Pictured: IHSS providers like Yazmin Mancilla of Escondido were supposed to start earning overtime pay on January 1st. Yazmin takes care of her 6-year-old daughter who has Down syndrome, and was counting on the extra income to pay for her daughter’s speech therapy.

It’s hard to believe, but homecare workers have been denied the same basic labor protections that all other working Americans enjoy—a minimum wage, overtime pay, and more—for over 75 years. In 2011, President Obama announced that he was changing the rules and extending these protections to homecare workers across the country for the first time ever starting in 2015.

In California, caregivers—who are primarily women and people of color—faced a devastating blow in 2014 when Governor Brown announced he was going to cap homecare worker hours at just 40 per week in an effort to avoid paying us overtime. We fought against the cap, which would have pushed many of us further into poverty and disrupted care for our clients, and won the right to overtime pay once and for all.

Or so we thought. On the eve before we were to start earning overtime pay and other wage protections, a Bush-era federal judge overturned the Obama administration’s decision, and stripped caregivers nationwide of our newly earned rights.

Governor Brown responded by immediately suspending the implementation of wage protections for California’s homecare workers, breaking a promise to uphold equality and dignity for providers and our clients, Californians with disabilities and seniors.

Now we are asking our allies and community members to stand up for homecare and urge Governor Brown to do what’s right and leave no worker behind.

Here are five things you can do to help us win back our rights:

  1. Sign our online petition – over 6,000 people already have
  2. Add your organization’s name to our letter to Governor Brown (to do so, contact Brisa Johnson at bjohnson@udwa.org)
  3. Write a personal letter to Governor Brown, urging him to move forward with overtime pay for IHSS workers
  4. Ask your lawmakers to support overtime pay for IHSS caregivers using hashtags #IHSSOT or #overtime4caregivers
  5. Attend caregiver rallies and events in San Diego (contact Brisa for more information)

Homecare work is real work, and that’s why caregivers and our clients need your help!

Visit us online at United Domestic Workers of America for more information. You can also follow us on Twitter @UDWA for up to the minute details.

© 2014 San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council
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