Fresno Bee Examines Debate over Wage Increases for Fresno County Home Health Care Workers
The Fresno Bee today examines the debate over salary increases for home health care workers in Fresno County who participate in the In-Home Supportive Services program. This summer, home care workers in the county joined Service Employees International Union Local 250 and in June began negotiating with county officials for a contract that would increase wages from $6.75 per hour to $9.50 per hour and would provide health benefits. Home health care workers say they are underpaid and that they save taxpayers money by keeping their clients out of expensive nursing homes. Fresno County home health care workers point to some northern California counties, where home health workers recently received pay increases and now earn between $8.50 and $10 per hour. In addition, Los Angeles County last week granted a 75-cent-per-hour pay increase for home health care workers. SEIU 250 Union Organizer Pam Whalen said the state has "given assurances" that it will reimburse the county for higher home care worker wages, as well as health benefits. However, the Bee reports that those payments could be deferred for up to three years. According to county Supervisor Susan Anderson, if the state deferred payments, the county would need to use its reserves or redirect money from other services to cover the cost of the salary increase. "We're supportive of the program, but the state and the federal governments haven't given us a way of handling the rapidly increasing costs," county Administrator Bart Bohn said (Davis, Fresno Bee, 10/7).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.