October 23, 2018; San Francisco Examiner

A few weeks ago, NPQ reported on a proposal in front of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that would have raised the wages of home health workers and other nonprofit workers working under city contracts. On Tuesday, a deal was struck between Mayor London Breed and the Supervisors for those raises, which will bring healthcare workers up incrementally to $18.75 by 2022 and will bring other nonprofit workers to $16.50. Both still fall short of a living wage in that expensive city, but it is a step in the right direction.

“Over 20,000 home healthcare workers bathe, feed, clothe, and generally care for our elders and disabled residents. The City also depends on thousands of low wage workers to care for our youth, staff our homeless shelters and provide safety net services,” Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer said. “All of these workers are on the edge of poverty, most earning only $15 an hour.” This, she said, leaves the workers vulnerable and makes the whole system unstable by creating workforce problems.

“This body may feel a tighter squeeze when it comes to our own board priorities…but this is the right thing to do,” board president Malia Cohen said. “We are trying to make the city more fair; we are trying to make the city equitable.”

The San Francisco Labor Council, including leaders of the SEIU 2015 and SEIU 1021, had advocated for the increase, and the mayor said the rise was necessary to serve the needs of the city’s residents. “These individuals serve many of our most vulnerable—our senior and disabled populations—and ensure critical support services continue to be available for our residents,” Breed says. “It is important that they receive a fair wage so they can continue to do this essential work and remain a part of our communities.”