Living wage fight continues in San Mateo County

Over the past year, SEIU Local 521 members waged a courageous fight to demand a path out of poverty for home care providers in San Mateo County, joining the “Fight for 15” national movement.

Shaking up the region with two major acts of civil disobedience that resulted in arrests, and joined by SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry in November, workers called on the county to provide women and minorities – who make up the majority of home providers – with dignity wages for the vital work they do, caring for people with disabilities and the elderly.

In January, members agreed to a contract that increases their hourly wage by 10% to $12.65 – far less than the $17 an hour needed to attain self-sufficiency in the costly region. Nonetheless, the campaign raised awareness about the importance of having a living wage and spurred the county to begin serious conversations about a county-wide ordinance addressing the issue.

The demonstration on Nov. 18 followed 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:
San Mateo Daily Journal: County offers home care workers 10 percent raise
Workers Independent News Labor Report: SEIU Home Care Workers Vow More Civil Disobedience In San Mateo Living Wage Fight
NBC Bay Area News
ABS-CBN News: Pinoy Caregivers Stage Christmas Protest for Higher Wages
San Mateo Daily Journal: More civil disobedience arrests: DA still weighing prosecution of home health workers
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
Thom Hartman Show: Home Care VP Tonya York interviewed (video)
San Francisco Examiner: San Mateo County Home Care Workers Protest for Higher Pay at Supervisors Meeting
Peninsula Press: Home health aids clash with San Mateo County officials over pay
KCBS 740 Radio: Clip 1 – Sept. 9, 2014 (MP3)
KCBS 740 Radio: Clip 2 – Sept. 9, 2014 (MP3) 

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