Members of SEIU 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union representing more than 400,000 nursing home and home care workers, rallied for a $20 per hour living wage floor and improved healthcare and training for essential in-home caregivers
Oakland, CA, Tuesday, April 12th – Today, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers—joined by their supporters—rallied at the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ office to bring attention to the urgent need to provide in-home care providers with living wages, improved access to healthcare, and training. Alameda County in-home caregivers were joined by supporters, including allies from Hand in Hand, Vice Mayor for Oakland City Council Rebecca Kaplan, and Liz Ortega from the Alameda Central Labor Council.
Today’s rally comes amid a long-term care industry in crisis. Entering year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, dedicated IHSS caregivers have continued to be on the front lines ensuring vulnerable Californians receive the care and dignity they deserve in the comfort of their own homes. However, low wages and the absence of healthcare benefits have led to skyrocketing turnover rates in the long-term care industry.
Recent polling from SEIU Local 2015 shows that one in five in-home caregivers are likely to leave their current position in the coming year, with respondents citing low wages, lack of retirement benefits, and general concerns related to financial security as the primary reasons for their potential departure. Furthermore, more than 30% of home care providers are currently forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, even though many are already working full-time as caregivers.
At the same time, elected and government officials in Alameda County and across California have praised in-home caregivers for their heroic role in caring for our state’s most vulnerable residents. However, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors has yet to approve a modest wage increase needed to get these workers to a $20 per hour living wage floor.
“In-Home Supportive Service providers care for the most vulnerable residents in our community, but are not provided with the pay or benefits reflective of the critical work they do every day,” said April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015. “As the need for in-home caregivers grows across California, it is imperative that we increase the pay of these essential providers to help stem the exodus of staff leaving the long-term care industry. We are gathering today to urge the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to lead the way in California by establishing a $20 an hour living wage for essential in-home caregivers.”
With nearly 32,000 IHSS providers in Alameda County, increasing the pay of these essential workers would result in positive downstream economic impacts throughout the region. Research from Beacon Economics shows that an increase to a $20 per hour wage floor for IHSS Caregivers in Alameda County would drive $182 million in economic output, add $64 million in labor income, and support almost 1,000 new jobs.
“In-home caregivers and SEIU 2015 members are calling on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to lead the way in California by providing essential in-home care providers with a living wage and access to stronger benefits,” said SEIU Local 2015 Executive Vice President Kim Evon. “A $20 an hour wage floor for in-home caregivers will ensure our members are adequately compensated for their vital work, while also guaranteeing that vulnerable homebound Californians receive the care they deserve.”
This rally comes on the heels of numerous actions recently taken by SEIU Local 2015 to bring attention to the industry crisis, including recent “Time for $20” demonstrations at the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors office for Los Angeles home care providers. Nationally, more than 400,000 long-term care providers have left the industry since the pandemic began.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.