Nursing Home Budget Victory

Thanks to the unity of our members across the state, we achieved incredible victories during this year’s state budget process. Thanks to your hard work, California’s 2018 budget was signed today by Governor Jerry Brown and is one that raises up our members, from Home care workers to Skilled  Nursing Facility and Assisted Living Center workers. Together, we have amplified the voices and stories of caregivers, consumers, and patients throughout the halls of our state capitol.

SAFE STAFFING AT NURSING HOMES – After a two-and-a-half year fight, over 7,000 calls and 2,642 click to tweets the members of Local 2015 and community allies and supporters achieved a tremendous victory in raising the staffing standards in nursing homes. Beginning July 1, 2018, the minimum direct care staffing standard in nursing homes will increase to one of the highest in the country! Most importantly, a new staffing standard was created to protect Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA) workloads.

OPPORTUNITY TO NEGOTIATE BETTER WAGES FOR IHSS WORKERS – Additionally, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers worked to defend against the Governor’s intent to shift the cost of the IHSS program onto counties. That would have meant a $623 million burden on counties, but we fought against that and won! We were successfully able to raise the state cap on IHSS provider wages and benefits to $1.10 above the minimum wage, effectively reducing the cost to counties and allowing an opportunity to negotiate for higher wage increases.

FAIR BARGAINING PRACTICES – By seeking mandatory mediation through the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), we were also able to secure the ability to appeal the inaction of counties that do not establish a collective bargaining agreement. For many providers who live in counties where the elected Board of Supervisors have yet to deal with caregivers fairly, this allows for a neutral third party to hear our case for improvements, review the facts, and weigh in on what is a fair contract outcome.

EXEMPTIONS FOR WEEKLY HOUR CAP – We also won an exemption for IHSS providers’ 66-hour workweek limit if they meet one of the following criteria:

  1. They provide care for more than two of their related children who live in the same household as their provider (as long as the provider was providing services to all of the consumers prior to January 31, 2016); or
  2. They provide care for two or more consumers who live with the provider and have complex medical or behavioral needs, live in an area with a limited number of available providers, or the consumer cannot find another provider who speaks the same language.

These victories demonstrate that when workers come together — home care workers, skilled nursing facility workers, assisted living center workers — and join forces, we all win! From workers who will have the opportunity to be properly staffed at nursing facilities and workers who will have the opportunity to negotiate for better wages – to the elderly and disabled who receive the care and will now be able to count on the quality care they need and deserve.

Thanks to the hard work of our members, allies, and supporters we can continue to ensure that amidst a White House Administration that threatens to strip away health care from millions, California can continue to lead the way on issues important to long-term care workers.

Thank you for all you do, each and every one of you. This is what union and worker power look like.

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