Why home care workers in Fresno County want better wages, benefits

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno County home care workers rallied on Tuesday at a meeting of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to call for better wages and healthcare benefits, according to officials with the organizers’ union SEIU Local 2015.

SEIU Local 2015 says Fresno County’s current In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) home care providers’ wages are only $16.60 an hour – with a $0.85 health benefit contribution. They say the board threatens to completely remove healthcare coverage in order to bring their offer of a $0.15 raise to $0.85.

NEGOTIATIONS: What is Fresno County offering the long-term care provider union?

The Fresno IHSS providers are members of SEIU Local 2015. They say the long-term care workers in Fresno County are struggling to make ends meet, prompting many to leave the long-term care industry altogether. The union adds that this comes as Fresno County faces a shortage of care providers.

In 2023, according to officials with the union, more than 626,000 authorized care hours went unused, indicating a lack of providers and care that older adults and those with disabilities needed.

The union adds that a livable wage would help caregivers, often women of color, to support themselves and their families.

The union officials state a recent poll of in-home care workers in Fresno County found that more than 80% of IHSS providers reported working multiple jobs, 42% of IHSS providers experience consistent food insecurity, needing to rely on CalFresh and/or food banks, nearly 55% of IHSS providers have difficult paying their mortgage or rent each month, and more than 55% of IHSS providers are sometimes unable to access medication because they can’t afford the cost of prescriptions.

“IHSS home care providers must be paid and treated as the essential workers that they are. These workers are the backbone of our community, yet they’re struggling to survive,” said Arnulfo De La Cruz, President of SEIU Local 2015.

YourCentralValley.com reached out to Fresno County officials for comment, but they say comments on bargaining details will not be provided while the negotiation with SEIU Local 2015 is ongoing.

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