September 25, 2018; San Francisco Examiner
At Tuesday’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Supervisors Jane Kim, Sandra Lee Fewer, and Hillary Ronen introduced a budget measure that would raise the minimum wage for nonprofit and in-home supportive services workers from $15/hour to $17. Another measure, which requires for-profit contractors with the city to pay workers at least $17/hour, passed unanimously in the same session. This includes workers at the San Francisco International Airport. Readers may note in another of today’s newswires that a similar measure for airport workers was passed recently in New York.
Funding the proposal for nonprofit and elder-care workers would necessitate pulling $13 million from the City’s general reserve to pay for one year of the proposed three-year increase. Included in the $13 million is $7.23 million for approximately 20,000 IHSS workers, $2.91 million for more than 2,000 nonprofit workers, and nearly $3 million for a buffer account which will help nonprofits to keep pay scales for other workers equitable.
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Fewer says that the supplemental budget is justified because the field is in an immediate crisis and bleeding workers daily. Ronen says that turnover rates in these professions serving vulnerable populations are high even as the number of residential facilities for long term care has declined by more than 20 percent in the high rent city.
“San Francisco has an exploding population, and we don’t have residential facilities to take care of these seniors as they age,” says Ronen. “The only [thing] that we have to prevent more seniors from becoming homeless is IHSS workers who will be able to take care of seniors in their homes.”
“What society do we live in where the workers in charge of helping people out of homelessness are one step away from being homeless themselves?” Ronen asked, echoing a point made in one of NPQ’s newswires about childcare workers who cannot afford childcare for their own children.—Ruth McCambridge