Shasta County home care workers rally for wage increase

Sep 15, 2015 6:52 PM by Charlene Cheng

Chants demanding fair compensation rang out on Tuesday morning in Redding, in hopes of catching the attention of the Board of Supervisors.

"Our wages are currently $9.64 an hour, and they haven't been raised in over six years. We're looking for a livable wage. We're looking for the ability to actually provide for our families," Robert Brown said.

He's paid by the county to care for his 12-year-old son, which he says ends up saving taxpayer dollars.

"When I provide in-home support services for my son, the county pays me approximately $2,000 a month. If my son was put in a group home, it would cost the county $6,000 a month," he said.

As an alternative to nursing homes, in-home care allows recipients like Richard Hammond to keep up a normal lifestyle.

"Instead of living in an institution, I get to be in my own home. I get to have the freedom of coming and going as I choose," he said.

Shirley Martineau has been a caregiver for more than 15 years.

Despite the low pay, she refuses to give up working.

"It's a lot of work, but it's something you love. It's in your heart," she said.

According to M.I.T.'s calculations, the living wage in Shasta County is $11.33 an hour.

Martineau is just asking to be paid what her work is worth.

"We need dignity, we need respect. We don't have either," she said.


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