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Finally! $15 an hour and paid sick leave for IHSS providers

by Eli Magaña  |  March 29, 2016

This blog post orginally appeared on udwa.org.

All across this state—from the streets of San Diego to the legislative chambers of Sacramento—home care workers have made our voices heard! For the past year we have rallied and marched alongside thousands of underpaid workers to make one thing clear: no one should have to try to survive on less than $15 per hour in California.

Today, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore stood alongside Governor Jerry Brown as he announced a plan to increase minimum wage to $15 by 2022 and provide IHSS home care workers with paid sick leave for the first time ever.

The announcement comes as we are gearing up for demonstrations throughout the state in April, and days after the California Secretary of State’s office stated that more than 400,000 signatures were collected to place the Fair Wage Act of 2016, a measure that calls for a $15 minimum wage by 2021, on the November ballot.

Homecare workers fight for $15

“This a huge victory for all working Californians, but especially IHSS providers,” said UDW President and home care worker Editha Adams. “We’ve been denied paid sick leave and a livable wage for far too long.”

Last year, we joined together with restaurant workers in April and November for the largest-ever national strikes aimed at increasing the minimum wage. Workers in more than 270 cities, from California to New York, walked off the job and carried out massive protests outside city halls where fast-food, home care, child care, and other workers called on politicians and Big Business to raise pay for America’s most underpaid workers.

Our coalition also held wage board hearings where we made our case for why increasing workers’ salaries needs to be a part of the national discussion on ending poverty in our communities. Together, we vowed to take our Fight for $15 to the ballot box to show candidates of all political stripes that the nearly 64 million Americans who make less than $15 can no longer be ignored.

Homecare workers fight for $15

Today’s legislative proposal will extend up to three days of paid sick leave to IHSS home care workers, and increase California’s current minimum wage by one dollar over the next two years, and then by a dollar for each year thereafter until reaching $15 per hour in 2022. Future minimum wage increases would be tied to inflation.

The new minimum wage will have a huge impact on the more than 400,000 IHSS providers statewide who currently earn, on average, just $10.72 an hour.

“We worked hard for this,” said UDW member and home care provider Gabriel Paramo from San Diego. He is one of the tens of thousands who is making just $10 per hour and would see a pay raise as early as 2017. “I have peace of mind knowing that we now have a clear path to $15 per hour.”

Jerry Brown announcing the minimum wage deal at a press conference

But we have more work to do!

Over the next few weeks, UDW members will continue to fight for $15 until this legislation is passed in the legislature and signed by the governor. This Thursday we will gather with thousands of workers from across California in Sacramento in support of minimum wage proposal, and on April 14th, we will participate in a nationwide demonstration calling for $15 and a union for all working Americans.

“This is not just a matter of policy—it’s about doing what’s right,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in an earlier statement. “No Californian who works full-time should be living in poverty.”

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