On August 1, SEIU 1021 members working at Westside Community Services HIV/AIDS program were shocked to receive layoff notices for the end of the month. For three decades the AIDS Case Management program has provided in-home services for clients, many with multiple diagnoses. The in-home care not only saved money, but also provided a better quality of life for clients who might otherwise be housed in expensive facilities, or even worse – on the street.
“To abruptly announce closure with barely a month’s notice to the City and State Health Departments put our clients in a difficult situation, said Trina Oates, an SEIU 1021 member who works at Westside Community Services “They didn’t even have a transition plan. There was no way we were going to just sit back and accept that, for ourselves or our clients.”
Workers sprung into action, scrambling to research resources for clients, and ways to save the program. Together with SEIU 1021 staff they brought the closure threat to the attention of San Francisco Department of Public Health leadership.
This helped pressure Westside Community Services Administrators and Board members. As a result, communication was opened with the State Office of AIDS, where leaders are very please with the work the staff at WCS has been doing for the community.
As it turns out, program administrators had made an error in assessing state funding, which had actually been increased for programs like this.
Layoff notices were rescinded. This is great news all the way around. The program plays a critical role in San Francisco’s HIV/AIDS prevention programs so it is important to keep these services in place.