Home Care Providers Get Arrested, Fight for $15 in San Mateo County

Members, including SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and 521 Chief Elected Officer Luisa Blue sat in the board room to fight for a fair wage.

Members, including SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and 521 Chief Elected Officer Luisa Blue sat in the board room to fight for a fair wage.

Hundreds of home care providers shut down the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Nov. 18 to demand that the county show leadership and help lift low-wage workers out of poverty

Joining the national Fight for $15 campaign, the In-Home Supportive Services providers staged their acts of civil disobedience to raise public awareness that even in an affluent region such as the San Francisco Bay Area, working families struggle to make ends meet on poverty wages.

Read the Press Release

“Make no mistake, the ‘Fight for $15’ which started with fast-food workers in New York, spreading to security officers and other low-wage workers, is challenging San Mateo County leaders to do the right thing,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “It’s time to bring economic justice and economic buying power to home care providers.”

Read Mary Kay Henry’s Blog About Today’s Action

San Mateo County Supervisor Pine calls for a recess as we take over the boardroom.

San Mateo County Supervisor Pine calls for a recess as we take over the boardroom.

Henry, in addition to SEIU Local 521 Chief Elected Officer Luisa Blue and Santa Clara County Home Care Chapter President Tonya York, spoke in front of the board, reminding them that the actions home care providers took was a direct result of board choosing to devalue the work of home care providers, which are primarily women and minorities.

“We are here today because you have failed us and you have failed the community … Our act of civil disobedience today is the result of ineffective leadership on your part,” said Blue.

After disrupting the board meeting, Henry, Blue, York, San Mateo County IHSS Provider Myrna Bravo and SEIU 521 staff member Andrea Hightower locked arms and sat on the board room floor, chanting for the board to lift home care providers out of poverty wages, until they were arrested by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department.

Home care providers then took to the streets, shutting down busy intersections surrounding the courthouse, and continued their protest.

Our arrested members were freed after spending three hours in the county jail.

Our arrested members were freed after spending three hours in the county jail.

Tuesday’s demonstration follows actions that were held on Oct. 21, Sept. 30, Sept. 9 and Aug. 5.

On Oct. 21, Home care workers in  San Mateo County continued their protest against the county’s unwillingness to negotiate for fair wages and benefits.

On Sept. 30, court workers joined our San Mateo County home care providers to protest the county’s disrespect and disregard for a critical workforce that helps the elderly and people with disabilities live independently at home.

On Sept. 9, residents and workers of San Mateo County highlighted that Silicon Valley has become ground zero for the growing disparity between the haves and have-nots. Compensation for the lowest-paid employees has not kept pace with economic growth.

On Aug. 5, residents and workers of San Mateo County called on county leaders to address the widening economic gap that is turning the county into a virtual gated community.

Media Coverage:
Mercury News: Health Care Workers, Union Members Arrested in Protest over Wage Increase
San Mateo Daily Journal: Health workers arrested: Wage hike demanded at Board of Supervisors meeting
Balitang America: Filipina Among Caregivers Arrested at Protest for Higher Wages
Video: Home Care VP Tonya York interviewed on Thom Hartmann show
San Francisco Examiner: San Mateo County Home Care Workers Protest for Higher Pay at Supervisors Meeting

 

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