Stanislaus County, Union Continue Contract Negotiations for Home Health Care Workers
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors last week "rejected its own negotiator's recommendation" to increase home health care workers' wages from $6.95 per hour to $7.11 per hour, a 2% increase, the Modesto Bee reports. In-Home Support Services, Stanislaus County's most expensive social service program, costs about $34 million annually, $6 million of which is paid by the county and the rest is paid by the state. County officials and officials for United Domestic Workers, which represents IHSS, have been negotiating over the workers' contract for nearly a year. The county's Community Services Agency had proposed a one-year contract extension with the 2% hourly pay increase and asked the board of supervisors to declare an impasse, which would have ended the negotiations. Hourly pay would have increased to $7.25 per hour Feb. 1, following the anticipated passage of AB 824, which addresses IHSS workers' wages. In response, supervisors asked CSA to consider creating a public authority to oversee the program, which would qualify for state matching funds of as much as 80 cents for every dollar spent in excess of $7.11 per hour for IHSS workers' wages. However, the union rejected the offer and said that even with the pay raise, IHHS wages in Stanislaus County would be among the lowest in the state for workers with union representation.
"No county that has negotiated a contract with IHSS has offered less than what Stanislaus County is offering. It's a slap in the face," Fahari Jeffers, secretary-treasurer and general counsel for the union, said. Supervisor Tom Mayfield said, "This is a vitally important program, I think we all recognize that. But I don't want this thing to drag on more than it has to." The Bee reports that the county also is waiting to find out if the state has been approved for a federal waiver that would provide an estimated $980,000 to the Stanislaus County IHSS budget (Hood, Modesto Bee, 7/14).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.