Issue:Drivers Licenses for All
Why it Matters: Having the freedom to learn the rules of the road and earn a drivers license is an important part of being a full member of society. Being able to obtain a license is key to being able to engage as part of our community. With our current laws, undocumented families are not given this opportunity. All Minnesotans should have the ability to earn a drivers licenses without regard to immigration status.
Details/More Info: Minnesota immigrants explain why they support driver’s licenses for all
Issue:Funding for Long-Term Care Facilities
Why it Matters: Long-term care facilities deliver essential services for our aging population across the state, but without additional funding, they will be hard pressed to attract and retain workers to provide quality care to our growing senior population, especially in rural parts of our state. The new system should not promote a two-tiered workforce where housekeeping and dietary staff are treated significantly different from other caregivers. In addition, the new system should maintain protections that direct revenues to better wages/benefits and provide a strong worker voice in how those revenues are distributed.
Why it Matters:We are facing a crisis of retirement insecurity in our state and country, with nearly one million Minnesota workers having no retirement savings options through their employer, and of these, barely one in twenty save for retirement outside of work. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Minnesota households nearing or at retirement age (55+) have no retirement savings to speak of, and face the prospect of living in or near poverty on nothing but Social Security, or continuing to work indefinitely into their retirement years. Minnesota must do better for our workers who have spent a lifetime working hard and playing by the rules in the hopes that they might to be able to enjoy their retirement years.
Details/More Info: Fact Sheet on Minnesota Secure Choice Retirement Savings Act; AARP Fact Sheet
RAISING WAGES AND IMPROVING WORKPLACE STANDARDS
Issue:Labor Law Enforcement
Why it Matters: At a time when workers are increasingly falling behind and executive pay is at record high, it is more important than ever that we enforce the laws that are already on the books. This means pushing to improve, implement and make certain laws are being followed to prevent employer retaliation, wage theft and abuses around family and medical leave.
Issue:Earned Sick & Safe Time
Why it Matters: Minnesota families should not have to choose between taking care of their families health or making the money needed to put food on the table. When someone doesn’t have earned sick and safe time, they are forced to make this heartbreaking decision. In addition, many of the workers who lack sick time work are concentrated in the service industry, which means that if they have no choice but to work it can cause public health issues. Passing a bill for earned sick (for health issues) and safe (for issues like domestic violence) time will be a boost to thousands of working families in our state.
Why it Matters:Increasingly, corporations are using “flex scheduling” to increase their bottom line. This practice means workers don’t find out if they are working until the last minute, sometimes even after they show up for their shift. This causes undue hardship for those who need to arrange childcare, rely on public transportation and for the majority of workers in low-wage jobs who need to have a second or third job just to pay the bills. A fair scheduling law would call on employers to give their workers fair notice on when, and for how long, they will be working each shift.
Details/More Info: Airserv workers take on company’s ‘standby’ scheduling
PROTECTING AND EXPANDING OUR DEMOCRACY
Issue:Voting Rights Expansion
Why it Matters: Minnesota has a long and rich history as being at the top of the list for voter turnout, but we still have nearly half of the eligible voters stay home on Election Day 2014. There are ways to catch those who may not have voted, including early voting and vote by mail, which can ensure that as many Minnesotans as possible are taking part in our Democracy. We also have laws that continue to punish those who have committed a crime but are no longer incarcerated. Voting is an important part of our social fabric, and working to promote voting rights restoration for the tens of thousands of Minnesotans currently denied the right to vote will only serve to strengthen our communities and our state.
Details/More Info: Second Chance Coalition
My name is Linda and I live in Crosby, Minnesota. I have been a home care worker for over eight years, and I am part of a statewide movement of home care workers and clients who are working to get our first contract ratified by the State Legislature.
I know how important home care workers are to seniors and people with disabilities across Minnesota. One client I had for four years asked me to spend time with them when they were passing away from their illness. For another client I was able to save their life by being there when they went into a coma.
But home care work is much deeper than these exceptional moments. I’ve worked incredibly hard to ensure that people who otherwise would be in an institution were able to stay in their homes and have the dignity and comfort that they deserve.
I believe all of my clients would tell you I am great at what I do, but home care workers like myself face a constant struggle because of the low pay and lack of benefits. I love the work, but sometimes I don’t get to take care of my family or myself because I have to work so many hours just to make ends meet.
I’ve had clients that I’ve had to drive 40 miles, each way, to take care of without being reimbursed. When my husband was injured recently, we were stretched incredibly thin just to pay our bills. My fifteen year old son wants to go to drivers ed, but we can’t afford the classes.
I would like enough pay and a chance for retirement, so I don’t have to work until I’m 100. I’d like benefits like sick days so I can take care of my family if something happens. It is a scary situation to be one sickness or missed paycheck away from losing everything. I recently had knee surgery and was supposed to rest for 2 weeks, but because we needed the money, I went back to work after only three days.
This has to change.
That is why we believe that home care workers and the people we serve deserve to live the lives we choose.
That is why we fought at the Capitol in 2013 to have the chance to vote for a union, and why this last summer thousands of home care workers voted yes to joining SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. Now, we are negotiating a contract with the State and need the Minnesota Legislature to ratify our contract.
We’ve fought so hard to make this work more visable, but we need to get our first contract to begin seeing the changes we so desperately need in our field.
I don’t want any more home care workers to have to quit because of low pay and lack of benefits and stability, and I don’t want any more home care clients to have to suffer from the fear that the instability caused by these conditions could undercut the support they need to live independently.
Join me in urging our legislators to ratify a strong first contract so home care workers and the people we serve can live the lives we choose!