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Union Members Testify at Budget Hearing, Call on General Assembly to Fix Worst State for Working People Designation 

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From Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 512 President David Broder:

Union Members Testify at Budget Hearing, Call on General Assembly to Fix Worst State for Working People Designation 

Dedicated union members, including home care providers, nurses and social workers, testified before members of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees today, calling on the General Assembly to fix Virginia’s designation as the work state in the nation for working people.

“I came last year to ask you to do everything you could to pass Medicaid Expansion and I’m back today to say thank you. Thanks to your leadership, my colleagues and I will be able to see more people at work who come to us for help with their mental health challenges,” said Loudoun County nurse and SEIU Virginia 512 member Patti Nelson. “I’m also here today, however, because our work is not yet done to make Virginia a place where everyone can thrive.”

In 2018, a landmark Oxfam study found that Virginia is the worst state to work in the nation, based on low wages and the lack of worker protections and benefits.

“Virginia may be the worst state for workers right now, but together, we can fix this,” testified Fairfax County social workerTammie Wondong. “Let’s fund vital local government services, raise the minimum wage to $15, strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit, and ensure paid leave, retirement security and affordable health care for all people. That way we can make Virginia the best place for working people.”

“All Virginians deserve Quality Home Care,” testified home care provider Jim Vollmer from Herndon, who cares for his niece who has cerebral palsy. “However, people like my niece can’t get the care they need because home care providers make poverty wages and lack basic benefits and even access to an orientation program or training. Let’s fix this by passing the Home Care Bill of Rights.’

SEIU will continue to advocate to make Virginia the best state for working people. Union members, family and friends will testify before the Fairfax and Prince William delegations on Saturday, and will advocate throughout the General Assembly session in Richmond.

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SEIU Virginia 512 represents home care providers across the commonwealth, and county employees in Fairfax and Loudoun. United by a belief in the dignity of work, SEIU Virginia 512 members advocate for policies and budgets which improve the lives of all working Virginians.  

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2019 Legislative Priorities

In order to build a Commonwealth where every working person has the opportunity to thrive, and where everyone’s rights are respected, the members of SEIU Virginia 512 present the following legislative priorities.  

  1. Quality Jobs

All Virginians deserve access to a quality job with living wages and benefits. We call on the General Assembly to:

  • Do everything in their power to raise wages for all, including raising the minimum wage to $15 and indexing it to inflation;
  • Ensure that all working Virginians have access to paid leave, quality healthcare and retirement benefits;
  • Remove unnecessary restrictions on workers who want to unite together in a union;
  • Make the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) fully refundable.

II. Quality Healthcare

All Virginians deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare.

We call on the General Assembly to:

  • Ensure universal health care access for all Virginians;
  • Lower health care costs for working families and small businesses;
  • Invest in mental health services.

III. Quality Home Care

All Virginians deserve access to quality home care, and all home care providers deserve quality jobs. We call on the General Assembly to:

  • Enact the Home Care Bill of Rights;
  • Ensure quality home care so that older adults and people with disabilities can live with dignity in the community;
  • provide a living wage, paid sick days, healthcare, overtime pay and an in-person orientation for home care providers.

IV. Quality Public Services

All Virginians deserve access to quality public services in their community, and all public employees deserve quality jobs. We call on the General Assembly to:

  • Fully fund local public services;
  • Protect and expand public employee retirement benefits;
  • Ensure that corporations pay their fair share in state taxes for the public services they rely on.

V. Opportunities for Working Families

All Virginians deserve the opportunity for a brighter future. We call on the General Assembly to ensure working families have access to:

  • Affordable, quality child care;
  • Universal pre-K education;
  • Affordable, quality higher education;
  • Student loan debt reform;
  • Clean air and drinking water, and more.

VI. Democracy for All

All Virginians deserve the right to vote and to fully participate in their democracy. We call on the General Assembly to:

  • Pass automatic voting rights restoration;
  • Repeal photo ID laws and other restrictions on the right to vote;
  • Allow for early voting and same-day registration.

SEIU Virginia 512 members are Medicaid Home Care providers across Virginia, and county employees in Fairfax and Loudoun. United by a belief in the dignity of work, SEIU Virginia 512 members advocate for laws, budgets and worksite policies which support the commonwealth’s working families. For more information, please contact us at 571-432-0209 or info@seiuva.org