A victory in the Union’s statewide campaign to raise wages for these heroes; Trinity County becomes first jurisdiction in California to offer home delivery of critical PPE to care providers
Trinity County, CA – SEIU Local 2015, the nation’s largest long-term care union representing more than 400,000 long-term care workers in California, today announced that In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers in Trinity County have reached a tentative agreement on their Union contract. The full provisions of the contract amount to a more than 15% wage increase for essential in-home care providers in the area over the next three years. In addition, as part of the new agreement, Trinity County will become the first local jurisdiction in California where providers can request that the county deliver PPE directly to their homes, which will dramatically increase provider access to critical protective equipment in remote parts of rural Trinity County.
The term of the agreement is three years, to be implemented as soon as the tentative agreement is approved by all of the parties involved. In the coming weeks, union members will hold a ratification vote. The ratified contract will then go to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors to adopt and pass on to the State for implementation. The union estimates that the new contract will be in effect by October 2022. Upon contract implementation, wages will move from $15.50/hr to $16.10/hr, and to $16.85 in January 2023, with increases reaching $17.85 per hour by January 2025.
“In-home caregivers look after our family members, friends, and loved ones, and our members deserve pay and benefits that accurately reflect the indispensable role they serve in our communities,” said April Verrett, President of SEIU Local 2015. “Today’s announcement is a significant victory for our Time for $20 campaign to increase wages for all long-term care workers across California. We are grateful to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors for hearing our call and taking action, and we look forward to working with them and other government bodies across the state to ensure our essential caregivers are well paid, protected, and respected.”
Today’s victory, however, comes amid a long-term care industry that has been battered by the dual challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-existing labor issues related to poor wages and lack of access to benefits, which has resulted in care providers leaving the profession at unprecedented rates. Recent polling from SEIU Local 2015 shows that one in five in-home caregivers are likely to leave their current position in the coming year, with respondents citing low wages, lack of retirement benefits, and general concerns related to financial security as the primary reasons for their potential departure. Furthermore, more than 30% of IHSS providers in California are forced to work multiple jobs because the pay from in-home caregiving is not enough to make ends meet.
At every step of negotiations, the bargaining team worked with Trinity County officials to prioritize the interests of home care providers and their consumers in budget negotiations, ensuring that the community’s most vulnerable residents will receive the quality care they deserve in the comfort of their own homes.
“This tentative agreement is an important step forward in appropriately recognizing our critical role in the community as essential care providers,” said Marisa Mora, an in-home care provider and single mother in Trinity County who takes care of her seven-year-old daughter. “The wage increase we successfully fought for will ensure that in-home care providers in Trinity County are able to actually purchase a home and establish their roots in the communities where we work. It also means that seniors who have spent a lifetime contributing to the community will be able to receive home care safely in their homes. Our new tentative contract sets aside important funding for educational opportunities and personal protective equipment for caregivers to provide us with the tools to better care for our consumers. But we are still healthcare workers that work without our own healthcare; in future negotiations, we need our county to do more so homecare workers have access to medical benefits.”
Since January 2020, SEIU Local 2015 has worked with counties and nursing homes across the State of California to win more than 85 contracts, securing better pandemic safety, improved wages and benefits, and a voice in the care its members provide.
In addition to the wage increase, other notable wins in this contract include:
- Job/Workforce Development
A fund of nearly $10,000 will be established to provide caregivers with critical training, including: infection control, CPR, first aid, proper lifting techniques, and more.
- Personal Protective Equipment
A fund will be established for PPE, including masks, gloves, gowns, goggles, face shields, antibacterial soap, and disinfectant wipes. As indicated above, Trinity County will become the first local jurisdiction in California where providers can request that the county deliver PPE directly to their homes, which will dramatically increase provider access to critical protective equipment in remote parts of Trinity County.
- Creating a Registry System
Trinity County has agreed to future negotiations with the Union to develop a “backup” provider program in the county, which will help ensure that consumers have improved access to care providers if their regular provider is unable to take care of them.
Over the last two years, SEIU Local 2015 members across California have put their fight to improve the long-term care industry into high gear. Throughout 2022, SEIU Local 2015 members have held multiple state-wide days of action, demonstrating at long-term care facilities across California to highlight the staffing crisis, show support for improved conditions, and to put pressure on those with the power to make the necessary changes. This past March, SEIU Local 2015 proposed a statewide Quality Standards Board to oversee California’s troubled nursing home industry.
To learn more about SEIU Local 2015 visit www.SEIU2015.org or on social media @SEIU2015.