Sacramento, CA – California’s caregivers, who serve seniors and people with disabilities, celebrated the passage of AB 1672 (Haney) in the State Assembly today. The bill, championed by In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers, empowers them to transform the state’s home care program for the elderly and people with disabilities to ensure California keeps its promise: receiving care in the setting of one’s choice is a basic human right.
“Today’s Assembly vote demonstrates what caregivers can accomplish when we all stand together and demand justice! Justice for caregivers. Justice for care recipients. And justice for the future of care,” said UDW President and IHSS Caregiver Editha Adams. “When caregivers are determined, we won’t stop until we succeed!”
“We want caregivers to be valued not only because we are caregivers,” said Blanca Carias, a home care provider from Los Angeles, “but because the people we care for matter. Without our care, people will suffer and even die. Right now, millions of hours of care are being unfilled every year. That translates into untold human suffering, and we will not stand for that, because we care.”
“Nuestro objetivo es que se valore a los proveedores de cuidado no sólo porque también somos cuidadores, pero porque nos importan las personas a las que cuidamos”, dijo Blanca Carias, una trabajadora de cuidado de casa de Los Angeles y Primera Viceprsidenta, Home Care de SEIU 2015. “Sin nuestro cuidado, la gente sufrirá y tal vez hasta muera. Al momento, no se cubren millones de horas de cuidado cada año. Eso quiere decir que hay sufrimiento humano que se calla, y no lo vamos a tolerar, porque nos importa.”
“Investing in our home care workforce is a social and racial justice imperative,” said Doug Moore, Executive Director of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930. “Dividing these workers into 56 different local bargaining tables allows racism and sexism to run rampant in counties like Kern County, where caregivers, who are primarily women of color, make poverty wages with no benefits. This simply cannot continue, we need statewide bargaining now.”
“When caregivers come together at one statewide bargaining table, they will be in a much stronger position to demand California recognize their work is valuable and essential,” said Arnulfo De La Cruz, President of SEIU Local 2015, the largest union in California representing nearly 450,000 long-term care workers throughout the state.
California is experiencing a caregiving crisis, with the State Auditor reporting before the pandemic that roughly 40,000 IHSS clients were going without the care they needed each month because there are simply too few providers. Fragmented program administration, split between 56 public authorities, keeps workers constantly struggling for marginal wage gains. Most counties pay barely above minimum wage; not a single county in California pays home care providers a living wage.
AB 1672 will empower workers to negotiate directly with the state government to make changes needed to recruit and retain the home care workforce California needs as its population ages, shifting the bargaining responsibility from the counties to the state. In California, where in-home care workers are 80% women, 74% people of color, and 47% immigrants – keeping workers divided furthers inequality. AB 1672’s approach has been proven to work in other states with statewide bargaining for in-home supportive services, where caregivers have negotiated improvements that stabilize the workforce, from statewide training programs to contributions to retirement security.
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AB 1672—“Our Care Counts”—is supported by SEIU 2015, which represents approximately 420,000 IHSS providers across 37 counties, and UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, which represents more than 140,000 IHSS providers in 21 counties.