Welcome to the PCA Workforce Council Website!
New Leadership For The Council
Assistant Secretary Rosalie Edes
In January, Christine Griffin, Council Chair and Assistant Secretary for Disability Policies and Programs at the Executive Office of Health & Human Services, announced she was leaving her position to become Executive Director of the Disability Law Center. In March, she was replaced by Rosalie Edes, who is both the new Assistant Secretary and the new Chair of the Council.
Edes served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Policies and Programs since 2009. During this time, she has worked closely with the leadership teams of all the disability agencies in the state on policy and program development and coordinating long term care, rehabilitation and employment services. She has been a key player in the development of the community based Medicaid waiver programs, has advanced family support initiatives, transition planning for young adults and the work of the statewide Autism Commission.
“The PCA program permits thousands of individuals to lead active lives in their own communities”, said Assistant Secretary Edes, “The Council plays an important role in strengthening the PCA program and I look forward to working with members of the Council to continue this critical work.”
MEDIATION: A NEW TOOL FOR CONSUMERS and PCAs
Brazilian Immigrant Center Reaches Out To Help
In her work as Director of the legal clinic at the Brazilian Immigrant Center, Lydia Edwards has talked to a wide range of people with legal problems. Many of the most frustrating issues came from domestic workers: nannies, housekeepers and others who worked in and sometimes lived in their employers’ homes. The complaints ranged from wage issues, working conditions, harassment and a lack of respect for the work they performed.
Although Attorney Edwards knew that the court system could address some of these issues, she believed what would be most useful would be a system involving the workers and employers themselves as part of the solution. From this belief the Center’s Domestic Worker/Employed Mediation Project emerged. “This mediation program is designed by workers and families for workers and families”, said Attorney Edwards. This project helps both workers and employers to resolve conflicts with a positive outcome for both sides. This goal is helped by the fact that the teams of trained mediators assigned to each case are workers and employers themselves.
Consumers and Pcas
The Center is now reaching out to the consumer/employer population and the PCA workforce. The Center wants to assist in the resolution of existing disputes and wants to recruit consumers and PCAs for training as mediators. Training in how to be a neutral mediator consistent with professional mediation standards is provided through a thirty hour program that is specially designed for these workers and their employers by the Community Dispute Settlement Center in Cambridge. One participant said of the course, “I didn’t just learn about mediation, I learned incredible life skills that help me to this day.”
“We are proud of having a program that is private, flexible and diverse”, said Attorney Edwards. “We believe this approach has a lot to offer the consumer and PCA communities.” To date the project has graduated two classes totaling thirty-three mediators, including one consumer and two PCAs. In order to obtain further information on training to be a mediator or using the project to resolve an existing dispute, you can call 617 783 8001 ext. 107 or email email@example.com.
THE 2013 PAUL KAHN AWARDS FOR PCA SERVICE & PCA EDUCATION DAY
WILL BE HELD ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9 at 1 p.m.
LOCATION: GRAND STAIRCASE at the STATE HOUSE
The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 7, 2013.
To nominate a PCA for the award, please click on the link below.
FREE PCA Training Fund Classes Are Here!
Starting this past October, thanks to 1199SEIU and the PCA Workforce Council, PCAs around the state will have the opportunity to take a number of exciting classes in the follow topics:
- Adult First Aid/CPR/Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
You will receive a certificate for Standard First Aid with CPR/AED (Adult) which is valid for two years.
- Universal Precautions Training
This training course is designed for workers at risk for on-the-job exposure to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection. Certification is valid for one year.
- Basic Computer Skills
Get to know your way around a computer and learn Basic Microsoft skills – this hands-on course will teach you to properly log on and off a computer, create, open, edit and save documents, navigate the web and create email accounts. Geared to the beginner!
Please call 1-877- 409-8283 dial 8 for course dates and locations.
Space is limited and you must register in advance!
Third Annual Paul Kahn Awards Presented
The main theme during the presentation of the 2012 Paul Kahn awards for PCA service was bonding. Bonding between PCAs and the consumers who employ them, bonding between the Council and 1199SEIU on development of the PCA workforce and bonding between the five award winners and the greater PCA community.
This year’s event was hosted by Senator Michael Rodrigues and Representative Marco Devers. As Senator Rodrigues noted: “these five people are being recognized for displaying the dedication, skill and selflessness that thousands of PCAs display day in and day out”. Representative Devers emphasized government’s role as a partner in seeing that PCA services are provided to those who need them.
Christine Griffin, Assistant EOHHS Secretary for Disability Policy & Programs and Chair of the Council, highlighted the gains PCAs made in the recently negotiated labor agreement and said that for the administration’s Community First agenda to succeed, a strong PCA workforce was a necessity.
Senator Rodrigues and Representative Devers presented awards to Caroline Craig of Weymouth, Vicente de la Rosa of Lawrence, Doris Forcier from Leicester, Wadson Michel of Woburn and Laurie Swane from Hadley. Ms. Forcier was unable to attend the event and received her award separately.
In her closing remarks, Rebecca Gutman, 1199SEIU Vice President for Home Care emphasized the union’s role in promoting and supporting PCAs. She added that, having represented a wide variety of unionized workers, she considered PCAs to be the most dedicated, caring workforce she has seen. For profiles of the award winners, please Click Here .
Council & Union Agree to a 3 Year Contract
Agreement Provides Wage Increases, Benefits
After five months of negotiations, the PCA Workforce Council and 1199SEIU were able to negotiate a new three year labor agreement. Last year, with the Commonwealth facing a very bleak financial outlook, both sides agreed to a one year contract with no wage increase. When negotiations began in January a longer term agreement was the goal for both parties. Proposals from the union and the Council were made with awareness that the state was still facing challenging revenue forecasts. The new agreement provides:
- 3 consecutive years of wage increases: raising the current level of $12.48 to $12.68 this July, a raise to $12.98 in July, 2013 and an increase to $13.38 in July, 2014.
- The PCA training fund, started with a $1M contribution last year, will receive an additional $1M per year for the last two years of the contract.
- A paid time off benefit to begin in July, 2014. This benefit will have an annual cap of $1.5M. The details of the benefit will be determined by the labor management committee.
- For a study to be done on the issue of health insurance. The study will focus on seven specific areas outlined in the contract and is to be completed by January, 2014. When the study is completed, there will be a reopener and negotiations will begin over a health care benefit.
Christine Griffin, chair of the Council and a member of the bargaining team, praised the new agreement, as well as the people making it possible, saying: “Both sides worked hard to agree on a new contract. I was very impressed with the dozens of PCAs who not only attended but actively participated in these negotiations. On the Council side, Joe Bellil and Paul Spooner volunteered many, many hours. The Council team was ably led once again by Doug Shatkin. When Doug decided, in January, he was going to retire this year; his final gift to the Council was bringing Marianne Dill on board to assist him and then succeed him as lead negotiator. The Council is grateful for their dedication and skill.”
The new contract will run from this July through June 30, 2015.