Following NUHW victory in San Francisco, homecare providers call on Fresno County to follow suit and stop the cuts

NewsJune 4, 2009

S.F. Mayor adopted NUHW budget proposal to preserve 100% of current wages and benefits for homecare providers

Fresno, Calif.—Fresno homecare providers and advocates today called on the Board of Supervisors to follow the lead of San Francisco officials in adopting a proposal by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) that will preserve 100 percent of homecare providers’ wages and all of their health benefits

On Monday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom proposed a budget for 2009-10 that follows a costing model proposed by NUHW in May. The plan is expected to be approved by the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors and will maintain providers’ wages at $11.54 per hour.

“NUHW’s victory is great news for homecare workers and consumers in San Francisco, but it’s also great news for us here in Fresno,” said John Wilkins, a disability advocate in Fresno. “The workers and leaders of NUHW have stood with disability advocates for years to protect vital services, and with NUHW’s leadership, San Francisco officials are proving that we can stop cuts to vital homecare services without additional cost to the County. The Fresno Board of Supervisors should step up and do the same.”

The budget plan advocated by NUHW will maintain homecare workers’ wages and benefits despite Gov. Schwarzenegger’s devastating cuts to state homecare funding—largely by back-filling the loss of state funds with additional federal Medicaid funds available to San Francisco through the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package.

The Newsom administration adopted the approach proposed to them and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in a memo of May 7, 2009. (PDF: The memo detailed the specific changes in IHSS funding that would result from the combination of state cuts and federal enhancements, and explained how the City and County of San Francisco could fully maintain workers’ wages and benefits at no additional cost.

This funding solution is equally available to Fresno and other California counties, and NUHW sent a similar proposal to Fresno’s Board of Supervisors today. (PDF:

“This victory proves that we can protect our wages when we’re united with Kaiser workers and hospital workers in NUHW,” said Sarah Jones, an IHSS provider in Fresno. “While SEIU has been wasting millions of our dues dollars to divide us, and failing to protect homecare funding at every level, NUHW has been doing the hands-on work it takes to develop a real plan to preserve funding and get the support of elected officials. NUHW has set a standard with San Francisco that Fresno County should follow.”

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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is an independent, member-led union, dedicated to improving the lives of healthcare workers and the people they care for. NUHW is building a national movement of caregivers to hold healthcare corporations accountable to the public interest and win affordable, quality healthcare for all.