Caregivers Take Part in Rally To Call on BOS to Respect Caregivers with a Fair Contract
Tuesday, July 10: Dozens of Caregivers Took Part in Rally To Call on BOS to Respect Caregivers with a Fair Contract
Caregivers Demand Alameda County BOS Takes Action To Close Bargaining Contract; Rallied outside meeting from 10:30 am to 11:30 am.
On Tuesday, July 10, caregivers of SEIU Local 2015 attended the Board of Supervisors meeting and will rally outside demanding the respect and fair contract they deserve. They will arrive at the meeting at 9:30 AM and rally will begin at 10:30 AM.
Tuesday’s action is the start of protests by caregivers sparked by the county’s inaction to approve a new contract with dignified wages and benefits after ten months of negotiations with home care workers of the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.
The current wage for the county’s home care workers is well behind the local minimum wages. Home care workers earn only $12.50 while the minimum wage in communities they live in is closer to $15 an hour. For example, the minimum wage in Emeryville is $15.69 and Sunnyvale is $15.
“It’s no secret that it is extremely expensive to live in this county and unless the Board of Supervisors acts now and invests in the IHSS program, thousands of seniors and people with disabilities are at risk of losing their caregivers because we just can’t make ends meet,” said Tamara Nghishakenwa, who has been a caregiver for 10 years. “I love being a caregiver but paying the bills is becoming harder to do these days.”
To put in perspective, according to the MIT living wage calculator, a living wage for 1 adult in the Oakland – San Francisco area is $17.76, and for 1 adult and 1 child is $35.64.
“County leaders need to understand that not approving a wage increase for home care workers will lead to a catastrophic domino effect,” said Marcus McRae, Senior Organizer for the region’s SEIU 2015 members. “Homecare providers in our community are already making less than our local minimum wages. Seniors and people with disabilities are going to lose their care, the dollars invested in our local economy by this workforce will be gone because they will have no choice but to relocate, and hospitals will be impacted because those without care may be at risk of malnourishment, falls and injuries, and poor personal hygiene. They need to act now.”
Alameda County IHSS providers, who currently earn just $12.50 an hour and have been bargaining for a new contract for the last ten months, provide in-home care services to about 240,000 qualifying low-income county seniors and people with disabilities. Such services include toileting, bathing, meal preparation, transportation to doctor visits, medication oversight, and domestic work that allows their clients to live a life of independence and at home.
With California’s senior population set to double in less than 12 years, the demand for these caregivers to take care of our seniors is only expected to increase.
Caregivers are demanding that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Respect Caregivers!