Fresno County IHSS providers continue their fight for a contract with livable wages and health care.

March 20, 2024

Latest update on 3/19/2024 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 450,000 nursing home workers and home care providers—rallied at the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to call for livable wages and healthcare benefits.

Fresno County’s current IHSS wage is only $16.60 an hour with a $0.85 health benefit contribution. The board threatens to completely remove healthcare coverage in order to bring their shockingly lowball offer of a 15 cent raise up to 85 cents. Long-term care workers in Fresno County are struggling to make ends meet, prompting many to leave the long-term care industry altogether. This comes as Fresno County faces a shortage of care providers. 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. A livable wage will help caregivers, who are most often women of color, support themselves and their families. 

Check out the latest photos here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjBi5aK

Telemundo News Coverage

Latest press coverage: https://www.seiu2015.org/fresno-county-home-care-workers-mostly-women-rally-at-board-of-supervisors-office-for-livable-wages-and-healthcare-benefits/

Central Valley News: Why home care workers in Fresno County want better wages, benefits

Yahoo News : Why home care workers in Fresno County want better wages, benefits 

Latest update on 3/15/2024 Fresno County IHSS providers continue their fight for a contract with livable wages and health care.

Last month, Fresno also had a briefing event, where community allies gathered to support Fresno workers who deserve good healthcare and strong wages by signing onto our PutCareFirst support letter.  

Workers are rising up to say enough is enough. There is already a care cliff crisis in Fresno County, where one in five IHSS providers say they are considering leaving the care industry for competitive paying jobs with healthcare benefits. Over the next few months leading up to summer, our 2015 members in Fresno County will hold actions to make their voices heard to WIN their well-deserved healthcare! It’s time to Put Care First, folks! 

Fresno County IHSS updates

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Click here to see all the press coverage

Over the past year, Fresno County In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers have rallied at the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to reject the board’s proposed poverty wages and threats to eliminate healthcare coverage for IHSS workers. With the money they’d “save” by eliminating our healthcare, they say they’ll bring their shockingly low offer of a 15¢ raise up to 85¢. This would push care workers to find their own insurance or onto government assistance like Medi-Cal—a tacit acknowledgement that the wages they offer caregivers is so low.

Currently, 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 providers. In 2022, nearly a million authorized care hours went unused in Fresno County, indicating thousands of people in the county having difficulty finding care. 

  • More than 80% of IHSS providers in Fresno County reported working multiple jobs – at least some of the time – just to make ends meet. That’s 4 out of every 5 providers in the county. 
  • More than 42% of IHSS providers in Fresno County experience consistent food insecurity, relying on CalFresh and/or food banks at least monthly. 
  • Nearly 55% 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.
  • More than 55% of IHSS providers in Fresno County are sometimes or often unable to access medication because they cannot afford the cost of prescriptions.

Read IHSS Provider Wendy Davenport’s Story

“Being a provider is a tough profession. You need to have a deep passion for helping those in need. I care for my sister, and even though every minute is worth it, it’s still tough work; it’s a real job, and it needs to get treated like that.”

Read IHSS Provider Mark Blodgett’s Story  

“ I love what I do. I just wish I could get paid in a way that shows how hard I work. But not just me. It’s all caregivers. We all need better pay and better insurance, if this system is going to stay upright. Something’s got to change, at this point, and I’m happy to fight for that change. Personally, without good healthcare coverage, I’d never be able to afford the medication I need to live. The stakes are life and death for me.”

Read IHSS Provider Bill Peterson’s Story

“We know Fresno is on a care cliff crisis. And this work is hard — period. Caring for my son, Jack, I know not everyone is cut out to do it. It’s time for the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to understand we mean business, and investing in care is vital not just to this county, but across the state. I love my job, it’s what I wake up each day proud to do. I just wish providers like me can have a pathway to livable wages and keep our healthcare without pushing us toward government assistance like Medi-Cal on our low wages. The time to ‘Put Care First’ is NOW.”

Read IHSS Provider Chue Moua’s Story

“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 next month. It’s not right.”

Read IHSS Provider Christy Clark’s Story

We caregivers 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.”

The Fresno IHSS campaign has been pushing back and making noise. Workers this past year have been determined to have their voices heard and not lose their healthcare. For these care providers, it’s a matter of life and death. See our press coverage here.

Click below to watch ABC30 coverage of our Board of Supervisors Action:

One particular action that took place at the Fresno Board of Supervisor Hall was one meant to bring attention to IHSS workers’ most pressing contract issues: the need for stronger wages and the right to keep their healthcare coverage, which the BOS has been threatening to take away and replace with a far less equitable system. Read the full article here. 

Click below to watch KMPH-FOX coverage of our Board of Supervisors Action:

See coverage details here: https://www.seiu2015.org/news-coverage-of-fresno-county-long-term-care-workers-rally-at-board-of-supervisors-office-rejecting-poverty-wages-and-scrapped-healthcare-proposal/