Tulare County long-term care workers—primarily women of color—held public comments at Board of Supervisors office for livable wages and adequate healthcare.

Press Contact:
Terry Carter, 213 uies
May 14, 2024

Amidst a growing provider shortage, caregivers are leaving the industry for better paying jobs

Tulare County, CA Today, Tulare In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers and members of SEIU Local 2015 — the nation’s largest long-term care union and California’s largest labor union representing more than 470,000 nursing home workers and home care providers — held public comments at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to continue to call for fair livable wages and access to adequate healthcare benefits.

The IHSS program in Tulare county is in crisis. Long-term care workers in Tulare are struggling to make ends meet, prompting many to leave the long term care industry altogether. One in five home care providers say they may leave the industry, citing low wages and lack of benefits. Last year, there were more than 324,000 unused authorized care hours, meaning that folks who needed care could not get a provider. 10,000 people across the country turn 65 every day—as the aging population accelerates, we need to retain and invest in our long term care providers. Approximately 75% of IHSS caregivers report being underpaid for the essential work that they do. A wage increase for Tulare caregivers will help them support themselves and their families, as well as attract and retain the caregivers that the county’s families desperately need.

A recent poll of in-home care workers in Tulare County underscored the urgent challenges that many of these essential workers face. Some of the distressing findings include:  

  • Nearly 63% of IHSS providers in Tulare County reported having difficulty paying their mortgage or rent each month, reporting that they are sometimes or always late with their payments.
  • More than 40% of IHSS providers in Tulare County currently rely on public assistance programs like CalFresh and MediCal on low poverty wages.
  • Just over 80% of IHSS providers in Tulare County reported working multiple jobs – at least some of the time – to make ends meet. 
  • More than 77% of IHSS providers reported living with either a partner or family members and one in three providers say their home is overcrowded.

With caregiving wages and benefits becoming stagnant in recent years, caregivers will continue to leave the industry for jobs with rising wages in food and beverage and other sectors that meet the skyrocketing cost of living unless the Tulare Board of Supervisors takes action. Fair compensation will better support both the providers and the individuals they care for.

“The work requires skill sets that only human touch and empathy can bring. It comes naturally to me. It’s something I really love doing. I think about it this way: when I get really old someday, or if I somehow got disabled, I’d want to be cared for by someone who actually cares. This is what I need Tulare County Board of Supervisors to think about when it’s their turn in life,” said Thomas Magana, a Tulare County IHSS provider and an SEIU 2015 member. Read Thomas’ full story here:

“My electric bill is $200. I can’t fully cover the electric bill, so I’m only able to pay off half; I’m constantly back paying and hoping they don’t cut off my lights. I’ve filed for assistance with the county, but they’ve denied me. I don’t even qualify for food stamps, even though I need them and they’d help a lot.” said Maria Paredez, a Tulare County IHSS provider and an SEIU 2015 member. Read Maria’s full story here: https://medium.com/@SEIU2015/care-providers-with-illnesses-like-mine-work-hard-so-why-cant-we-get-tulare-county-to-work-hard-62f2e5a43033

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 Tulare County 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.

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