Archive for October, 2007

Caregivers File Lawsuits Against Employers Alleging Discrimination

Posted by on October 25th, 2007 at 12:56 pm | 2 Comments »

The number of lawsuits stemming from “family responsibilities discrimination,” or discrimination against employees who have family care-giving responsibilities at home, has increased by 400% in the last 10 years, according to the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, USA Today reports. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also has reported an “upsurge” in cases, many of which result in awards to plaintiffs, and recently has issued its first guidance for employers about the issue.

According to USA Today, the lawsuits — which usually involve workers who care for a child, elderly parent or spouse with a disability — “generally fall under three areas”:

  • Employees claiming an employer denied leave or retaliated against a worker for taking time off to care for a child, which is covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act;
  • Employees who allege employers violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act by denying workers accommodations to care for a relative with a disability; and
  • Employees who allege gender discrimination, such as women with young children who claim they are not given the same treatment as new fathers.

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DCA Small Grants Awards Announced today!

Posted by on October 12th, 2007 at 8:26 am | 1 Comment »

Small grants have been awarded to the Iowa Caregivers Association, Delaware Certified Nursing Assistants, The ARC of Mississippi and the Filipino Workers Association through a highly competitive request for proposal process. There were so many terrific proposals and we wish we could have funded several others. We hope unsuccessful applicants won’t be discouraged from applying again.

The grantees are:

Iowa Caregivers Association – They will develop and use a worker Leadership Council to recruit and retain association members.

Delaware Certified Nursing Assistants – This grantee will produce a video of certified nursing assistants in order to perform outreach through a newly developed association of direct care workers in Delaware. They are associated with the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants.

The Arc of Mississippi – This group will conduct 4 retreats for a total of 50 direct care workers and run a credentialing program of the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).

Filipino Worker Association of Los Angeles California – This grantee will sponsor a “Courage Congress” to gain new members focusing on Filipino direct care workers in Los Angeles.

DCA Board members in the Spotlight

Posted by on October 12th, 2007 at 8:15 am | Comments Off on DCA Board members in the Spotlight

Julie Bell is a state leader in Iowa as president of an AFSME Local for direct care workers. Julie Bell, in her role first as vice president, and then as president of her local union, has played a key role in organizing direct care workers, developing direct care workers as leaders, and raising the profile and voice of direct care workers. Julie Bell is also a direct care worker herself and she functions as a leadership model and mentor to her colleagues.

Clari Gilbert is currently the senior vice president of operations of Beth Abraham Family of Health Services. As a licensed nursing home administrator, she is responsible for approximately 1,200 nursing home beds, 1,500 home care clients and 6 adult day care centers with a combined budget of $175m.

Ms. Gilbert obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Long Island University and a masters degree in Nursing Administration from New York University. She is the co-author of a chapter in the Journal of Social Work in Long-Term Care (2003) titled “Culture Change in an Urban Environment.” She is a change agent and has presented at workshops and seminars on relevant topics including: “Certified Nurses Aides: Working in a Culture Change Environment,” “Governance in Culture Change,” and “The Path to Change.”

DCA Board of Directors Approves Home Care Worker Resolution

Posted by on October 12th, 2007 at 7:37 am | 1 Comment »

DCA board of directors unanimously approved a resolution to launch a campaign to ensure that home care workers receive the basic protections under our nation’s Fair Labor Standards Act.

Here’s the entire resolution:

September 27 2007


Direct Care Alliance

The Direct Care Alliance is a nationwide and state-based alliance of direct care workers, employers, and people of all ages and disabilities who use long-term services, care, and supports. We are united to build an empowered and valued professional direct care workforce, essential to ensuring high quality services, a life of dignity, respect, autonomy, and opportunity for all to participate in community life.

The Direct Care Alliance brings a unique perspective to the national long-term care dialogue through our conviction that:

• The intimate, interpersonal yet professional relationship between frontline direct care workers (home care aides, personal care attendants, personal assistants, nursing assistants, direct support professionals and others) and service users/consumers fundamentally determines the quality of care;
• Quality jobs that offer living wages, benefits, training and respectful working conditions are essential to the development of stable quality services and supports that truly satisfy consumer needs;
• The inter-dependence of consumers, workers and providers requires that any system change be sensitive to the needs of each group and include each group as they advocate for system change.

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Planned Follow-up Meeting Blossoms into National Movement

Posted by on October 1st, 2007 at 6:02 am | Comments Off on Planned Follow-up Meeting Blossoms into National Movement

Di findley and LeonilaA meeting initially conceived as a small gathering to follow up on a survey of direct-care worker associations blossomed into “a movement of passionate, caring activists whose mission is to reform the work place to ensure quality care through quality jobs.”

That’s how Leonila Vega, executive director of the Direct Care Alliance, describes the national conference her organization convened on August 15-17 in Des Moines, Iowa.

The conference was the start of a new era for the DCA, which is carving out a role as the catalyst that supports direct-care worker associations and coalitions as they grow, developing resources they can use and bringing them together to learn from each other.

Hosted by the Iowa CareGivers Association (ICA), the August conference was “a historic event,” says Vega. “Direct-care workers leaders and their supporters from 18 states got together, for the first time in history, to say for themselves how and what they are willing to do gain respect for the profession and fight for benefits and pay and so on.” Nearly 70 direct-care worker leaders and their supporters attended the two-day event. Continue reading »