California caregivers stage daily vigils at Governor’s office

When Governor Brown announced that he was stopping implementation of overtime pay and other wage protections for hundreds of thousands of IHSS homecare workers, the caregivers of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930 launched into action.

Yesterday marked the start of just one of their many statewide actions in the fight to win back their rights: every day in February, homecare workers are staging a vigil starting at 10 AM outside of the governor’s office.

IHSS caregivers provide valuable in-home care and support to California’s seniors and people with disabilities. Roxanne Bender, a UDW homecare worker from El Dorado County, was on hand to speak to channel 3’s KCRA in Sacramento. “I believe the governor should keep his promise,” she said.

That promise—to uplift IHSS workers by paying them for overtime, travel time, and medical accompaniment—came after a months-long fight last year to stop Governor Brown from capping homecare worker hours. He proposed the 40-hour cap in an effort to avoid paying them overtime, after the U.S. Department of Labor righted a historic wrong by finally granting caregivers labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

But when a Bush-appointed federal judge ruled in favor of the for-profit homecare industry and changed the Department of Labor’s ruling this year, Governor Brown chose to walk away from his commitment to homecare workers and stopped the implementation of their hard-earned wage protections.

Breaking his promise has left caregivers, who were expecting an increase in income starting January 1st, in a bind.

“I planned to use this money to help my son get exercise and participate in activities that would be good for his health,” homecare worker Susana Saldana told PACSAT.

Currently, many homecare workers like Roxanne in El Dorado make just $9/hour. “It’s been too many years, and we deserve to be respected and to be paid overtime.”

Follow caregivers’ fight for justice at www.udwa.org and on twitter using the hashtag #overtime4caregivers.