SEIU Local 2015 Caregivers, Seniors, and Community Members Called on Supervisor Kelly Long & Linda Parks To Honor International Women’s Day & Support Pay Equity for the Women-Dominated Home Care Workforce
Contact (Eng/Spa): Melissa Uribe – 213-590-9091/MelissaU@seiu2015.org
(Ventura, CA) – Today, on International Women’s Day, SEIU Local 2015, caregivers, seniors, and community members rallied outside of the offices of Supervisor Kelly Long & Supervisor Linda Parks calling on them to deliver pay equity to the county’s home care workers. These workers are part of the In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS) program which allows low-income seniors and people with disabilities to receive care at home rather than be institutionalized. The vast majority of IHSS workers in Ventura County are women and raising wages for them would be an important step in ensuring equal pay for women, the advocates stated.
At the event, Supervisors Long & Parks were also criticized for their inability to deliver on a commitment made on September 9th, 2014by BOS members to make strides on addressing poverty within the county workforce.
“It’s time for Supervisor Kelly Long & Linda Parks to stand up for women and ensure that caregivers – the vast majority of whom are women – are treated with fairness and respect. Providers, like myself, work daily to ensure that seniors can retire and flourish in Ventura County. Supervisor Long & Parks should do the same for us,” said Kim Ballon, a caregiver in Thousand Oaks.
IHSS workers provide assistance with daily living tasks and allow Ventura County’s seniors and the disabled to live independently. However, currently the county’s IHSS providers are struggling to make ends meet on their $12.50 an hour wage. According to the California Budget & Policy Center, a single parent in Ventura County must earn $69,042 a year just to cover the basics. Yet, a home care provider working 40 hours a week and earning $12.50 an hour earns only $24,000 a year (before taxes).
“Ventura County is facing a care crisis,” said Miguel Benitez, an Organizer from SEIU 2015. “If caregivers can’t make enough to survive, they’re going to be forced to relocate which means their consumers are going to be left without the care they need. There are about 5,000 people in Ventura County today who depend on a caregiver to survive. That’s 5,000 people that the BOS is turning their backs on by refusing to invest in the IHSS program.”
The protesters also pointed to the economic benefits that raising wages for providers would have. According to a report shared to county staff today, an investment by the county to pay for a $2.00 wage increase would increase economic output by $46.3 million, support over 350 local jobs, and generate $3.2 million in state and local tax revenue.
“Boosting wages of IHSS workers will lead to economic growth across Ventura County. Higher wages mean I will have more money available to spend in local stores, which in turn strengthens our community’s small business and supports jobs across our county,” said Maria Alvarez, a caregiver from Santa Paula.
The action at Supervisor Linda Parks’ office was streamed live on Facebook: SEIU 2015
Representing over 350,000 home care, skilled nursing facility, and assisted living center workers, SEIU Local 2015 is the biggest long term care union in California, the largest SEIU Local in California, and the second largest nationwide. It is our mission to unleash the collective power of long term care workers, their families, and their communities; harness the power of technology; and, build a broad movement to disrupt the unjust status quo in order to bring lasting transformational change towards a more just society for all.