SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Santa Clara County IHSS Public Authority (County Supervisors sitting as the Board) and its In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workforce have reached a tentative agreement that will strengthen the program by investing in additional training for providers as well as more community outreach to increase public awareness about long-term care.
In Santa Clara County 17,000 home care workers are represented by Service Employees International Union, Local 521.
If approved by both parties, the contract would provide workers a modest salary increase over three years. They currently make $12.20 an hour, with an average annual income of $11,564. The rising cost-of-living throughout Silicon Valley and low home care wages has many of these individuals and their families living at or below the federal poverty line ($11,490 for an individual; $23,550 for a household of four).
“We are very pleased to have tentatively reached agreement with our IHSS providers who contribute so vitally to the health and well-being of our community,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, Chair of the Health and Hospital Committee. “Santa Clara County is proud to lead the state in terms of home care pay."
“This program makes it possible for many elderly and disabled people to remain relatively independent in their own homes,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese.
The tentative agreement, which still needs to be voted on by the workers and approved by the Board of Supervisors, would also add: joint community outreach to raise public awareness for long-term care; and additional courses to develop workers’ skills.
“We called our campaign ‘Quality Care @ Home’ because we truly believe in putting our community first, especially the most vulnerable in our society - our seniors and people with disabilities,” said Yong Soung, home care chapter president. “With the number of seniors in Santa Clara County expected to double by 2030, our county’s commitment to strengthen and invest in the home care program sets our community up on the path for success.”
Contract details will be released following membership ratification, which is scheduled for March 6-8.
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The Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. For more information, visit www.seiu521.org
Posted: February 26, 2014