In-home Care Providers—Primarily Women of Color—Win Wage Increase in Union Contract with Monterey County

Press Contact:
Terry Carter, 213 , uies
November 17, 2021
Posted in Press

Significant Wins Include Expanded Access and Enhanced funding for Health Care, Increased Safety Equipment Funding, and Wage Increases That Signify Clear Step on Path to $20 Wage Floor

Monterey County, CA–The in-home supportive services (IHSS) caregivers of SEIU Local 2015 reached a tentative agreement on their Union contract with Monterey County. Union members are now voting on the agreement. Following the Union vote, The Monterey County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote to  approve the agreement. Caregivers at the bargaining table lifted up their tumultuous experiences during the past year-and-a-half to push forward the critical improvements needed in the workplace.  Members worked tirelessly to bring the workforce closer to fair compensation and additional protection, contributing to their ongoing efforts to transform essential, skilled caregiver jobs into good jobs. This contract brings them a significant step closer, with investment in adequate PPE, the elimination of a healthcare waiting list, and a wage increase that finally recognizes that these jobs should not be minimum wage jobs. The contract promises wages that will stay $2.74 above the California Minimum Wage as the minimum wage rises from year to year..

“This contract is a monumental win not only for In-Home Supportive Services members in Monterey County, but statewide, as the momentum for a $20 an hour industry wage floor grows,” said SEIU Local 2015 Executive Vice President Dereck Smith. “Our members tirelessly work to protect and serve the elderly and our clients with disabilities, despite the difficulties and long hours that they face every day. We’re grateful that the County has finally recognized that these members deserve higher wages and benefits so they can best provide quality care.”

“This was my second time serving on our Bargaining Team and it definitely felt different this time,” said Adriana Mendoza de Pena, a care provider in Marina. “The county’s negotiators really listened to us this time as we told them about our love for the work and our personal struggles to care for ourselves and our families. I personally know many care providers who ensure the health of their consumers while suffering without healthcare for themselves—several of them with serious health problems. With this agreement, our Bargaining Team will erase the current waiting list for health coverage. And I’m really proud that by standing together we were able to double the county’s investment in PPE—the only masks my consumers and I had at the beginning of the pandemic were the ones I sewed together.”

Since January 2020, SEIU Local 2015 has worked with counties and nursing homes across the State of California to win more than 80 contracts, securing better pandemic safety, important COVID-19 and other trainings, improved wages and benefits, and a voice in the care its members provide. 

“​​We’re encouraged that this win brings us closer to the $20 wage floor for all long-term care providers – this contract brings critical increases to hourly wages and in three years it will either be $17.74 or $2.74 above the minimum wage, whichever is higher,” SEIU Local 2015 President April Verrett. “The dedication to our Time for $20 campaign has propelled Union members at bargaining tables across the state to raise standards in the industry, including access to healthcare, professional training, on-the-job safety, and secure retirement.”

In addition to the wage increase, other notable wins in this contract include:

  • Personal Protective Equipment
    The contract doubles the amount of money the Public Authority will give the Union to purchase safety equipment for Monterey County IHSS Providers. The amount annual amount increases to $10,000 from $5,000.
  • Healthcare
    The contract immediately increases to $.66 an hour from $.48 on healthcare which eliminates the waiting list and creates a buffer for future additional enrollment.
  • Payment for Future Negotiating Committees
    The contract will guarantee payment for future negotiating committees. In the past, the County paid for bargaining committee members who were county workers but not IHSS care givers.

To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.