April 4, 2016
Today, we took a big step forward in our fight for justice for home care workers and families. Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 3 (SB 3), which creates a plan to raise California’s minimum wage incrementally to $15 by 2022, and provides all workers with paid sick days.
“We must bring balance to an unbalanced system,” said the governor minutes before he signed the bill.
For home care providers, including UDW’s 92,000 IHSS workers, this new law will have a monumental impact. Currently, we make on average just $10.71 an hour, and work without any paid sick time. Many of us struggle to provide for our families and often work even when we’re sick, because we can’t afford an unpaid day off.
“It’s tough for me to afford groceries, my prescriptions, and even gas for my car to drive to each of my clients,” said El Dorado home care worker Lisa Scott. “I’ve done this job for over a decade, and I’ve never taken a paid sick day.”
Today’s victory is a direct result of providers like Lisa and UDW caregivers across the state joining with other underpaid workers to demand more for ourselves and our families.
A few years back, UDW members stood alongside fast food workers, adjunct professors, retail workers, and more in the Fight for $15. We raised our voices in marches and rallies from San Diego to the Capitol. “All home care workers need to fight for $15, because we deserve better,” said UDW member Gabriel Paramo from San Diego.
And our elected leaders heard us. Late last month, our constant demands for justice caused the governor and legislators to work with unions to come up with a plan to raise millions of working families out of poverty by raising the minimum wage.
When that plan was voted on by the state Senate and Assembly last week, UDW members were there to make sure it passed. “No one who works full time should live in poverty,” said Stanislaus County UDW member Lidia Rodriguez just before the Assembly passed SB 3, and moved it on to the Senate.
When the bill finally passed the Senate and made its way to the governor’s desk, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon told naysayers, “Anyone who thinks $15 an hour is way too much should try living on it.”
All of our hard work culminated in a celebration today in Los Angeles, when Governor Brown, surrounded by UDW home care providers and other workers, signed this landmark legislation.
“We didn’t sit back and wait,” said Riverside County IHSS provider Kady Crick. “We fought for this! And now we’re seeing the fruits of our hard work.”
The new law will raise California’s minimum wage to $10.50 an hour on January 1, 2017, and then to $11 an hour on January 1, 2018. After that, the minimum wage will increase by $1 every year until it reaches $15. Once it reaches $15, it will be raised annually with increases in inflation. The minimum wage is expected to reach $15 by 2022, if there are no pauses triggered by a slow economy or a budget deficit.
It is estimated that nearly six million workers in California, or over one-third of the workforce will receive a raise – including thousands of UDW members.
Under the new law, IHSS workers will receive one paid sick day starting July 2018, with three paid sick days to be implemented by 2022.
Although we celebrate this amazing achievement by workers, our work is not done yet. The work we do for seniors and people with disabilities deserves more than minimum wage. That’s why UDW caregivers will continue to bargain at both the county and state level for better wages and benefits NOW.
Contact your local UDW office to learn how you can join our fight for justice – http://www.udwa.org/contact.
All across this state—from the streets of San Diego to the legislative chambers of Sacramento—home care workers have made our voices heard! For the past year we have rallied and marched alongside thousands of underpaid workers to make one thing clear: no one should have to try to survive on less than $15 per hour in California.
Today, UDW Executive Director Doug Moore stood alongside Governor Jerry Brown as he announced a plan to increase minimum wage to $15 by 2022 and provide IHSS home care workers with paid sick leave for the first time ever.
The announcement comes as we are gearing up for demonstrations throughout the state in April, and days after the California Secretary of State’s office stated that more than 400,000 signatures were collected to place the Fair Wage Act of 2016, a measure that calls for a $15 minimum wage by 2021, on the November ballot.
“This a huge victory for all working Californians, but especially IHSS providers,” said UDW President and home care worker Editha Adams. “We’ve been denied paid sick leave and a livable wage for far too long.”
Last year, we joined together with restaurant workers in April and November for the largest-ever national strikes aimed at increasing the minimum wage. Workers in more than 270 cities, from California to New York, walked off the job and carried out massive protests outside city halls where fast-food, home care, child care, and other workers called on politicians and Big Business to raise pay for America’s most underpaid workers. Our coalition also held wage board hearings where we made our case for why increasing workers’ salaries needs to be a part of the national discussion on ending poverty in our communities. Together, we vowed to take our Fight for $15 to the ballot box to show candidates of all political stripes that the nearly 64 million Americans who make less than $15 can no longer be ignored.
Today’s legislative proposal will extend up to three days of paid sick leave to IHSS home care workers, and increase California’s current minimum wage by one dollar over the next two years, and then by a dollar for each year thereafter until reaching $15 per hour in 2022. Future minimum wage increases would be tied to inflation.
The new minimum wage will have a huge impact on the more than 400,000 IHSS providers statewide who currently earn, on average, just $10.72 an hour.
“We worked hard for this,” said UDW member and home care provider Gabriel Paramo from San Diego. He is one of the tens of thousands who is making just $10 per hour and would see a pay raise as early as 2017. “I have peace of mind knowing that we now have a clear path to $15 per hour.”
But we have more work to do!
Over the next few weeks, UDW members will continue to fight for $15 until this legislation is passed in the legislature and signed by the governor. This Thursday we will gather with thousands of workers from across California in Sacramento in support of minimum wage proposal, and on April 14th, we will participate in a nationwide demonstration calling for $15 and a union for all working Americans.
“This is not just a matter of policy—it’s about doing what’s right,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in an earlier statement. “No Californian who works full-time should be living in poverty.”
To get involved, sign up to become a UDW member today or call your local UDW office.
Get the facts! Read more about this plan here.