Sonoma home care providers — mostly women — appeal to Supervisors for higher wages and solutions to county caregiver shortage 

Press Contact:
Mara Ortenburger, marao@seiu2015.org510-410-2997
April 16, 2024

Sonoma County, CA – Sonoma County In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers of SEIU Local 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union representing nearly 470,000 caregivers across California rallied at the Board of Supervisors meeting for higher pay, improved benefits, and solutions to the county’s caregiver shortage. 

In 2023, over 1 million authorized hours went unused in Sonoma County, indicating a serious shortage of caregivers for recipients who need and qualify for in-home care. Low wages have contributed to this shortage with providers making only $17.35 an hour in a county where the estimated living wage is $27.15 for one adult with no children. Adding just one child, that cost of living jumps to $49.33. 

Sonoma County’s hourly wage lags behind other counties in the region: San Francisco County home care providers are on a path to earn $25.50 by 2027, and Napa County home care workers recently negotiated a wage of $20.80.

“We are asking the Board of Supervisors to make caring for older adults and community members with disabilities a priority. Counties near Sonoma pay IHSS workers at least $20, and we have to ask ourselves what kind of community we want to live in? Sonoma is an aging community and everyone is going to need care,” said Lorna Bingham-Schrader who has been an IHSS provider for 11 years.  

In Sonoma County, the population of adults 60 and older is expected to increase by 145% from 2010 to 2060. Across the country roughly 10,000 people turn 65 every day. As the number of older adults and people with disabilities who require in-home care continues to grow, it is critical that we attract more people to this workforce (and retain them).

“We have 6,000 providers here in Sonoma County and many don’t have health care. It’s a huge disservice to the home care workers that health care isn’t afforded to all of us,” said Amanda Carles who has been a Marin County IHSS provider since 1995. 

“Sonoma County providers 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 the Board of Supervisors invests in the infrastructure of care and gives providers the contract they need to not only survive but to thrive,” said Arnulfo De La Cruz, President of SEIU Local 2015

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 can access the care they need in the comfort of their own homes.

Sonoma County providers will continue raising their voices, showing up at meetings, and sharing their stories until they get the wages they deserve. Follow campaign developments here

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