Homecare workers in NUHW pack Fresno Supervisors meeting

April 14th, 2009

Caregivers ask Supervisors to keep their commitment to services for Fresno’s most vulnerable

Fresno, Calif.—More than 100 homecare workers, who care for Fresno County’s elderly and people with disabilities, packed Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting at the County Hall of Records. United in the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), they came to ask the Supervisors to maintain the County’s contribution to In-Home Supportive Services and sustain the vital service that has been jeopardized by reckless cuts at the state level.

“I think our greatest responsibility should be to care for those who are most in need. That’s why I’m a homecare provider,” said Eric Hammond, a homecare worker in Fresno. “We’re counting on the Supervisors to stand up for seniors and people with disabilities, and not hurt our community by making these cuts even deeper.”

In-Home Supportive Services, or IHSS, is a service that saves tax dollars by allowing people with long-term medical needs to receive care in their own homes rather than in more costly nursing homes. At the end of March, California slashed an estimated $11 million from the state’s share of wages for Fresno County homecare workers, putting caregivers and their homecare consumers at risk and costing the county up to $23 million in lost economic activity.

Fresno County caregivers have been working to stop the cuts by organizing with the National Union of Healthcare Workers, and on March 2 they filed a petition with the county IHSS Authority asking for an election to choose NUHW as their union. NUHW was founded in January by union reformers who left the scandal-plagued SEIU to form an independent union led by healthcare workers. Since then, more than 95,000 healthcare workers have petitioned to join.

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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.