Increased Wages Climb to $.65 Above Minimum Wage, a Clear Step on the Path to $20 Wage Floor.
Other Provisions in Agreement Include Healthcare Protections, Funding for Pandemic Safety Equipment, Professional Training and more
Lake County, CA–The in-home supportive services (IHSS) caregivers of SEIU Local 2015 reached a tentative agreement on their Union contract with Lake County on September 17th after months of often emotional negotiations. 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 important caregiver training and a wage increase that finally recognizes that these jobs should not be minimum wage jobs.
Union members carried out a four year fight to reach this two-year agreement, so that members’ wages will increase to $15.65 in January. The contract also creates a $5,000 training fund managed by the Union to develop and run trainings on a variety of caregiving-related topics, and a $5,000 Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) fund managed by the Union. The contract takes effect when ratified by Union members and adopted by the Board of the Public Authority. It will remain in full force and effect until December 31, 2023
“This contract win is yet another critical improvement for not only In-Home Supportive Services members in Lake County, but statewide,” said SEIU Local 2015 Executive Vice President Arnulfo De La Cruz.“Our members are relentless in their fight to protect and serve our elderly and clients with disabilities, despite the desperately needed changes in working conditions they deal with every day. We’re grateful that the County has finally recognized these needs to ensure our members can properly and safely provide quality care.”
“This contract took four years of bargaining with the county,” said Simone Tatman, an IHSS provider in Lake County. “It feels good that we were finally heard. We’ve been through a lot, and the pandemic just made it worse. In addition to the wage increase, we won funding for PPE and CPR training—both so important right now. The only reason I had masks at the beginning of the COVID outbreak is because the Union was able to get us some. But it was still hard to find sanitizer. And for providers who have three or four clients, having fresh PPE gets expensive, so this will really help.”
Since January 2020, SEIU Local 2015 has worked with counties and nursing homes across the state of California to ratify 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.
“This contract increases hourly wages to permanently remain $.65 above minimum wage effective January 1, 2022,” SEIU Local 2015 President April Verrett. “These improvements are a huge step toward the $20 wage floor for all long-term care providers. The change is a testament to our continued mission behind our Time for $20 campaign. These efforts are propelled by 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:
Annually, the Public Authority will give the Union $5,000 to purchase safety equipment for Lake County IHSS Providers.
The Public Authority will provide the Union with $5,000 annually to develop and run trainings on various topics including universal precautions, infection control, CPR, basic first aid, proper lifting techniques, symptoms of heart attack, symptoms of stroke, symptoms of diabetic coma, or working with patients who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, mental health issues, and autism.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.