Fresno County home care workers—mostly women of color—will rally and march at Board of Supervisors office for livable wages and healthcare benefits 

Press Contact:
DKC News,
July 9, 2024

Fresno County, CA – Today, Fresno In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) home care providers—members of SEIU Local 2015 the nation’s largest long-term care union and California’s largest labor union representing more than 470,000 nursing home workers and home care providers—rallied at the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to call for livable wages and healthcare benefits. 

A recent poll of in-home care workers in Fresno County underscored the urgent challenges that many of these essential workers face. Some of the distressing findings include:   

  • 80.7% of IHSS providers in Fresno County reported working multiple jobs – at least some of the time – just to make ends meet. That’s nearly 4 out of every 5 provider’s in the county. 
  • 42.3% of IHSS providers in Fresno County experience consistent food insecurity, relying on CalFresh and/or food banks at least monthly. 
  • 84.8% of IHSS providers in Fresno County who have cars miss regular maintenance on their car because it is too expensive.
  • 53.5% of IHSS providers in Fresno County have difficulty paying their mortgage or rent each month, with many reporting that they are sometimes or always late with their payments.
  • 55.7% of IHSS providers in Fresno County are sometimes or often unable to access medication because they cannot afford the cost of prescriptions. 

One in five home care providers say they may leave the industry, citing low wages and lack of benefits. There is already a shortage of caregivers  yet the demand for care is exploding – 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day. Last year, more than 626,000 authorized care hours went unused, indicating a lack of providers and care that older adults and those with disabilities desperately needed. Increased pay is how we retain care providers and improve care for consumers. Unless these become better jobs, care providers will continue to leave this profession for fast food, warehouse, retail, restaurant and other jobs that have started paying substantially more.

A living wage will help caregivers, who are most often women of color, care for themselves and their families without facing heavy financial stress. Together, we must prioritize fair compensation and benefits for these dedicated workers to ensure the well-being of both caregivers and the vulnerable individuals they serve in Fresno County.

“I went on a hunger strike, but the Fresno County Board ignored it! It’s time for change – caregivers need livable wages and healthcare,” said Olga Valle Ayarzagoita, a Fresno County IHSS provider and an SEIU 2015 member. Read Olga’s full story here:

“I am 62. Frankly, medical care is too expensive — especially since I don’t make a whole lot — but I need it at this age. Sad thing is, it would cost me almost $200 a month to get better dental insurance. Cost of living is going up and going up, but they don’t want to give us a raise? We caregivers need adequate healthcare and wages we can survive on,” said Mark Blodgett, a Fresno County IHSS provider and an SEIU 2015 member. Read Mark’s full story here: 

“As caregivers, we give our everything to the folks we care for. We’re not asking for the moon here, or for the county to make us millionaires. We just want livable wages, no cuts to our healthcare, and real solutions from Fresno County Board members,” said Bill Peterson, a Fresno County IHSS provider and an SEIU 2015 member. Read Bill’s full story here: 

“Right now, I have to choose which bill I can skip each month in order to purchase groceries. My job is very rewarding, and it’s looked down upon in society…I thought about working somewhere else that pays more, that offers health benefits and that would allow me to buy groceries and pay my bills. Right now, my salary is $16.25 an hour and it is not working. I could earn more as a fast food worker or janitor. I don’t want to work in fast food, my heart lies in caregiving, but I have thought about my options. I was put on this planet to do this, so the Fresno County Board of Supervisors need to spend a day in our shoes to know why it’s important to create a solution and increase our wages before this industry collapses.”,” said Wendy Davenport, a Fresno County IHSS provider and an SEIU 2015 member. Read Wendy’s full story here:

“I don’t like that the Board is trying to take our healthcare away. I try to see both sides, but these officials we help to elect don’t seem to care about our health care needs. I can’t afford to give my income to cover healthcare, when I have all these other bills to take care of. Not all of us are able to get help from the state, since we’re maxing out our hours. We want to be more self-sufficient, which the Fresno County Board should also want. Why won’t they invest in the county’s long-term care? I feel like my community very much values what I do, but the Supervisors don’t value us as caregivers.,” said Christy Clark, a Fresno County IHSS provider and an SEIU 2015 member. Read Christy’s full story here:

“Do I wish I could pay for all my stuff with just my provider job? Absolutely. But it’s just not possible right now. If I didn’t have two jobs, I wouldn’t be able to afford groceries or pay my other bills. Just last month, I remember having barely enough to get me through the weeks. I have to calculate each cent and ensure I’ll make it out on the other side on to the next month. It’s not right. But it’s where I am in life right now, and it’s like that for a lot of care providers in this county. We barely make ends meet, and healthcare coverage is the last thing we should have to worry about,” said Chue Moua, a Fresno County IHSS provider and an SEIU 2015 member. Read Chue’s full story here:

SEIU Local 2015 is committed to advocating for policies that support in-home care providers and those they care for, including livable wages and benefits, as well as access to training and professional development opportunities. We urge the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to work with us to address these pressing issues and ensure that all who qualify have access to the care they need and deserve in the comfort of their own homes.

To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit or on social media @SEIU2015.