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New Alameda County IHSS Contract Sends Clear Message to Elected Leaders That Homecare Program Must Remain a California Priority
Date:12/17/2009

OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, SEIU ULTCW (United Long Term Care Workers' Union) announced that Alameda County In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS) providers have overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new contract with the County that adds multiple layers of protection to the current homecare provider wage and benefit levels, as well as granting additional contract improvements.

"As several Counties are joining the Governor's desire to slash homecare provider wages to as low as minimum wage, Alameda County is sending a clear message to state legislators and other county supervisors that we must all maintain our commitment to our seniors, people with disabilities and those who care for them," said Brenda Jackson, SEIU ULTCW Bargaining Team member.

"The homecare program provides a vital lifeline service to thousands of low-income seniors and people with disabilities," said Alice Lai-Bitker, President of the Alameda Board of Supervisors. "Even in the most difficult of financial times, the homecare program must remain a county and state priority."

The new contract continues an hourly wage of $11.50 and ensures that the County's contribution toward caregiver wages and benefits is maintained if for any reason the Courts rule that the State can cut its contribution to minimum wage. If that were to occur, Alameda County homecare wages would not drop any lower than $10.20 an hour. In addition, the new contract assists workers in keeping their health benefits for five months if State cuts place them below the eligibility threshold.

"The need for the homecare program does not change based on the state's budget. In fact, the need will only continue to grow as our population ages," said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU ULTCW. "This contract helps ensure that these services continue and that caregivers are able to feed their families while continuing to do this valuable work."

"Alameda County is dedicated to ensuring that homecare services are not interrupted due to the state's fiscal crisis," said Alameda County Supervisor and Board Vice President Nate Miley. "After all, the homecare program not only provides a vital service to low-income seniors and people with disabilities, it does so while saving taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Why would we ever cut such a program?"

The IHSS program (more commonly known as 'homecare') serves approximately 17,000 low-income Alameda County seniors and people with disabilities at a fraction of the cost of institutional care. Caregivers assist IHSS recipients with their most basic daily tasks such as bathing and hygiene, meal preparation to prevent malnutrition, domestic chores that help prevent falls, and ensuring that they get to doctors visits on time and remember to take medication.

The new contract takes effect immediately and expires in September of 2013.

SEIU ULTCW - the United Long Term Care Workers' Union - represents 180,000 nursing home and county homecare providers throughout California. For more information, please visit www.SEIU-ULTCW.org.

SOURCE SEIU ULTCW


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SOURCE SEIU ULTCW
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