The Board of Supervisors Tuesday signed off on an $87.8 million contract with a union representing hundreds of caregivers throughout Riverside County, guaranteeing them access to union-supplied healthcare and automatic pay hikes totaling 4% over its three-year term.

“By coming to this agreement, many will have access to healthcare, training and wage increases,” United Domestic Workers of America spokeswoman Yevette Elam told the board. “We thank you for investing in the future.”

The 36-month memorandum of understanding, which is retroactive to July 1 and expires on June 30, 2022, was the product of nine bargaining sessions between June 2017 and last August. The contract must still be approved by the state because the union-represented caregivers are employed by county In-Home Supportive Services, which is administered by the California Department of Social Services.

The state will be responsible for covering nearly one-third of the total contract cost, while federal disbursements will cover just over half of the expenses, according to documents posted to the board’s policy agenda. The county’s end will total less than one-fifth, or roughly $14.8 million.

“Because of your action, healthcare will be available to over 1,500 homecare providers in the county,” UDWA representative Kady Crick told the board.

The healthcare component of the agreement establishes the union as the administrator of health benefits for the IHSS employees. However, the insurance plan will be vetted by the county Public Authority, and under the terms of the contract, the county will contribute to healthcare benefits.

The agreement also stipulates that IHSS employees, a large number of whom are relatives of the people for whom they’re providing caregiving services, will receive raises totaling 50 cents over three years. Their current base wage meets the state-mandated threshold of $12 per hour.

The county will further contribute $10,000 over the life of the contract toward training sessions for both workers and clients, according to the terms.

Along with “pre-hire briefings,” workers are supposed to receive training on “caregiving essentials,” CPR, how to prevent blood-born pathogens and other elements relevant to the job.

Clients are entitled to information regarding what they can expect and their rights under the IHSS program.

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