Issues

Health Care

COPA–Resurrection, SEIU team up to prevent wage cuts to home health care workers

County budget cuts were threatening a 10% pay cut to home health care workers, many who are like Sylvia Lucas, a Resurrection parishioner and member of SEIU, who along with husband Joe Lucas, provide care to their adult son Michael, paralyzed by an injury accident. When fellow Resurrection parish COPA core team members learned of the potential cut of Sylvia’s pay from $11.50/hr to $10.35/hr, they joined Michael and his family in organizing a petition drive and leading actions with the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors in support of the SEIU United Long Term Care Workers efforts for a living wage for people who care for the elderly and disabled in their homes.  Resurrection teamed with SEIU and collected 400 signatures while Michael collected an additional 400 from the disability community. Joint teams of SEIU and COPA leaders met with Supervisors and testified at public hearings. Finally, after a year and a half of negotiations, the Board of Supervisors agreed to maintain wages at current levels of $11.50/hr and provide additional worker protections.

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COPA’s Health Care Strategy

COPA is currently working on a campaign titled “Stand Up and Take Charge.” This campaign includes a broad agenda of six issue areas including Affordable Housing, Community Health, Community Safety Economic Opportunity, Immigration and Education. This agenda was committed to and ratified by a mix of 24 institutions including six Catholic parishes. These 24 institutions comprise COPA’s membership. The specific work around Community Health focuses on three areas:

  1. Signing up children for free or reduced cost health insurance. There are an estimated 13,000 children in Monterey and Santa Cruz who are eligible but not currently enrolled in health insurance programs.
  2. Finding strategies with agricultural industry and affected areas facing groundwater contamination.
  3. Protecting the wages and hours of service of in-home health care workers.

Health Care Strategy Team Leaders:

Kathy Ruiz Goldenkranz, Temple Beth El
Kathy Belle Barlow, St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church
Cindy Valdez, SEIU
Sandra Willey, Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center
Dan Oliveri, Resurrection Catholic Community
Randy Pozos, Resurrection Catholic Community

Accomplishments

  • In 2008, the COPA Health Care Team worked with County Supervisors to restore more than $1.2 million in proposed cuts to social services in Santa Cruz County due to the state budget shortfall. COPA collaborated with Supervisors to find local monies to lessen the impact.
  • In 2009, piloted a Children’s Healthcare Enrollment event in partnership with Poder Popular, St. Theodore’s Catholic Church in Gonzales and the Monterey County Department of Social Services to increase access to the Healthy Families program.

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