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Arbitrator Calls Fresno Board of Supervisors' Planned Cuts to Homecare Workers 'Perverse'; Orders Cuts Reduced
Date:4/24/2009

FRESNO, Calif., April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ten thousand homecare workers won a partial victory today as an independent Arbitrator called the Board's financial reasoning behind proposed wage cuts "perverse" and ordered the board to lessen the severity of the cuts from an immediate $1.10 an hour over six months to a smaller cut over a period not shorter than 12 months. The Board of Supervisors passed a new proposal last week to cut healthcare for the workers in addition to their wages.

The arbitrator went further and admitted that "...the IHSS funding presents a fluid situation and with the economic picture still unclear, it is difficult to precisely determine just what shortages will actually exist and how best to restore them."

"We can not, and will not, sit by and watch while the jobs of 10,000 homecare workers are put at risk," said Dave Regan Trustee of SEIU UHW. "The math behind these proposals does not compute. Fresno County is risking $15 million in increased revenue to save $1.3 million immediately. The Federal Stimulus money is on its way to California to avoid exactly this kind of situation."

The cuts were originally set to go into effect in January 2009, but were delayed when the Trustees for SEIU UHW appealed to the arbitrator. The cuts, if not repealed, could go into effect as early as July 1, 2009.

In an ironic and unproductive twist, the Fresno Country Department of Personnel has accepted a petition by a new organization, led by people who were removed from office at SEIU UHW for misusing members' dues money and who failed to prevent the cuts from being proposed in the first place last September.

Background:

  • Fresno County is poised to reap a nearly $3 million refund for past IHSS contributions, to be followed by an additional $12 million over the next two years.
  • Board's decision to slash workers' wages will actually end up costing $15 million dollars. County cuts to homecare workers' wage will result in reducing the amount of money homecare workers are eligible to receive from the federal government and the State.
  • Due to the multiplying effect of that lost income, the City will lose $2.2 million in tax revenue and Fresno area business will lose a whopping $12.6 million in sales revenue.

On NUHW:

  • The leaders of this organization did not take action to stop the cuts that the Board of Supervisors voted on in September.
  • The contract that now covers homecare workers would be null and void.


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SOURCE SEIU UHW
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