SEIU Local 2015 Demand Actions That Protect Home Care Workers Throughout California
Los Angeles, CA — July 1 — Today, SEIU Local 2015 members across the state united with SEIU members across the country to demand action in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the systemic racism that has long undervalued the essential care provided to seniors and people with disabilities. The California Union is urging California State Officials and Local County Officials to join the Union in building a more equitable industry that supports the state’s most vulnerable – the elderly and disabled.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing short-comings of the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), an industry in need of restructuring long before the current health crisis. The systemic racism built into the system has devalued this work which is done by primarily women and immigrants and led to the unlivable wages of $13.50 or $28,000, annually, for full time workers. The nature of devalued essential work has also contributed to the disparities in COVID-19 deaths among minority communities. Since before the pandemic, SEIU Local 2015 has advocated for change that will establish quality long-term care for all, the protection of its workers, and those they care for.
The inability to unite the State’s patchwork IHSS system has limited the COVID-19 response and the care for elderly residents. In the recent budget vote, the California State Legislature committed to ensure stable funding for hours of care for the state’s low-income seniors and people with disabilities through 2021. This budget change, while commendable, is only step one in adequately addressing the needs of the long term care industry.
The pandemic has exposed the inequities and insufficiencies in the IHSS system. All while the looming threat of the “Silver Tsunami,” California’s growing elederly population, rapidly approaches. By 2030, California’s population over the age of 65 is expected to increase by from 5.2 million to 9 million, resulting in the need for up to 3 million additional IHSS workers. The state must use this time to further invest in the necessary services provided by IHSS workers. This will require an equal investment in wages, paid sick leave, adequate training, and better recruiting, across California’s 58 counties. In order for California to provide funding for adequate wages, training, and hours the state will have to establish revenues that will provide a stable, sustained investment and funding stream to guarantee adequate care to all Californians.
“As we continue to address the disparities exposed by the COVID-19 crisis, it is time to prepare for the next imminent health crisis of our aging population,” said April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015, the state’s largest union representing 400,000 long term care workers. “Even if we invest in these services immediately, we are already behind in preparing for the 73% increase in elderly population and in order to provide safety for California’s most vulnerable we must recognize the work of homecare workers. The time is now to invest in our futures.”
Media opportunities with SEIU Local 2015 and its members are available upon request.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, SEIU Local 2015 members and leaders have continued to address the ongoing needs of people working on the frontlines of our healthcare system and have remained committed to calling on the administration to prioritize the nation’s essential long term care workers.