SEIU represents 38,000 home-care workers. Washington points out that many of them would qualify for the same assistance programs that their low-income clients receive. So far, she says, the mood at the bargaining table has been tense.
"We feel like we’ve let them balance the budget of the state on our backs quite long enough. That’s where the mood is with the workers, and I know that they feel it on the other side of the table. It’s not hostile in any way, but they know we’re serious."
The two sides will be at the bargaining table again on July 6. State negotiators said they wanted to wait until a new revenue forecast came out mid-June to make their next offer. That forecast shows tax collections are down from previous predictions in February.