In 2015, a neighbor asked Rose if she wouldn’t mind coming over to sit with his wife for a short time so she wouldn’t be alone while he went to the grocery store. She was happy to help and soon the visit became a routine. When her neighbor’s part-time homecare worker moved away, he asked Rose to take over his wife’s care. That was the start of Rose’ journey as a homecare worker and a member of SEIU Local 503.
Rose attended a SEIU new employee orientation, joined the union, took the training courses offered, and began getting more and more involved in her union. She was even elected by her fellow homecare union members to be a delegate at the 2018 SEIU Local 503 General Council.
Rose says she’s grateful for her union, not only because of better wages, benefits and training opportunities, but because her union is like family to her. She says, “It’s great to be a member of SEIU. I have no family here, they are in Alaska, so I like the comradery and sense of community I get through involvement with my union.”
Rose speaks four languages and now volunteers at union meetings doing language translation. “I like people,” she says, I’ve made many friends. I have other people I can relate to. We are doing the same kinds of jobs and it’s nice to get feedback and share stories. We even trade recipes!”
She says she likes to wear SEIU colors, purple and gold, and when she sees other caregivers around her neighborhood she tells them all about her union. “In Alaska they do not have a homecare union. When I found out we had one here, I was excited to learn more. Now, since I’ve been part of the homecare workers union, I’ve seen nothing but good things. My union advocates for me, protects my rights. They have my back. If I didn’t have my union, I’d be on my own. I don’t mind my dues because its a minimum for all the benefits we get.”
Prior to coming to Oregon, Rose lived in Alaska for 28 years. She has two daughters, and both went to OSU. She fell in love with Oregon when visiting and knew she wanted to retire here. Her daughters have both moved back out-of-state, but she makes the trip to visit them twice a year. In her free time, Rose spends even more hours caring for others. She volunteers at the senior center in her town, the public library, the women’s shelter and assists at warming shelters for the houseless each winter. In Roses’ words, “It’s all a labor of love, it’s not about money. It’s about love.”