Tulare County long-term care workers—primarily women of color—showed presence at Board of Supervisors office for livable wages and healthcare

Press Contact:
DKC News
June 25, 2024

Tulare County, CA Today, Tulare In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) 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 — raised visibility and made calls to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors about their expiring contract to continue their call for livable wages and fair compensation for their work.

Long-term care workers 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. Unless these become better jobs, care providers will continue to leave this profession for fast food, warehouse, retail, restaurant and other jobs that have started paying substantially more. 

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.
  • More than half report being unable to visit their doctor due to cost concerns and 60% are unable to get their medications because they can’t afford it.
  • More than 80% of IHSS providers in Tulare County report working multiple jobs to make ends meet. 
  • One in three providers say their home is overcrowded.

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. 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.