SEIU Local 2015 Celebrates the Victories of Four Pro-Worker Women of Color—Liz Ortega, Aisha Wahab, Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, and Karen Bass

Press Contact:
Terry Carter, 213 uies
November 17, 2022

California’s largest labor union, representing nearly 450,000 long term care workers, applauds the election of these trailblazing women as they step into office.

Los Angeles, CA—SEIU Local 2015 is proud to celebrate the victories of four pro-worker women of color—Liz Ortega, Aisha Wahab, Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, and Karen Bass—in their respective races this election season. The home care industry is 86% women with more than half identifying as Black, Latina, and/or Asian, making combating the issues plaguing the industry a racial justice and gender equity imperative. SEIU 2015 looks forward to working with our newly elected officials who will join in our fight to make California a more equitable and just place for all.

COVID exacerbated the crises that long-term care workers face, triggering staffing shortages in California of both home care and nursing home workers. We know these shortages won’t improve as long as long-term care providers remain underpaid and underprotected. Nationally, the long-term care industry has lost more than 420,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, effectively reducing its workforce to the size it was 15 years ago despite the fact that our elder population is growing. 

“SEIU Local 2015 members and our fellow Califorinians used the strength of our numbers to bring lasting transformational change to address the care crisis, as well as fighting for equity and justice for all Californians,” said Arnulfo de La Cruz, Executive Vice President of SEIU Local 2015. “These are monumental wins and we’re looking forward to seeing progress across the state as we usher in a new slate of female elected officials who will invest in the essential workers taking care of California’s most vulnerable.”

SEIU Local 2015 is thrilled that the City of Los Angeles has elected Karen Bass to be our Mayor. Karen Bass has represented the people of Los Angeles in Congress for more than ten years, fighting for economic equity, criminal justice reform, environmental advocacy, fair working conditions, and unity—all  central to building a just society. She has proved time and again that she has the best interest of our community at heart. SEIU Local 2015 was a proud early endorser of Karen Bass for Mayor of Los Angeles. We believe that Congresswoman Bass will continue to uphold these values on the home front, and fight for quality care for our communities’ most vulnerable. 

Additionally, the long-term care workers of SEIU Local 2015 are honored to be represented by Liz Ortega in Assembly District 20. Our member committee on political action endorsed her early in the race as a champion of economic justice and a leader in the labor movement. Liz Ortega’s leadership will create more pathways to good jobs with higher wages, training, and opportunities to unionize within the long-term care industry—an industry powered by women of color who see political representation as a lifeline. The home care industry is nearly 90% women, with more than half identifying as Black, Latina and Asian women. It’s imperative that these workers see their needs reflected as priorities for elected officials. SEIU Local 2015 member leaders look forward to working alongside Liz Ortega to improve our communities’ care infrastructure.

In California’s 28th Senate District, the long-term care workers of SEIU Local 2015 are proud to see Lola Smallwood-Cuevas elected as representative. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas is a devoted  labor advocate with personal ties to the home care community. The home care industry is powered by women—majority Black women and women of color—who Lola Smallwood-Cuevas will continue to empower as an elected official. We know that her leadership and commitment to economic justice will elevate the needs of California’s essential workers caring for our most vulnerable population. 

Aisha Wahab, another incredible woman of color, was elected to the California State Senate. Since becoming the first Afghan-American woman elected to public office in the U.S., Aisha has devoted her political career to combating economic inequality. She understands the needs of California’s working families—the needs of essential workers such as the long-term care workers of SEIU Local 2015. The home care industry is nearly 90% women, with more than half identifying as Black, Latina and Asian women. As community advocates and essential workers, it is imperative that our needs are reflected as priorities for elected officials. This is why SEIU Local 2015 is proud to work alongside Aisha Wahab in her fight for economic justice for all.

SEIU Local 2015 is also excited about the passage of the United to House Los Angeles (ULA) ballot measure, with today’s election results. ULA will create a permanent funding stream to reduce homelessness in Los Angeles and protect those in danger of experiencing homelessness. ULA is designed to protect the supply of existing affordable housing in our city, while simultaneously creating new affordable housing in our communities to ensure that working families can live where they work. The passage of this ballot measure will help make this a reality for housing insecure people in our community.

Lastly, SEIU 2015 is also thrilled to celebrate the passage of Measure H – the Pasadena Fair and Equitable charter amendment. This new amendment will establish a number of provisions to support tenants in Pasadena, including by instituting rent control measures in the community and just-cause eviction protections that will prevent landlords from filing evictions without cause. Over the past several months, SEIU Local 2015 has played an important role in raising awareness and funds for this campaign.

Over the last few years, SEIU Local 2015 members across California have put their fight to improve the long-term care industry into high gear. Today’s elections results are proof of hard earned successes at the hands of all our members, and we are looking forward to capitalizing on this momentum to continue to highlight the need for better wages, demand support for improved workplace protections, and put pressure on those with the power to make the necessary changes needed to fix this broken industry.

To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit or on social media @SEIU2015.