February 5, 2020
A union of workers who care for Kern County’s elderly and disabled say they need a pay increase to survive in the state’s costly environment.
Yet the Kern County chapter of the United Domestic Workers union has been locked in a negotiating impasse with the Board of Supervisors since October 2019, unable to come to a deal over how large a pay increase the workers should see.
Currently, union members receive the minimum wage of $13 per hour for providing light nursing care and housekeeping for individuals who would otherwise not be able to live in their homes. Their salaries are paid by a mix of state, federal and local dollars.
Any raise above the minimum wage, however, would be required to be paid by the county.
County officials have conceded the union should receive 25 cents above minimum wage for the next three years, while CDW is pushing for a 60 cent increase in addition to 20 cents they say will be used for dental and health care, which is not provided by the state or county.
“There’s really no county in California that you can live on minimum wage and pay rent,” UDW Spokesperson Cherie Parker said. “We have folks that are living out of their cars while they are doing some really important work.”