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County homecare workers urge Board of Sups to negotiate wages

‘Negotiate in good faith’

Dear Editor,

I am a caregiver of a young lady who suffers from a brain tumor and has paralysis in half of her body. I assist this person to cope with her disability at home. If I would not provide care for my client at home, she would be institutionalized, costing taxpayers three or four times more money.

Contra Costa County, represented by the Board of Supervisors, decides how much we get paid. Our pay is at a poverty-level wage for the care I provide through the In Home Support Services (IHSS) program. I can barely support myself. On top of that, the Board of Supervisors intend to cut our healthcare insurance.

We are earning $11.50 an hour and we have not had a raise since 2009. Currently, we are represented by SEIU Local 2015, the Long Term Care Workers Union, which represents 315,000 members in California. We are currently in negotiations with the county and they don’t want to give us a decent raise that would allow us to provide better care for the clients.

I urge the Board of Supervisors to negotiate in good faith and give us a living wage raise.

– Maria Vega de Ramos


 

‘Give us a fair raise’

Dear Editor,

I am an IHSS (In Home Support Services) health care provider in Antioch, California.

I’ve been working this field since I was very young. I am 47 years old now. I am finding it really hard to make it on $11.50 an hour. I barely make enough to pay my bills.

Without the raise that we are asking for, it makes it hard to even keep food on the table. I cannot even buy my son a pair of shoes because I never have enough money.

I enjoy working with my clients and they enjoy my company and my work.

I am asking the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to give us a fair raise and keep our health benefits. I am a hard worker and I love what I do as a home care worker. I just need you to understand that without a raise, I wouldn’t be able to afford food for my family.

Please take in consideration the people that work hard and are on time every day to make sure that our clients get the best care they deserve.

– Risa Peoples


 

‘We are valuable’

Dear Editor,

After retirement, baby boomers want to live in their home, not a nursing home. Home care workers make that possible. In the coming years, Contra Costa County will need 50 percent more providers. That increase will not happen at the current pay rate of $11.50. This is unfair to seniors and people with disabilities who need a reliable workforce of providers.

I’ve been a home care worker in Contra Costa County for eight years. I take care of my grandmother. She is 97 years old. I am with her 24 hours. I get paid only 58 hours a month through the IHSS program.

Alameda County’s home care workers are earning $12.50, San Francisco’s $12.25, Santa Clara’s $12.81, San Mateo’s $12.65. Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors needs to give us a decent living wage. It is a shame that the Board of Supervisors from one of the wealthiest counties refuse to line us up along with other counties in the Bay Area.

Home care is an important job, we are valuable to our clients and also the care we provide for them. We make valuable contributions to society and it is time our paychecks reflect that. Investing in home care now will build a better future and a stronger home care system for seniors, people with disabilities, families and workers in Contra Costa County.

– Sylvia Ortiz

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