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Thousands Gather in Downtown Los Angeles to Protest Drastic Cuts to State's Homecare Program

Crowd sends a clear message to the Governor and Legislators that these cuts must be stopped as they will put lives at risk!

LOS ANGELES, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 5,000 homecare providers, care recipients, disability and senior advocates joined other concerned Californians today in a rally in front of the California State building in Downtown Los Angeles to speak out against the Governor's proposed cuts to the state's homecare program as laid out in his May Revise budget.

Closing down streets, rally participants sent a clear message to Governor Schwarzenegger and Sacramento legislators that cuts to the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, which delivers care to more than 400,000 seniors and people with disabilities, will not be tolerated.

"Shame on the governor for turning his back on hundreds of thousands of Californians--including the hardworking caregivers who care for our state's most vulnerable people," stated Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). "The governor's proposed cuts to homecare are cruel and inhumane, forcing workers into poverty and seniors and people with disabilities out of their homes and communities. The governor is wrong and we won't stand for it."

Under Governor Schwarzenegger's recent May Revise budget, homecare worker wages would be slashed to minimum wage ($8.00), essential hours of care would be eliminated, and limitations would be placed on access to the homecare program. Such cuts would place the lives of our parents, grandparents and children with disabilities at risk.

"Cutting a program that saves taxpayers money and brings millions of Federal dollars into the state's economy simply doesn't make 'cents'," said John Ronches, Trustee of SEIU Local 6434. "The Governor says he wants to save $200 million dollars by cutting IHSS, yet by doing so he is saying NO THANK YOU to nearly $700 million in Federal funds that will be left on the table."

The IHSS program delivers quality care to those in need while saving California taxpayers millions of dollars annually as the program is approximately eight times less expensive than institutional care. Additionally, the program draws down Federal funding that covers a majority of program costs.

"Cutting the IHSS program doesn't help California's financial problems, it only makes things worse," stated Rob Robbins, a Los Angeles County Homecare Provider. "These cuts not only place hundreds of thousands of lives at risk, they're fiscally irresponsible and work against the goal of solving our state's budget problems."

Today's rally is the first of many events to take place over the next several weeks to raise awareness of these dangerous cuts and their impact on our most vulnerable residents and those who care for them.

SEIU Local 6434 represent over 174,000 homecare and nursing home workers throughout California.

SOURCE Service Employees International Union Local 6434
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