Home care workers to Board of Supervisors: We deserve respect


Santa Clara County home care workers told the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 13 that workers deserve dignity and respect during contract negotiations.

During the last bargaining session, workers were appalled at discriminatory language used by county representatives, who continually insisted that home care must bear the brunt of budget cuts because they “are not county workers.”

Tina Nguyen, home care provider

Tina Nguyen, home care provider and bargaining team member

“Board of Supervisors, we should not be treated like second class citizens,” said Tina Nguyen, a home care provider and bargaining team member.

“We provide a valuable service to the community, and we work hard to take care of people every day.”

Ellen Rollins

Ellen Rollins, President of SEIU 521 Home Care Chapter

Ellen Rollins, President of SEIU 521 Home Care Chapter, also addressed the board.

“We know we are not considered ‘county workers,’ but we are public service workers who deserve the same respect as any other public service workers,” she said.

“We serve the citizens of this county.”

Already facing 20 percent state cuts, more than 1,000 home care workers are also in jeopardy of losing health insurance.

Brunilda Rocha, home care provider

Brunilda Rocha, home care provider

“It will be very difficult to survive,” said Brunilda Rocha, a home care provider who cares for her 82-year-old mother.

“Health care and medicine will be too expensive. And the elderly will be forced into convalescent homes. That is why home care workers need to keep the same contract with the county, without more cuts.”

Home care workers are offering concessions to be extended another three years, which will save the county millions.

They are also asking the county to offer some of the same financial protections that they’ve offered other employee groups, instead of placing all the risk on IHSS.

Historically, IHSS has always done its part to help the county. In the past, workers have saved the county millions by agreeing to increase their share of medical costs from $11 to $25. They’ve also given up .15 cents per hour in wages, and took a 3.6 percent cut in hours from the state.

Home care workers also helped increase the federal reimbursement rate from 50 percent to 56 percent, saving the county more than $6 million.

What’s next?
Candle light vigil for home care
Thursday, Dec. 15, 4:30 p.m.
State Building, 100 Paseo De San Antonio, San Jose
Click here for more information. (PDF)

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