IHSS and UDW demonstrate their frustrations

Photo by Lacey Stepter

By Lacey Stepter
Special to the Sun

On February 4, 2020, local In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) caregivers and members of the United Domestic Workers Union (UDW) from Kern County took their concerns over low-pay and lack of health benefits to the Kern County Board of Supervisors’ meeting at the Kern County Administrative Center at 1115 Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield.

They are asking for a contract, competitive wages, and health care benefits. The contracts for the IHSS providers expired back in 2017 and the Kern County Board of Supervisors refused to budge on a modest pay raise. The in-home caregivers currently make $13, which is the minimum wage, as their pay. One local caregiver asked that the Board take into consideration five key issues during their meeting. Number one being affordable housing for the caregivers, as well as, the clients they care for. Number two; they need competitive wages. As for three, better benefits, four, they need a gym provided to the caregivers so they can stay healthy and continue to provide proper care for their clients, and five, sick leave hours need to be rolled over. After the Board of Supervisor’s meeting the local UDW held a rally to have their voices heard. They were chanting. “What do we want? Contracts! When do we want them? Now!” The Kern County Board of Supervisors assured these workers that these issues are being addressed behind closed doors and that they will not go unnoticed.