“This is beyond shameful” — County stiffs home care workers
Impartial Fact Finder Recommends Raising Wages for County IHSS Caregivers
Supes reject rec, keeping pay at $8/hour
Eureka, California – After months of efforts to bargain a historic first wage increase for County IHSS Caregivers, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors (acting as the Governing Board of the IHSS Public Authority) rejected a Fact Finder’s recommendation to increase wages for over 1,400 County IHSS homecare workers. The Fact Finder understood the urgency and growing health care crisis facing the residents of Humboldt County. The Fact Finder referred to his ruling as “fair and equitable,” stating that the reasons for his ruling were “numerous.”
“This is beyond shameful, it is offensive and says more about their commitment to turn their backs on our County’s most vulnerable and the Caregivers who change adult diapers,” said County IHSS Caregiver Antoinette Skiles when she learned of the Supervisor’s response to the Fact Finding Report. “We use money out of our own pockets to care for people who would most likely be in nursing homes without us. We love the people we care for and that’s why we do it. But we shouldn’t be punished because we have a heart,” she added.
In his ruling, the Fact Finder emphasized that, “The County clearly has the ability to pay the modest increases sought,” and that the homecare workforce, which is comprised primarily of women and minorities, is paid significantly less than every other County employee. Many facts included in the Fact Finding Report, such as the Supervisor’s willingness to increase their own salaries while homecare wages remained stagnant over the years, were accentuated by a recommendation that stated, “When it came to the issue of wages and healthcare benefits for care providers, the Union makes the more compelling case.”
The two day Fact Finding Hearing covered an exhaustive amount of data and testimony from County Caregivers, recipients and university professors Eileen Boris and Candace Howes. Both Boris and Howes are national experts on long-term care whose efforts have been used to influence national, state and County long-term care legislation. After reviewing documents and testimony from the County and CUHW, the Fact Finder awarded his decision: Humboldt County IHSS Caregivers deserved better.
Last Tuesday the Board of Supervisors met in closed session to discuss the Fact Finding Report, ultimately not only refusing to implement the report’s recommendation but also attempting to discredit the Fact Finder in the process. In an official statement released on behalf of the County IHSS Public Authority the County claimed that the Fact Finder “misunderstood” important concepts during the hearing. In that same official statement, the County repeated that its refusal to grant a wage increase to County IHSS Caregivers was, “due to the County’s finances,” this despite admitting during the Fact Finding hearing that it in fact had budgeted enough to provide the requested wage increase.
The Supervisor’s recent rejection of the Fact Finder’s recommendation follows their rejection of a mediated settlement proposal last July that also called for a wage increase for County IHSS Caregivers. CUHW has filed an Unfair Labor Practice against the County and will continue its efforts to work with the residents of Humboldt County to achieve justice for its most vulnerable populations and those who care for them.
Call the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors (707.476.2396) today and tell them: The facts don’t lie. Implement the IHSS Fact Finder’s Recommendations and be fair to those who care. End the shame of minimum wage:
View the Fact Finder’s entire Report and Recommendation at: http://co.humboldt.ca.us/publicinfo/docs/2012-09-25_h12-079-factfinding–cuhw-humboldt.pdf
View the Board of Supervisors press release at:
California United Homecare Workers
AFSCME/SEIU Local 4034
2484 Natomas Park Drive #101
Sacramento, CA 95833
(916) 239-3988 office
(213) 300-1542 cell