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Homecare Workers to Supervisors: Preserve Care of our Most Vulnerable
Date:9/25/2007

Caregivers Ask Yolo County Board to Access State Funding

WOODLAND, Calif., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Homecare workers urged the Yolo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to increase funding for In-Home Supportive Services, in order to protect the lifesaving care they provide to low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

Workers represented by SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West are currently in negotiations with the county for a new contract to cover the 1,300 homecare workers in Yolo County. Under their existing contract, workers lack basic benefits like sick time, vacation, or retirement -- all of which are provided to other county employees.

"We do this work because we care deeply about the welfare of our consumers," said Donna Ickes, a homecare worker who spoke at the board meeting. "But it gets harder and harder when we're barely paid enough to take care of our own families, and we can't get time off for illness or plan for our retirement. I work seven days a week. It's time for the county to show how much they value the care we provide."

Maintaining adequate funding for homecare preserves the independence of these residents while saving taxpayer dollars. The care provided by IHSS workers is often the only thing keeping low-income care recipients from having to move into assisted-living facilities, which would cost state and county governments significantly more money.

The recently approved state budget includes funding to provide wage increases to IHSS caregivers, who currently earn just $10.50 an hour. The money for those raises can only be accessed if the board approves an increase.

The 145,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest hospital and healthcare union in the western United States and represents every type of healthcare worker, including nurses, professional, technical and service classifications. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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