State Budget Crisis
2:53 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

Health care union files initiative to soften budget cuts

The Washington state budget plan released Tuesday will cut funding for in-home health care workers. In reaction, one health care workers' union has already filed an initiative aiming to mitigate the effects of some of those reductions.

Protesters with the Service Employees International Union shouted "These cuts kill" from the upper balcony of the House as lawmakers voted on the $32 billion operating budget. The union represents in-home health care workers who tend to the elderly and disabled.

Under the budget plan, the workers' health benefits will be reduced and their hours will be cut by 10 percent. Adam Glickman speaks for SEIU's northwest chapter:

"And on top of that, they're not going to provide you with the training you need to really provide quality care? That's just a recipe for incredibly high turnover and burn out and again, putting the quality of care for the venerable clients at risk." Glickman says they've already begun gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would reintroduce training programs for in-home health care workers.

State budget writers estimate the 10 percent reduction in worker's hours alone could save as much as $97 million over the next two years.

On the Web:

Proposed budgets for the 2011-13 Biennium:
http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/archives/index_budgetsp.asp

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network