The Service Employees International Union will announce Tuesday that long-term care workers from three California locals have combined to create the largest such union in the country.
The move unites some 280,000 home-care and nursing home workers from more than 37 counties into the new statewide SEIU Local 2015. Union officials said it will help them lead the nationwide fight for a $15 minimum wage and to bolster their bargaining power for improved wages and workplace conditions.
“This is a historic moment in building a stronger voice for the home-care providers and nursing home workers who Californians depend on to care for our seniors and those with disabilities,” said Laphonza Butler, provisional president of SEIU Local 2015.
“Through our new statewide long-term-care local, we’ll have the strength necessary to ensure the delivery of quality care while bringing meaningful change and dignity to the lives of our long-term care workers and those to whom we provide care.”
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Home-care workers have become a familiar voice during state budget negotiations, battling former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown. They successfully fought this year to restore the 7 percent cut to in-home supportive service hours made during the economic recession and to continue funding for nursing homes.
Among those joining forces are SEIU United Long Term Care Workers, SEIU United Healthcare Workers West and SEIU Local 521. Along with Butler, the new statewide local will be led by Arnulfo De La Cruz, Kim Evon, Robert Li, and April Verrett, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry said Tuesday.