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February 16, 2001

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Home care workers begin struggle for living wage, medical benefits, respect

Twice in last month a large group of home care workers have packed Fresno County Board of Supervisors demanding dignity in the form of living wage and medical benefits. They got a 3% raise to $6.44/hour with no benefits. This is the just the beginning as over 1,000 of them have joined the Service Employees International Union. They have a long road ahead. Supervisors OKed the raise but not without a lot of hemming and hawing about budget restraints, while many of the high level county bureaucrats make a living wage multiplied 3 or 4 times. And most of the $$ for the home care workers comes from the state. Then Supervisor Waterman thought aloud it would be a good idea if all home care workers were fingerprinted at their own expense. Perhaps that was what their big 3% raise is to be used for. These workers save the county a bundle of $$ by caring for invalid persons in the persons homes. Instead of putting them in hospitals. Also they work many more hours than they are paid for. Now they are invisible no more.

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