In Home Care Workers Protest Wage Cuts
A protest meeting was organized by the in home care workers at the Oakland city hall on April 1st. They were protesting against the recent announcements by officials of the state that huge cuts would be made on state welfare programs in the coming months. There were around 80 in home care providers who were protesting against the recent declaration by the state government. The protesters felt that not only would this be a bad precedent for other states, they would also result in more costs that the state government will have to bear in the long run.
State officials had declared that they would have to cut spending on welfare because the federal stimulus package had not resulted in a substantial increase in the funding, as had been hoped. This is bound to reflect in the funding of welfare programs like the IHSS. The protest rally was organized by the representatives of two Service Employees International Unions that are locally based. They were representing the members of the union of in home supportive services.
Members of the IHSS basically provide in home health care and supportive services to aged people so as to enable them to stay away from hospital unless they need to for medical purpose. For members of this union, this cut in state spending would mean a wage cut of around $2 per hour. This would make their rates go down from $11.50 to $9.5 in an hour. The changes in rates are to become effective from 1st July.
Members of the union were not only protesting the wage cuts. They were also protesting against this action because it would affect one of the most vulnerable of the US population- the aged. It is a fact that with increasing life spans due to advancement of technology and medicine, more and more people are living longer. For this reason, they may require in home care at some stage of their lives. These in home care givers provide them with that care. The members felt that by discouraging the members, the state would ultimately increase its costs because the elderly who were being cared for them would now be shifted to the hospitals.
The state governments recent declaration has ruffled quite a few feathers. Many of the members felt that this rate cut under the current economic scenario was just some additional trouble that was being passed on by the government. Members of the protest rally declared that they were not only angry at the rate cuts, but that they were enraged at the way the state was treating its elderly.
In home care workers form a sizeable part of the health services that cater to the elderly who need medical and support activities at home. The members provide a range of services, including help with the daily activities of living (eating, bathing etc) and also other allied services like home maker service and others.
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