Counties across the State of California had been in negotiations with various divisions of the Service Employees International Union regarding in home care support service workers, but things have taken a different turn as of late. Recently the state, as a way to try and cut costs for its budget, has now determined counties should pick up more of the financial burden for in home care services.
This is in response to a 50 percent hike in minimum wage that will be fully implemented by 2022. With increased labor costs, the state suddenly realized it has to find a way to pay for it and instead of dealing with it directly, it’s passing the buck to individual counties.
As these counties have been negotiating on wage increases and benefits for home care aides and other workers with local unions, representatives from these unions claim there’s now a stoppage to the compromises.
According to the Times Standard news article, State policy changes impact in-home care worker union negotiations, written by Will Houston:
“Humboldt County in-home care workers in SEIU Local 2015, which represents about 1,200 local care providers, are paid the state’s minimum wage — currently $10 per hour — but are calling on the county to provide higher than minimum wage in negotiations. The union’s two-year contract with the county expired in July 2016.
“The negotiations are moving very slowly,” SEIU Local 2015 organizer Julie Ryan said Friday. “There is no movement on anything that has any dollar amount attached to it. There is not a specific number. But the fact that the second largest workforce in Humboldt County, who is providing such valuable community service, is stuck at minimum wage as the cost of everything else keeps going up is — disappointing is not a strong enough word. I really feel like this work is undervalued by the county.”
Fulks said the state policy changes are a factor in the negotiations, but that they will continue to negotiate and “hope to reach an agreement soon.”
As the minimum wage rates increase, it’s going to place a tremendous burden on taxpayers to support these elevated wages. The union still demands that its workers receive more than minimum wage, and the counties are trying to figure out how to pay for that, if it’s possible.
It’s not clear what, if any, agreements can be made between the counties and unions moving forward, especially in light of this new financial challenge facing the counties.