Sonoma County Home Care Workers Receive Pay Raise, Health Benefits
Home care workers in Sonoma County's In-Home Supportive Services Program have successfully negotiated higher wages and -- for the first time in the program's 30-year history -- health benefits the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. This summer, some 2,300 county home care workers formed a union, which last month negotiated a contract with program officials. The contract includes a pay increase from $6.75 per hour to $8.50 -- by July, it will rise to $9.50 -- and health and vision coverage. The workers, as well as consumers and patient advocates, said that the new wage, although considered "low ... by county standards," and added benefits will help "attract more workers to the field and improve quality of care." About 45% of the workers care for a family member in the program, which provides in-home care services for low-income people who are uninsured or cannot afford private care. To qualify, patients can make no more than $700 per month and have no more than $2,000 in liquid assets (Swartz, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 2/4).