Sacramento, CA – Today, members of SEIU Local 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union and California’s largest labor union representing nearly 450,000 nursing home workers and home care providers, are holding a rally with SEIU Local 2015 Executive Vice President Kim Evon. Sacramento County IHSS workers are demanding adequate healthcare benefits and livable wages—critical issues as demand for care surges, which the Sacramento Board of Supervisors has refused to address.
IHSS workers are calling upon the Sacramento Board of Supervisors to take decisive action to ensure nobody goes without the life-saving care they need. This starts with paying IHSS caregivers $20 an hour to attract and retain caregivers. Some are even leaving the long term care industry altogether. With volatile economic conditions and inflation continuing to make it more difficult for working families to live in California, these issues threaten to exacerbate the already significant staffing challenges affecting the state’s long-term care system.
This is on top of an already existing shortage: last year, more than 2.1 million authorized care hours went unused in Sacramento County, indicating a lack of providers for seniors and people with disabilities who desperately need them. This shortage of care providers means people aren’t getting the care they need.
Additionally, across the country roughly 10,000 people turn 65 every day. As this number of older adults and people with disabilities who require in-home care continues to grow in California, it is critical that we attract more to this workforce (and retain them).
“These dedicated workers put themselves on the front lines every day, caring for older adults and those with disabilities, yet they don’t earn the livable wages they need. It’s time for policymakers to finally recognize the important nature of in-home care by giving our providers these crucial benefits and paying them livable wages,” said Arnulfo De La Cruz, President of SEIU Local 2015.
SEIU Local 2015’s Economic Indicator Survey of its caregiver members found that 85.6% of home care providers in Sacramento report working multiple jobs to make ends meet; 61.4% of home care providers in Sacramento are unable to access medication because they can’t afford the cost of prescriptions; 58% of home care providers in Sacramento are prevented from visiting the doctor due to financial concerns; 94.3% of home care providers in Sacramento spend at least 30% of their total income on housing; and 47% of home care providers in Sacramento experience consistent food insecurity, utilizing CalFresh and/or food banks regularly.
Meanwhile, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors recently gave themselves a 36% raise – termed an “equity adjustment” – bringing their annual salaries up to $173,398 as of June 4, 2023. At the same time, they’ve cynically held care providers’ healthcare hostage, indicating in negotiations that the only way to increase wages is to accept cuts to their already-meager health coverage.
SEIU Local 2015 is committed to advocating for policies that support in-home care providers and those they care for, including livable wages and benefits, as well as access to training and professional development opportunities. We urge the Board of Supervisors to work with us to address these pressing issues and ensure that all who qualify have access to the care they need and deserve in the comfort of their own homes.
Participating SEIU members will be available on-site for interviews and can speak to today’s action.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.