Homecare worker bargaining update: Getting closer to a contract

Together, members of our union are standing strong! We’re on the cusp of winning some of the strongest wages and benefits for care providers in the country.

Yesterday our team was in bargaining with the State until 3am for the third week in a row. We’re committed to a fair contract, even if that means going late into the night—or whatever it takes to win improvements for providers and the people we serve.

Our hard work and dedication is paying off. Yesterday, the State formally counter-proposed increasing our base wage to $14.50 over the next two years. This is a huge step forward in winning a living wage for all providers—but our work isn’t done and we’re not stopping. Our union is still fighting for $15/hour by June 2017. In addition, we’re still working though State-proposed changes to our payroll system to make sure we have access to timely pay and a streamlined process.

Just a mile away from where our bargaining team was working hard and making progress toward one of the best homecare contracts in the nation, the out-of-state, out-of-touch Freedom Foundation was holding a press conference about how they plan to move into Oregon and attack our union.

They’re coming after us with lawsuits and money from a couple of out-of-state, far-right conservative donors. On the other hand, we Oregon homecare workers are coming together in the tens of thousands to stand up for ourselves and our consumers. There’s power in numbers, and we’re not about to let a handful of out-of-state lawyers try to take away from what we have accomplished together through our union!

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for August 26th. Stay tuned for more details on our fight to win a historic contract.

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Homecare bargaining update: On the brink of a huge victory

18772591978_2dd2e606a5_kYour member-elected SEIU 503 bargaining team was at the table until 4am on Monday pushing for a fair contract that protects services for clients and lifts wages for providers.

We have secured legislative funding to protect and expand services and hours for the people we serve—and we believe that we are now on the brink of winning a path to $15 per hour for care providers. This would be a historic victory on top of the gains we’ve already won this year, including improving the Paid Time-Off benefit and access to a retirement savings plan.

The fact that we’re so close to this historic win has caught the attention of out-of-state special interests that will do anything they can to undercut our work. The Freedom Foundation, a multi-million dollar anti-union and anti-public service worker pressure group, has been taking out newspaper and radio ads, and recently started spam mailing homecare workers, asking workers to drop our membership. Click here to learn more about the Freedom Foundation’s actions in Washington State.

Why would they do this? The Freedom Foundation operatives have a long track record of undermining public leaders and workers who believe in vital public services. They want to destroy our union because they have seen that when we join our voices and resources together, we have been incredibly effective at improving and expanding services.

They claim you have nothing to lose by resigning your membership. The truth is, you have everything to lose. It’s easy to forget how about a decade ago many providers were paid less than minimum wage. We and those we care for were without a voice in the Legislature. In union, we’ve raised base wages to $13.75; we’ve protected dignity, autonomy, and choice for our consumers. Through our union, we’ve won benefits like healthcare, paid time off, and professional development—and it’s all happened because workers like us have chosen to join together in our union.

Our next bargaining session is August 4. Stay tuned as we continue to work hard together to finish up our bargaining work.

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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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