HOME HEALTH CARE: Workers March for Higher Pay, Benefits
Hundreds of government-paid home health care workers and their patients took to the streets yesterday, marching through downtown Los Angeles demanding a pay increase and health benefits. The protestors vowed to "escalate their actions," unless state lawmakers agree to a substantial pay hike. Los Angeles' 72,000 unionized workers currently earn $6.25 per hour and do not receive health insurance. Gov. Gray Davis (D) has proposed a $0.35 increase each year for the next five years, but workers are calling for an "immediate jump to $7.50 per hour plus health insurance." Leaders of the Service Employees International Union argue that part of California's projected multibillion-dollar surplus should be used to increase home care workers' wages, "particularly because those workers allow patients to stay home rather than move to more costly state facilities." Davis is expected to release a revised budget plan early next week and union officials are optimistic that it will include funding for higher wages (Cleeland, Los Angeles Times, 5/10).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.