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Caring for AmericaHome Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State$
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Eileen Boris and Jennifer Klein

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195329117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329117.001.0001

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“We Were the Invisible Workforce”

“We Were the Invisible Workforce”

Chapter:
(p.183) 7 “We Were the Invisible Workforce”
Source:
Caring for America
Author(s):

Eileen Boris

Jennifer Klein

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329117.003.0007

This chapter discusses SEIU’s massive Los Angeles victory in 1999 in light of the Americans with Disability Act, welfare reform, Clinton’s health care debacle, and managed care. In California, the union assembled all the components necessary for success when it built alliances, especially with the independent living centers, stepped outside the NLRB framework, organized tens of thousands of workers, and created new institutional state structures, particularly the public authority, that enabled union representation on a sectoral, rather than worksite, basis. As in Illinois, home care unionism in Los Angeles was really welfare state unionism beholden to the location of home-based, long-term care in government welfare programs. But, in Northern California, SEIU advanced a health care unionism that organized home-based workers with hospital workers. There a culture of organizing, use of worker centers and popular education, and development of member leaders and rank-and-file participation enhanced citizenship rights for immigrants as well as African Americans. SEIU adapted its model to Oregon, where voters authorized collective bargaining. At the end of the 20th century, home care promised a non-adversarial unionism that joined the providers and receivers of care together to demand respect, recognition, and rights, but remained dependent on state budgets.

Keywords:   In-Home Supportive Services 9IHSS), SEIU, Independent Living Centers, Los Angeles Labor movement, worker centers, public authority, welfare reform, managed care, immigrant workers, disability activism

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