Filipina among caregivers arrested at protest for higher wages
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – (UPDATED NOV. 19, 11:38 a.m.) Union leaders and home care workers entered the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting and told them that the workers are not making enough money for a decent living wage.
They say that their current wage of $11.50 an hour is 60% below the self-sufficent wage needed to live in the region, which is around $17.33 an hour.
“We‘re here today because you failed us and you failed the community,” said union leader Lusia Blue who told the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. “You’ve refused to put our community first by investing in a program that helps the elderly and people with disabilities to live with dignity at home. You refused to provide a livable wage for the home care providers even though with a $300 million surplus.”
A total of five people were arrested and cited for refusing to leave the scene of a riot.
The five who were arrested included Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry, SEIU Local 521 Chief Elected Officer Lusia Blue, an organizer, and two care home workers.
Myrna Bravo, a Filipino care home worker of 20 years, was one of the workers arrested for refusing to vacate the board chamber.
Before she entered the building, Bravo told Balitang America that her decision to be arrested was necessary to express the seriousness of the situation.
“I’m hopefully that this kind of demonstration will help the county wake up and realize,” said Bravo. “This is a very good action for all employees of San Mateo.”
About a hundred home care providers joined security officers and fast food workers as they marched around the federal buildings and blocked intersections chanting for a higher wage.
“This is the day where we take our stand and hopefully this will be the day that they’ll finally listen to us,” said home care worker Michelle Duong.
The people arrested for not leaving the board chambers were released after three hours of confinement. They were cited with a misdemeanor and will receive dates to appear in court.
According to a statement by County Manager John Maltbie, the Board of Supervisors values the IHSS providers and will continue to negotiate with SEIU despite when the State takes over labor negotiations in February 2015. They also stated that the 10 percent proposed wage increase with no decrease in benefits will place IHSS providers among the highest in California.
You can contact Rommel Conclara at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.