Tuesday, October 2nd
8:30am and through the Humboldt Board of Supervisors meeting
Support In Home Healthcare Workers!
Humboldt Supes Reject Fact Finder’s Recommendation to Increase Wages for IHSS Providers
September 26, 2012
After rejecting a Proposed Settlement from a Mediator in July that called for a wage increase for County IHSS providers that have never received a wage increase above the state’s minimum wage or any type of health benefits, the Humboldt Board of Supervisors have reached a new low. Yesterday, the Humboldt Board of Supervisors rejected a recommendation from the recently completed Fact Finding Report from Impartial Fact Finding Chairperson and San Francisco attorney Robert Hirsch. The recommendation ruled in favor of CUHW, calling for an increase in County provider wages, from their current hourly rate of $8/hr. to $8.75/hr. and $9.50/hr. in the following year, as well as a contribution to health care benefits for County IHSS providers. Hirsch referred to his ruling as, “A fair and equitable proposal,” stating that, “The County clearly has the ability to pay the modest sought (as it has acknowledged) and has even budgeted sufficient funds to cover most, if not all, the costs.”
Below is a response to the Humboldt Supes rejection of the Fact Finder’s recommendation from University of Connecticut Economics Professor Candace Howes:
I am shocked that the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors would persist in their decision to not increase wages for the county’s 1450 IHSS workers, even in the face of the findings of the impartial chairperson for the Factfinding Panel. The county’s response is cynical and factually incorrect when it argues that “unfortunately, the fact-finder misunderstood a few important concepts. Most critically, the fact-finder incorrectly believed that the County’s 2012-2013 budget predicts financing to increase IHSS worker compensation.” In my reading of the factfinder’s report, he understood the financing perfectly well. He was arguing that the county had, in fact, put forward a budget which would have more than covered the wage cost of the increase, given what the IHSS program actually costs. The factfinder was, in fact, so impartial and careful that he did not report that the county was about to receive a refund from the State as part of a new program under the Affordable Care Act which is intended to help States fund more high quality home care programs. That refund would fully cover the cost of the wage increase without the county having to touch any current General Fund monies.
IHSS workers in Humboldt County are paid less than workers doing the same job in almost every other county in the state. Their wage has not increased in 4 years during which period the purchasing power of their wages (adjusted for inflation) has declined by 6 percent. IHSS workers have no health insurance through their job; they continue to pay for the gas they use to transport their care recipients and to get to their job, even as the average price of gas has risen by 25 percent in four years.
It is too bad the Board of Supervisors didn’t attend the Fact finding Panel for they would have come away with a much better understanding of the value of the program and how little it really costs the county. They would also have gotten a better appreciation of how much it depends on extraordinary sacrifices by the IHSS workers.
Read the full Fact Finding Report here:
California United Homecare Workers: