CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: Home Care Workers Get Long-Awaited Raise
Contra Costa County home care workers are set to receive a hefty pay boost in January thanks to an agreement reached Tuesday by county and union officials. Hourly wages for the county's 4,000 in-home support service workers will increase by 22%, from $5.75 per hour to $7.02 per hour, making them the second highest paid care givers in the state behind those in San Francisco. "It doesn't sound like a lot to many people. But to these workers making $5.75 an hour, it will make a difference in their lives," Sal Rosselli, president of the Service Employees International Union Local 250, said. Supervisor John Gioia said the raises were necessary to counteract high turnover rate and a "decline in the quality of care for clients trying to remain in their homes rather than go into nursing homes." He noted, "Clearly at the salary (caregivers) were paid, they were underpaid and overworked. It was not as much as we wanted to pay them, but it was as much as we could pay given the uncertainty of state funding." That funding depends on the fate of AB 16, which, if approved, would increase state contributions to the In-Home Support Services program, and could boost workers' wages even higher, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The contract's one-year term will allow union officials to negotiate other points next year, including medical benefits. The tentative agreement ends the SEIU's long struggle to organize caregivers in Contra Costa County. County officials had initially declined providing the union with the names of county caregivers. Rosselli said, "It's a giant step for a first-time contract." Union members will vote by mail on the proposed contract, with results slated to be tallied Dec. 3 (Tansey, 11/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.