Madera County Home Health Care Workers Ask for Improved Benefits, Wages
Dozens of Madera County workers who provide home health care for elderly and disabled county residents held a protest on Friday to demand improved benefits and wages, the Fresno Bee reports. The workers, paid with a combination of federal, state and county funds, protested their $6.75-per-hour wages outside the county Department of Social Services office. They also asked the county to establish an In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority, which would allow the county's 1,094 home health care workers to unionize and bargain for improved wages and benefits. Pam Whalen of Service Employees International Union Local 250, which could represent the workers in contract negotiations, said, "We reasonably expect to get $9.50 an hour for them." Unionized home health care workers in Northern California receive between $8.50 and $10 per hour, Whalen said. County supervisors could vote on an ordinance that would establish an In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority by the end of the month, according to Hubert Walsh, director of the county social services department. He said, "We're moving along in the process, but I'm sure it's not at the speed the bargaining unit would like." Walsh said that "it's too early to tell how much money will be available" to provide wage increases for home health care workers, the Bee reports. "I don't know what the financial picture looks like yet, but the supervisors are going to be negotiating with a variety of bargaining groups. I don't think we're opposed to having folks get paid more money. We'd like to see all the county's employees get a raise," Walsh added (Leedy, Fresno Bee, 9/7).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.