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Obama Administration Rules Against California's Proposed Wage Cuts to Homecare Workers

OAKLAND, Calif., May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a major victory for California's 250,000 In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS) workers and the 440,000 seniors and people with disabilities who rely on IHSS for daily care, the Obama Administration has ruled that proposed cuts to the IHSS program violate the terms of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ruling came after the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its California affiliates, SEIU UHW and SEIU Local 6434, requested an opinion from Health and Human Services on whether California's proposed cuts violate the maintenance of effort clause of the ARRA.

Citing a $40 billion budget deficit, the California State Legislature voted as part of its budget to lower its contribution toward homecare worker wages by a staggering 20 percent. The cuts that would lower the State's contribution from $11.50 to $9.50 per hour are scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2009. However, under the terms of ARRA, states are blocked from reducing funding for existing services.

"The Obama Administration has made it clear that the State cannot cut the homecare workers' wages. Now we need our counties to follow suit and take all the cuts off the table," said SEIU Executive Vice President and SEIU UHW Trustee, Eliseo Medina.

"I am glad that President Obama stood up for us," said Greg Price, a homecare worker and SEIU UHW member in Fresno County. "Now it is up to the County to stand up for workers like me."

ARRA has already made available close to $2 billion of the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) promised to California. The funding provides much needed financial assistance for counties struggling with huge budget deficits.

California's In-Home Supportive Services program provides vital services to many of California's most vulnerable citizens. The services provided by Homecare workers allow the elderly and people with disabilities to remain safely in their homes, reducing the need for more restrictive and costly institutional care - resulting in more than $1 billion in annual savings to the State of California.

SEIU UHW represents more than 150,000 healthcare workers across California and our members provide first-rate care to millions of Californians. We are a proud affiliate of the 2 million+ member Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Learn more at

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