Backdropped by a giant banner listing basics they can’t afford, members of SEIU 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union representing more than 400,000 long-term care workers in California, rallied for a $20 per hour living wage floor and improved healthcare and training for essential in-home caregivers.
Los Angeles, CA, Tuesday, April 19th – Today, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers—joined by their supporters, including Los Angeles Councilmember Marqueece Harris Dawson and allies from the L.A. County Federation of Labor and Community Coalition—rallied at the Los Angeles 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. These essential frontline heroes look after vulnerable Californians every day, ensuring they receive the care and dignity they deserve in the comfort of their own homes. At the same time, more than 30% of IHSS providers in California are forced to work multiple jobs because the pay from in-home caregiving is not enough to make ends meet.
As a result of their unjust wages, these essential home care workers struggle to afford everyday necessities such as daycare, doctor visits, clean water, groceries, and more. These day-to-day imperative items were listed on a large banner highlighting “Things I often can’t afford…”—drawing attention to the challenges of supporting a family without a $20 per hour living wage floor.
Elected and government officials in Los Angeles County and across the state have praised in-home caregivers for their heroic role in caring for California’s homebound residents during the pandemic. However, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has declined to act on their words, refusing to approve a modest wage increase.
“In-home caregivers look after our family members, friends, and loved ones, and our members will not stop fighting until they are recognized appropriately for the indispensable role they serve in our communities,” said April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015. “With the number of Californians in need of in-home care continuing to grow, government officials in Los Angeles and across the state need to act immediately to prevent any more caregivers from leaving the industry. Increasing the pay of these essential frontline heroes will put money back into our communities, while also ensuring our homebound neighbors receive the care they deserve.”
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 inadequate healthcare and training 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.
Increasing the pay of caregivers would not only better support these frontline heroes, but also 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 Los Angeles County would support nearly 12,000 new jobs, generate more than $708M in additional labor income, and generate an additional $2.1B in economic output.
“In-home caregivers and SEIU 2015 members are calling on the Los Angeles 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 Dereck Smith. “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 crisis facing the broader long-term care community—both in private homes and in nursing homes in California – including recent demonstrations at both the Los Angeles and Alameda County Board of Supervisors offices in support of the “Time for $20” campaign. Nationally, more than 400,000 long-term care providers have left the industry since the pandemic began. Recently, SEIU Local 2015 proposed a statewide Quality Standards Board to oversee California’s troubled nursing home industry.
Dozens of IHSS caregivers and SEIU members—including Tracy, Tanya, Anthony, Kishan, and Latriya—participated in the rally and shared their own stories about the importance of the “Time for $20” campaign for caregivers across California.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.