Finally! It took the SEIU long enough, but the union is now directly addressing President Obama over his decision not to penalize Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for cutting the pay of California homecare workers, infuriating the union.
The SEIU has a full page ad in today’s Los Angeles Times featuring a letter to Obama from Pauline Beck, the worker in whose shoes Obama famously walked for a day during the campaign. In the letter, which coincides with Obama’s arrival in Los Angeles for a fundraiser today, she reminds him of their day together and asks for his help:
Dear Mr. President,
I am Pauline Beck — the California home care worker you spent a day on the job with in August 2007. You helped me provide care to Mr. John Thornton, an 86-year old man in a wheelchair who is able to stay in his home because of the care I provide.
I know you are very busy, but Mr. John and I, and my fellow home care workers and their clients, need your help.
You see, Governor Schwarzenegger wants to cut my pay back to $8 an hour. These are tough times, but if my pay gets cut to minimum wage I won’t be able to support my family. It’s just wrong to pay us so little for taking care of people who have given our communities and our country so much…
I know you are a good man and I am proud of the job you are doing. I hope you and the Governor can work together to help Mr. John, me and the 750,000 of Californians just like us. It would make such a difference in our lives. Thank you.
The Obama administration’s decision had infuriated the SEIU, but until now the union had refrained from directly addressing him, training all its firepower on Schwarzenegger in an ad. Though the union has now taken the step of placing the controversy in his lap, the letter’s plaintive plea for help is yet another sign of the reluctance of some groups on the left to confront the popular president.