Ventura County home care workers—mostly women of color —will rally to raise visibility at Board of Supervisors meeting for livable wages and healthcare on the eve of Juneteenth

Press Contact:
DKC News,
June 18, 2024

Ventura County, CA – Today, Ventura County 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, rallied at the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to demand fair, livable wages. 

Ahead of Juneteenth, IHSS care providers are raising visibility to play a key role in strengthening their contracts by sharing their stories to address wage disparities and help to advocate for improved working conditions for women of color, who make up the majority of the caregiving workforce and to commemorate the holiday as a push for equality and fair treatment. 

In California, in-home care workers are 80% women and 74% people of color. This visibility action is to raise the need for continued progress for racial and economic justice against systemic economic challenges for IHSS care providers who do the backbreaking and emotionally taxing care work for sub-livable wages as an antiquated relic of our nation’s extreme history of slavery.

Ventura County IHSS care providers are in the process of negotiating a contract that includes livable wages, crucial for recognizing the valuable work they provide and improving their financial security. The current Ventura County IHSS wage—$18.25 an hour—is only 65.3% of the living wage for a one-person household in Ventura County. Even more alarming, the IHSS wage is only 37.44% of the living wage in Ventura County for a household with one child. A wage increase will help caregivers, who are most often women of color, care for themselves and their families without facing heavy financial stress.

A recent SEIU 2015 survey of Ventura County IHSS workers revealed that: 

  • 73.3% of IHSS providers in Ventura County reported working multiple jobs to make ends meet. An IHSS provider working full-time earns, on average, $26,617 a year before taxes, which is insufficient to cover basic essentials, even for a single adult.
  • 60.3% of Ventura IHSS providers reported having difficulty paying their mortgage or rent each month.
  • 1 in 5 Ventura IHSS providers spend more than 75% of their income on housing.
  • Approximately 51% of Ventura IHSS providers reported being sometimes or often unable to access medication because they cannot afford the cost of prescriptions.

One in five home care providers say they may leave the industry, citing low wages and lack of benefits. Increased pay is essential to improving care, retaining current caregivers, and attracting new workers to this vital profession. In 2023, Ventura County had 860,070 unused IHSS hours, meaning many individuals were not able to get the care they needed. The IHSS Program provides services to approximately 7,137 low-income aged, blind, and disabled consumers in a given month in Ventura County and the caseload will continue to grow annually. Ventura County must value and invest in these indispensable workers to ensure a stable and quality care system for its growing elderly population.

Juana Mendez, a Ventura IHSS provider and SEIU 2015 member, exemplifies a dedicated caregiver who struggles with low wages. Despite her hard work, Juana finds it difficult to make a living. She wants the Board of Supervisors to know, “It’s so hard to get by on low poverty wages, but there have been moments when I’ve used my own money to buy toilet paper and some medications for my recipient who needs it.Read Juana’s full story here.

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 Ventura 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 or on social media @SEIU2015