Hello, United Home Care Workers of PA! Welcome to your new and improved monthly newsletter!

UHWP represents thousands of caregivers like you across Pennsylvania. We are a group of workers fighting to make our voices heard. Together we are making Pennsylvania a better place for home care workers and consumers. Through the tireless dedication of workers like you, we have made some fantastic advances in the last two years, but there is more to do!

This monthly newsletter is being compiled by a dedicated crew of home care workers eager to spread the news about where we are in our fight and give you ways to get plugged in. We want to share our lives and build a support system for workers. You can expect to find links to trainings, updates on our latest organizing and advocacy efforts, special interest stories, upcoming events, and self-care tips and tricks.

To aid in our mission of sharing stories and helpful hints, we invite you, dear friend, to contact us at info@pahomecareworkers.org and share your stories, pictures, art, and lives. After all, there is no union without you. Together we are working towards a better home care system for all of us.

Jacinta Burgess Testifies at the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging about the Need to Raise Up Home Care

On Thursday, March 9th, Jacinta Burgess, a home care worker from Harrisburg and member of our union, testified at the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging on the struggles she faces as a home care worker and strength she finds in fighting with fellow union members for a better long term care system, fair wages, affordable healthcare, and good union jobs.

Click here to watch and share Jacinta’s full testimony on Facebook, or click here to watch and share on Instagram. Or, you can watch the full testimony below:

Why I cried when I met the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

by Linda Orndoff

Looking back on the whole situation now, I laugh. I had myself a nervous wreck by the time I stood up to speak. I was the only caregiver speaking at this panel and I knew there were so many others out there with even more compelling stories than mine. I can’t let them down!

Thanks to a very caring Congresswoman Summer Lee and the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, I was able to tell my story in a way that had the impact I hoped for, aided by a very nice reporter Steve Mellon who wrote about the event and my story.

I am 61 years old and have seen a lot of politicians come and go during my life. The majority of them have paid little to no attention to the needs of the everyday people in this country.

However, in the last couple of years, I have had more hope then I have in decades. You might wonder why.

Because we elected as our Governor Josh Shapiro, a big advocate of caregivers. Then President Biden proved in his last State of the Union he’s thinking of us, saying, “Let’s get seniors who want to stay in their homes the care they need to do so. Let’s give more breathing room to millions of family caregivers looking after their loved ones. Pass my plan so we get seniors and people with disabilities the home care services they need and support the workers who are doing God’s work.”

Last but not least, it gave me hope when Secretary Becerra addressed me directly at the end of the panel, “You’re one of those quiet heroes in America,” he said. “I so admire you for taking on your family.” That was when I felt the tears rolling down my face. He continued by relaying the story of taking care of his parents in their last years.

After the event ended the others on the panel went into the hallway to give press statements. I was still sitting in my chair when I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see Secretary Becerra. He said he just wanted to shake my hand as he so admired what I was doing, taking care of my family. And that this administration understands what we are going through. That’s when I started crying again. He gets it! He understands!

That is why I have hope.

Write to Governor Shapiro why improving home care is important to you!


We elected a Governor who committed to raise up home care by investing in wages, benefits, and a union. Now, we need to hold Governor Shapiro accountable to our priorities.

Go to uhwp.org/WriteYourLetter to write a letter to Governor Shapiro and state legislators to make home care jobs good jobs, with a living wage of at least $15/hour, benefits, and a union contract.

We will deliver the letters to Governor Shapiro, key members of his administration, and state legislators, and we’ll keep in touch with you about additional ways to help.

Not sure what to say? Below you can read some of what Christal Spivey from Philadelphia wrote in her letter:

Dear Governor Shapiro and Elected Leaders,


Pennsylvania is in a care crisis! Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania’s seniors and people with disabilities need support to live at home but there are not enough home caregivers to meet the need.

I care for consumers every day, all day. They need assistance with everything. They can’t care for themselves like they used to. The consumers’ mind and bodies have declined a lot because of Severe Illnesses and Incompetent Physical Abilities that they endured at birth. The consumers need Coverage for their Activity of Daily Living Routines. I am here to make sure they get all of that and more.

You have to have a heart for this Profession. Respect for the ones who can’t care for themselves anymore. Communication to explain what My position is when preparing them for the rest of their lives. Compassion when there is no one to confide in about their livelihood. 

In my union United Home Care Workers of PA, we travel to communicate for our consumers about their needs as well as our Company and Union. I went to all the rallies and phone banked for candidates. We hoped for a Change to compensate the workers for all the effort they put in with their consumers, 365 days every year no breaks or vacations and company and union to keep us going. 

We don’t give up, even though we are tired, overworked, exhausted, and underpaid. We keep going because the Love and Care we provide is unmatched.

We need $15.00/hour for a start in the right direction. I deserve more, I have children and a Grandchild. I Live in PHA my rent is 540.00 Monthly not including phone bills and groceries for my family to survive. We Struggle Everyday All Day Non-Stop.

My Parents are Mentally Disabled. They don’t have the care they need to Live a normal Life. We need more Resources and Insurance that can cover their Health, Food, and Nutrition needs. Our Company needs a Union Contract to enable all workers a livable wage and affordable healthcare along with PPE. We are still in a Pandemic. COVID-19 is still here. 

I have photos of when we spoke to you and marched with you to raise minimum wage to $15/hour. Please keep that same Spirit you had when we elected you. Thank You for being Our Champion. Home Care needs You! 

– By Christal Spivey

CIL Member Corner

Updates for members at VFI, Liberty, and CIL of Central PA

Our Training Hub!

by Helen Burke

After many long discussions and debates caregivers with the unionized Centers for Independent Living (VFI, Liberty, and CIL of Central PA) are now able to get free training, language classes, and tuition reimbursement of up to $5,000 dollars.

The Homecare Hub provides trainings in-person and virtually, such as CPR or Mental Health First Aid. All of the classes pertain to home care work and the need to provide quality care to our consumers. These trainings will also help with our personal growth. Please take the time to visit www.pahomecarehub.org and find a class for you!

We can also get help paying for college and/or trade school for programs that are in the medical field, such as a nursing degree, CNA class, food and nutrition, Health Policy, Health Administration, and many others. This includes language classes, too, through programs like Babble and through classes offered by colleges. These classes can help us communicate with consumers who speak another language. If you are interested in the tuition reimbursement for a class or certification elsewhere, call the Homecare Hub at (717) 238-1826 to apply. 

Consumer Directed Member Corner

Updates for members working through Tempus or PPL


Consumer Directed Workers’ Spring 2023 Meet & Confer Survey


We just scheduled our first Meet & Confer session with the new Governor’s administration!

For consumer direct workers—those technically employed by the person they provide care for with either Tempus or PPL as their payment processor—Meet & Confer sessions are on of the main ways we have now to be able to have a collective voice to advocate around our working conditions with the Department of Humans Services and Governor’s administration.

We’ll have our first meeting with the new Secretary of the Department of Human Services on April 4th, and when we do, we want to be sure she knows what our priorities are.

Please take a moment today to complete the survey at uhwp.org/MeetAndConferSurvey, to help us identify everyone’s priorities and convey a collective vision for a better home care system that supports caregivers and those we care for.

Meeting with Sen. Casey for Better Care, Better Jobs

by Suzzane Ott


Hi, my name is Suzzanne Ott. I am from Venango County, and I care for my honey who had a stroke.

I recently had the opportunity to talk on zoom with Senator Bob Casey’s staff from the Senate Committee on Aging about the Better Care Better Jobs Act being reintroduced in the Senate. This bill would provide needed funding for home care workers. I talked to her about how hard it is to be a caregiver and have children and some of the difficulties I go through, working 7 days a week with no paid time off, and no backup caregivers.

I also have a child that has sickle cell disease who sometimes gets sick and has to be hospitalized. When that happens I have to stay in the hospital with her until she’s able to come home. I’m not being paid enough and struggle to pay my bills. I have no childcare so I have to watch my 3-year-old and attend to her father who’s in a wheelchair at the same time.

I talked to them about the struggles we, as caregivers, face on a daily basis.

I felt like Senator Casey’s staff understood me and wanted to help. It made me feel good to be heard. I feel like the more caregivers that met with politicians and tell our stories, the more they can help us and understand us. We, as caregivers, have to get the word out!

Upcoming Events

  Training—Delegate 101: Labor Rights Basics and Strategies for Solving Workplace Problems 📆 Thursday, March 16 🕛 1PM OR 6PM 🌐 Remote Event In this session we will review the basic labor rights for union members and discuss basic strategies on how to apply those rights and to take action to make improvement around workplace problems. Regional Meeting—Delaware County 📆 Saturday, March 18 🕛 11AM – 3PM 📍Upper Darby, Venue TBD Caregivers are having a meeting because they want to get into the best position possible for winning higher wages and benefits, holding Tempus accountable, and improving the home care system for themselves and the people they care for. Lunch will be catered.  Statewide Member Meeting 📆 Wednesday, March 22 🕛 3PM 🌐 Remote Event Join us for our next member meeting for updates on what’s going on around the union, hear about ways to get involved, connect with other members, and make plans together about our fight to raise up home care. Training—Defending My Contract 📆 Thursday, March 23 OR Tuesday, March 28 🕛 6PM 🌐 Remote Event This training covers the basic elements of representing co-workers in meetings and the basics of the grievance processes to enforce and defend union contracts. Training—How to Write a Letter to the Editor 📆 Thursday, March 30 🕛 12PM OR 6PM 🌐 Remote Event This training covers the basic elements of representing co-workers in meetings and the basics of the grievance processes to enforce and defend union contracts.

Meet & Confer Session with the Secretary of Department of Human Services

 📆 Tuesday, April 4th 🕛 Time TBD 📍 Harrisburg, Venue TBD This event is for consumer direct workers—those technically employed by the person they provide care for with either Tempus or PPL as their payment processor—Meet & Confer sessions are one of the main ways we have now to be able to have a collective voice to advocate around our working conditions with the Department of Humans Services and Governor’s administration. This will be our first meeting with the new Secretary of the Department of Human Services.

2023 Climate Jobs and Justice Summit 📆 Saturday, April 15 🕛 12PM – 2PM 🌐 Remote Event Join hundreds of SEIU member activists working to win on climate change and bend the arc of history towards Environmental Justice. Our third annual virtual summit will energize, educate, and connect participants regarding campaigns and initiatives that SEIU Locals are undertaking around the country. National Virtual U.S. Citizenship Workshop  📆 Saturday, June 24 🕛 12PM – 5PM 🌐 Remote Event Join SEIU and iAmerica for a national virtual citizenship workshop on Saturday, June 24. Get free assistance with the U.S. citizenship application and fee waiver. This event is open to all so share with your family and friends. But space is limited so register today! 

In Case You Missed It