The state Department of Human Services (Courtesy/State of Oregon)
Thousands of homecare and personal support workers in Marion and Polk counties are getting a sizable bump in pay.
Service Employees International Union Local 503 reached a new contract with the state that will give homecare and personal support workers in the Department of Human Services' Office of Aging and People with Disabilities, as well as the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services, a 12.7% raise, according to a press release from SEIU Local 503.
That raises their pay rate to $17.77 over the next 15 months. Workers will see a 5.7% raise in January 2022 and a 6.7% raise in January 2023.
The union represents 2,400 homecare and personal support workers living in Salem, and 4,300 across Marion and Polk counties.
Under the new contract, those who worked during the pandemic will qualify for $2,000 hazard pay checks. Workers must have worked between March 2020 and April 2021 and have an active provider number as of Dec. 1, 2021, the date of the payment.
“This is a major investment in caregivers, seniors and people with disabilities,” Rebecca Sandoval, chair of the bargaining team and a homecare worker from Medford, wrote in the press release. “It’s about the money, yes, but more than that it’s about the respect we deserve for doing the jobs that are essential.”
The contract will allow case managers to share health and safety issues with workers before they begin working with a consumer; improve the reporting process and require case managers to share the outcomes of reported issues with workers; and require the Oregon Home Care Commission to provide a monthly report of issues to SEIU 503, according to the press release.
Those who work on July 4, Thanksgiving and Christmas will also be paid time and a half for the first eight hours they work starting in 2023.