Members of SEIU 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union representing more than 400,000 nursing home and home care workers, host a “Speak Out” event and rally, urgently calling for a $20 per hour wage floor and improved healthcare and training for these essential in-home caregivers
Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday, March 29th– Today, in-home care providers—joined by their consumers and supporters—rally outside of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ office to bring attention to the urgent need to provide In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Caregivers with living wages, improved access to healthcare, and training.
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 providing care to vulnerable homebound individuals. 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, with nearly 200,000 IHSS providers in Los Angeles County, increasing these essential workers’ pay would result in positive downstream economic impacts in communities across the state. Research from Beacon Economics shows that an increase to a $20 per hour wage floor for IHSS Caregivers in California would result in more than $7B in overall economic output, support more than 40,000 new jobs, and generate more than $2.4B in labor income.
“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, which has resulted in an exodus of workers from the long-term care industry,” said April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015. “Increasing the pay of these essential in-home care providers will help retain staff while simultaneously providing a much-needed economic boost to Los Angeles County. We’re speaking out today because we urgently need to invest in our frontline heroes by providing them with a $20 per hour wage floor and improvements to healthcare access.”
Over the past three years, the number of approved IHSS care hours that have gone unused has continued to steadily increase, which indicates that there are not enough in-home providers available to care for California’s growing homebound population (made horrifically clear in this recent story from Sacramento). As the need for in-home caregivers continues to grow, providing these essential workers with stronger pay and benefits will lead to workforce stabilization in the long-term care industry, which will ensure California’s most vulnerable residents are provided with continuity of care.
“SEIU Local 2015 members are speaking out today to bring attention to the crisis facing the long-term care industry,” said SEIU Local 2015 Executive Vice President Dereck Smith. “Throughout the pandemic, these caregivers have been on the front line providing vital care to seniors and Californians with disabilities, and it’s past time these workers receive a living wage for serving as the backbone of their communities.”
This rally comes on the heels of numerous actions recently taken by SEIU Local 2015 to bring attention to the crisis facing the broader long-term care community—both in private homes and in nursing homes in California. Nationally, more than 238,000 long-term care providers have left the industry since the pandemic began. Yesterday, SEIU Local 2015 proposed a statewide Quality Standards Board to oversee California’s nursing home industry.
Participating SEIU members—including Tracy, Tanya, Anthony, Kishan, and Latriya—will be available on-site for interviews and can speak to today’s actions in addition to the breadth of work the Union is doing to ensure better wages and benefits for their members, with the goal of dramatically reforming the industry for its long-term survival.
“I’ve provided in-home care to several of my family members over the past 20 years. Throughout that time, I’ve also been forced to endure periods of homelessness because of the low wages offered to in-home caregivers,” said Tracy Mills Jones, an in-home caregiver in Los Angeles County. “An increase in my pay would mean that I’d be able to get off government assistance and pay off my home. That is why the ‘Time for $20’ campaign is so important to me and the thousands of other in-home caregivers across California.”
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.