Unions Prepare To Fight Governor’s IHSS Cuts, Other Budget Proposals
Union leaders are blasting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) for a range of budget proposals that they say would cut wages, reduce benefits or scale back job protections for union workers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The governor's budget plan would tighten eligibility requirements for In-Home Supportive Services and drop many current beneficiaries from the program.
The move would eliminate jobs for a large number of IHSS caregivers, who primarily are union workers. The governor's budget plan also would reduce the state's contribution to IHSS workers' wages.
Schwarzenegger's budget also targets other fields that employ union workers, such as education, prisons and the state government.
For example, the governor has proposed cutting 5% from state workers' wages and requiring them to contribute an additional 5% toward retirement benefits.
Democratic legislators so far have indicated that they will oppose budget legislation that could hurt union workers.
In addition, observers predict that union leaders will mount a campaign to fight Schwarzenegger's proposals (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 1/25).
Although Schwarzenegger is striving to scale back IHSS spending by combating fraud, an "admittedly harsh but more sensible and effective approach to reducing IHSS costs is to reduce eligibility across the board," a Sacramento Bee editorial states.The editorial continues by describing findings from a recent Legislative Analyst's Office report on the IHSS program. It concludes, "Rather than sending in cops and prosecutors to ferret out low levels of fraud, the state could save more, in these tough economic times, by reserving in-home services to individuals who are the most impaired and most likely to have to go to nursing homes or access other more expensive state support to remain in the community" (Sacramento Bee, 1/23). 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.