Published: June 1, 2024

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What’s in this issue: 

  • SEIU National Convention Recap
  • Summer Safety: Caring for Your Vulnerable Consumers During a Heat Wave 
  • Oregon Primary Election Results: Big Wins for SEIU Members 

SEIU 503 elected delegates to SEIU International Union’s Convention traveled to Philadelphia this month to take part in the International Union’s (IU) Convention, held every four years, to consider and pass resolutions that guide SEIU and local state unions into the future.

At this year’s convention, delegates from across the continental US, Puerto Rico, and Canada passed resolutions that, among other things, committed our international union to build strong partnerships with other labor organizations (including the national AFL-CIO), build a cross-racial, multi-generational, and multi-lingual labor movement that will allow us to organize one million workers in the next ten years.

During the Convention’s elections, 503’s executive director, Melissa Unger, was elected to serve her second four-year term on the IU board. Members elected the first ever black president of the IU, longtime union leader April Verrett (who will speak to 503 members at General Council this summer).

On the last day of the event, vice-president Kamala Harris paid tribute to caregivers in a rousing and powerful keynote speech.

Summer Safety: Caring for Your Vulnerable Consumers During a Heat Wave

Summer is almost here and unfortunately for some of us, it’s not all fun in the sun! Extended heat exposure can lead to serious health concerns, especially for people aged 65 and older and those with disabilities.

Here are some tips to help you keep you and your consumers safe and healthy all summer long.

1. Stay hydrated. Hydration is a full-time job – especially in the summer. Don’t wait until thirst strikes to reach for the H2O – be sure to drink plenty of water all throughout the day. Additionally, you may want to limit or monitor your consumers’ caffeine and alcohol intake, as these substances contribute to dehydration.

2. Keep meals light and cool. You wouldn’t dare turn up the heat on a hot summer’s day, so think twice before using the oven or stove. Keep your consumers cool by preparing simple, nutritious meals like pasta salads with fresh vegetables. Try incorporating water-rich fruits and veggies like cucumber, celery, watermelon, and strawberries for an extra dose of hydration.

3. Don’t skimp on sun protection. Did you know that a sunburn impacts the body’s ability to cool itself? Sunscreen is your armor against the sun’s damaging UV rays. Dermatologists advise using a mineral-based sunscreen with zinc and applying it liberally and often. Additionally, encourage your clients to wear wide-brimmed hats and lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing that repels sunlight and provides an added layer of protection.

4. Move exercise indoors. Regular exercise has many benefits for seniors, from improved mental health to a decreased risk of falls. While it’s great to get moving outside and breathe in the fresh air in the cooler months, you’ll want to take that low-impact cardio inside for the summertime. Indoor yoga, Tai Chi, or swimming classes are healthy options for any season.

5. Seek air conditioning. Many heat-related deaths occur when older people live in poorly ventilated homes that lack air conditioning. Electric fans simply won’t do the job as the temperature climbs into the 80s and 90s. If your consumer’s home isn’t air conditioned, try to spend as much time as possible with them at a local spot that does. For example, many senior centers open their doors as cooling centers in the summer months.

6. Respect the learning curve. You may have grown up hearing all about the dangers of too much sun exposure, but things were different when today’s seniors were kids. They likely spent hours outside, without much fear of skin cancer, heatstroke, or other health risks. When discussing summer safety with your elderly consumers, be sure to keep this in mind and exercise patience and understanding.

7. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Too much heat can be dangerous for anyone, but seniors are especially at risk for heat-related health issues.  According to Mayo Clinic, heat exhaustion may look like: cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat; heavy sweating; faintness; dizziness; fatigue; weak, rapid pulse; low blood pressure upon standing; muscle cramps; nausea; and/or headaches. If you notice any symptoms of heat-related illness, be sure to seek medical help immediately.

9. While you’re busy caring for others, don’t forget to care for yourself. Your consumers are not the only ones whose health you need to protect. Healthy caregivers know that to take good care of others, they must put their own needs first. Eat a well-balanced diet, aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep, and take time to relax and appreciate the good things.

Oregon Primary Election Results: Big Wins for SEIU Members

The Oregon 2024 primary election was filled with big wins for SEIU members. Races for statewide offices were all won by candidates endorsed by our members. Tobias Read, Dan Rayfield, and Elizabeth Steiner all won their Democratic primaries and advanced to November’s general election. Follow this link to see a list of who won from our endorsements. These victories have major implications for our members and are key to advancing worker rights, worker protections, healthcare, and social, racial, and economic justice.

Tuesday’s wins wouldn’t have been possible without SEIU members volunteering their time to talk to voters. This election alone, we knocked on nearly 16,000 doors and made more than 65,000 phone calls for candidates endorsed by our members. We all know that money matters in U.S. elections. Thousands of SEIU 503 members giving $8 or $10 a month to CAPE, our political action committee, adds up and it’s our only way to compete with corporations and wealthy people trying to buy our elections. Our members spent their voluntary contributions wisely to help elect these pro-worker champions. That’s union power! If you don’t contribute to CAPE, you can sign up here and help build power for November’s general election.

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