The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued a complaint against the Humboldt County IHSS Public Authority, in effect deciding to pursue charges filed against the county for refusing to bargain a first time contract with the union that represents over 1,400 county homecare workers.

The decision stems from the county’s refusal to hold a public hearing following the revelations and recommendation included in the Humboldt County IHSS fact finding report issued in September. The fact finding report, which included the county’s admission that it could in fact afford to pay the wage increase it had blocked for nearly two years, concluded with a recommendation to grant county homecare workers a wage increase of $1.50 over a period of two years.

The ruling also follows news that Humboldt County will receive a refund check in the amount of $164,726.37 due to an increase in federal funding known as the Community First Choice Option. By the county’s own estimates, the refund would constitute the lion’s share of the proposed wage increase it admitted to being able to afford prior to receiving news of the refund.

When questioned about the charges, CUHW bargaining team member Margaret Lewis stated, “The PERB charges illustrate what we’ve been saying since day one. While we’ve tried to work with the county to reach a fair agreement, the county has not been forthcoming at all. Instead, it has opted against public accountability and refused to bargain in good faith.”

According to the general counsel of PERB the Humboldt County IHSS Public Authority, “...failed and refused to participate in impasse and fact finding procedures in good faith violating government codes and PERB regulations by not holding a public hearing after fact finding hearing.” The Humboldt County IHSS Public Authority now has 20 days to respond and take part in an informal settlement conference.

CUHW is a statewide labor organization representing over 20,000 in-home care workers within California’s IHSS program in 25 counties. They have fought to secure and improve the social, economic and political conditions of those who provide care for California’s most vulnerable populations, the elderly and disabled.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Loretta Stevens, please contact her at (213) 300-1542 or email her at lorettas@cuhw.org.