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Tuesday, Aug 06, 2013 - Last Blog on Earth | News

Caregivers vindicated in labor deal

San Diego County supervisors find money for homecare-worker raise

By Joshua Emerson Smith
mike+norris-37 Homecare workers with United Domestic Workers Local 3930 rally in San Diego for higher pay.
- Photo courtsey of United Domestic Workers
Homecare workers reached an agreement with San Diego County yesterday for their first raise in more than four years.

Under the deal, wages for the county’s more than 20,000 In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers will increase to $9.85 from $9.50 an hour. 

The IHSS program pays workers to care for the indigent elderly and disabled in their homes and has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. The state reimburses counties for wages up to $12.10 an hour.

Advocates said the deal will bring in $7.1 million in additional state and federal funding and generate an estimated $26 million in regional economic activity, as often financially challenged workers spend their paychecks on necessities.

In the run-up to the negotiations, there was considerable contention over where the money would come from to pay for the raise. Some members of the county's Board of Supervisors suggested that other social services would need to be cut to pay for the wage increase.

However, in the end, the homecare workers and their union felt vindicated by the deal.

"I think there was a lot of pressure, phone calls, and we were laying out a pretty good economic case that this helps the entire economy of San Diego County because workers spend that money right back into the community that they live in," said Doug Moore, executive director of United Domestic Workers.

The raise will go into affect once the terms are ratified by union members, voted upon by the county Board of Supervisors and approved by the state.

 
 
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