In the largest union election victory in Oregon's history, and the largest in the U.S. this year, SEIU Local 503 grew by over 12,000 workers today (Fri, Dec 14). The election produced an overwhelming 92% vote in favor of union representation by Oregon's Home Care workers. Overnight, Local 503 will jump from 25,000 to 37,000 workers represented, making the union one of the biggest in Oregon.
Home Care workers care for senior and disabled clients in the client's own home, saving Oregon literally billions of dollars which would otherwise be spent for nursing home care. Despite these savings, this important but difficult job pays only a little more than minimum wage with no benefits, and no paid holidays, vacations, or days off.
In 1997, Local 503 began to organize Home Care workers in a campaign that included passage of Measure 99, a constitutional amendment which established a right to quality Home Care services and provided Home Care workers with the right to belong to a Union for the first time.
The next step for Home Care workers will be to negotiate a contract with the newly formed Home Care Commission. Bargaining will probably begin in late January or early February.