Fighting for a path out of poverty, home care workers ready to face arrest

Media Advisory
Nov. 17, 2014
Contact: Khanh Weinberg

Fighting for a path out of poverty, home care workers ready to face arrest
SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry to join “Fight for $15” civil disobedience Nov. 18

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Struggling to get by on wages that have not increased since 2007, hundreds of San Mateo County’s home care providers will march in protest on Tuesday, Nov. 18 to highlight their fight for dignity wages.

Faced with a final offer from the county that would still leave them well-below self-sufficiency living standards, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers – who are prohibited by law from going on strike – will attempt to stop the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors from holding its Tuesday public meeting business as usual.

Mary Kay Henry, Service Employees International Union President and a leading voice in the fight to lift low-wage workers out of poverty, will join the march.

WHO: SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, SEIU Local 521 Chief Elected Officer Luisa Blue and SEIU Local 521 home care providers
WHAT: A civil disobedience action to protest the county’s unwillingness to negotiate
WHEN: 9 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18
WHERE: San Mateo County Courthouse, Board of Supervisors Chambers and surrounding streets, 400 County Center, Redwood City

With more than $300 million in budget surplus, the county can invest in the home care program that allows the elderly and people with disabilities to live with dignity at home. Yet, after negotiating fair contracts with its two largest employee unions, San Mateo County continues to treat its 5,000 home care providers as second-tier citizens, whose $11.50 an hour pay has not changed since 2007.

Home care providers take care of the county’s most vulnerable; yet, they make 60 percent below the living wage for San Mateo County. In a field dominated by women, most of whom are women of color, the board of supervisors has failed its core constituents by not providing IHSS workers a wage that reflects the $17.33 per hour cost of living in the county.


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