New contract strengthens Home Care Program in Santa Clara County

Home care action

Home care workers protesting in the halls outside the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting.

After months of negotiations, Santa Clara County and SEIU Local 521 home care workers have reached a new agreement that puts our community first by strengthening the In-Home Supportive Services program, increasing public awareness about long-term care and raising wages for home care workers.

The newly ratified contract gives workers a modest salary increase from the current wage of $12.20 per hour to $13.00, phased in over three years. This provides some immediate relief for workers who have seen their incomes eroded by Silicon Valley’s rapidly rising cost-of-living.

What Santa Clara County home care workers were able to accomplish:

  • Expanded home care worker training by offering 10 new course subjects to home care workers.
  • A joint community outreach effort with the county and our union to help raise awareness of what the IHSS program is, who qualifies and who can sign-up.
  • Home care workers will see their hourly wage increase from $12.20 an hour to $13.00 over the next three years.
    • $12.44 within 90 days of March 11 ratification vote by the BOS
    • $12.81 as of Feb. 2015
    • $13.00 as of Feb. 2016

“We won for ourselves, for our families and clients, and for our community,” said Yong Soung, Home Care Chapter president of SEIU Local 521. “This program allows people to live independently in their own homes while saving taxpayer money. Thank you, Santa Clara County, for supporting us and the work we do.”

In a joint press release put out by the county and SEIU Local 521 prior to ratification, County Supervisor and Chair of the Health and Hospital Committee Ken Yeager said, “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. Santa Clara County is proud to lead the state in terms of home care pay.”

Supervisor Dave Cortese also cites the benefits of the IHSS program for many of the county’s most vulnerable residents: “This program makes it possible for many elderly and disabled people to remain relatively independent in their own homes.”

As greater numbers of Californians head into their senior years, it is critical that we continue to investment into the programs and infrastructure needed to support our aging population. This new IHSS contract in Santa Clara County is a step in the right direction.

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