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More Than 13,000 Home Healthcare Workers, Clients Protest Governor's Cuts

Union Members Gather to Call, Write Letters to Schwarzenegger Expressing


SAN FRANCISCO, June 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An unprecedented number of home healthcare workers rallied Saturday to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed cuts to their hours of service, wages and benefits. These dramatic reductions would force some of California's most vulnerable workers and the people they serve deeper into poverty. It also would force many clients out of their homes and into nursing facilities prematurely.

In San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno, workers, their clients and supporters gathered to write letters and make phone calls urging the governor to lay down his budget ax and pledge to save these vital services for seniors and people with disabilities. Thousands participated in the demand that the governor craft a budget that's fair to all Californians, and encouraged Republican lawmakers to withdraw their support of the latest plan.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provides personal care and domestic services to more than 408,000 seniors and disabled people, enabling them to live in their homes. The program is funded by federal, state and county governments.

In his most recent budget proposal, Schwarzenegger advocated "permanently eliminating domestic and related services" to 84,000 people, or 20 percent of all IHSS recipients.

The governor also wants to slash matching funds for IHSS wages and benefits back to the state minimum wage, which would pressure counties to reduce total compensation for homecare workers from as much as $12.10 an hour in some counties to $8.60 an hour. This is the third time in his tenure the governor has proposed cuts that would force low-wage workers into poverty. Homecare consumers and caregivers defeated similar measures in 2004 and 2005.

"Every day I care for a blind man and a woman with mental disabilities. They're able to live alone, somewhat independently, with my help. Both my consumers would be doomed without services," said Rosie Byers, a homecare worker in San Francisco. "They would both be devastated if they were forced into nursing homes because of these cuts."

The 150,000-member SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the largest and fastest-growing 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.

Mason Stockstill

cell (510) 206-8247


SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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