In-Home Care Providers – Mostly Women of Color – Win Substantive Wage Increases in Contract with Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz County to Support Wages Remaining at Least $1.55 Above Minimum Wage Among Other Protections
Santa Cruz, CA – The in-home supportive services (IHSS) caregivers of SEIU Local 2015 ratified their Union contract with Santa Cruz this week on August 24, 2021. The long and often strenuous fight to protect the basic rights of caregivers culminated in significant wins in wage increases. The newest contract sets wages at $17.75 by January of next year, maintaining a future wage of at least $1.55 above minimum wage for caregivers.
“Today’s modern homecare system has roots that go back to the enslaved Blacks and poor immigrants—almost always women—who took care of day-to-day household needs,” said SEIU Local 2015 President April Verrett. “The unscrupulous heritage has had long term effects on this underpaid and undervalued workforce. But that stops here. Through the caregivers’ work at the bargaining table advocating for wage increases, caregivers within the county who previously earned $14.21 an hour will now earn $15.75 an hour as approved by the County on Tuesday, marking huge strides in upending wage disparities.”
“I am most excited about the increase in the hourly wage,” says bargaining team member, Sarah Spalding. “The fact that the increase is approximately 25% is a win for Santa Cruz caregivers and a huge step toward the $20 wage we’re working so hard to secure for all long-term care providers.”
In addition to the wage increase, caregivers at the bargaining table were able to preserve and protect healthcare, vision and dental benefits for all providers who work 80 hours per month or more, with no change in cost to the Provider.
“The strong agreement we’ve reached with the County is a milestone testament to our members’ tireless fight to protect the basic rights In-Home Supportive Services deserve,” says SEIU Local 2015 Executive Vice President Dereck Smith. “These workers’ contributions caring for their elderly, disabled clients and their families is indispensable. The way their county recognizes that needs to be reflected in liveable wages and adequate protections.”
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.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.
Representing over 400,000 long term care workers (home care, skilled nursing facility, and assisted living center workers), SEIU Local 2015 is the largest union in California. Its members are as diverse as the state’s population and united in their commitment to caring for California’s most vulnerable: seniors and the disabled.