Agreement boosts wages, benefits and training for over 25,000 workers who care for MN seniors and people with disabilities
SAINT PAUL — The funding and ratification for the new two-year contract covering over 25,000 home care workers represented by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota has been included as part of the final Health & Human Services omnibus bill agreement reached by conference committee chairs and the administration.
Provisions in the contract include reimbursement rates and client budgets increasing 2.37% for everyone, with those making the minimum wage seeing a 10.4% wage increase from $12 to $13.25; $750,000 for trainings and orientation to help workers gain and build skills; increased Paid Time Off; and an additional increase in wages for workers serving clients who need the highest hours of care.
Responding to the news was Dalene Annen, a home care worker from rural Winnebago who joined other home care workers and clients at the Capitol in the final days of the session pushing for the funding and ratification of the contract.
“I am excited for the inclusion of our new contract in a final agreement. This contract will help boost wages, benefits and training for over 25,000 home care workers across our state who care for seniors and people with disabilities. Thank you to Governor Walz for negotiating this deal, the House DFL for including our contract in their bill and the legislature for including funding and ratification in their HHS omnibus agreement. It is a great day for both workers and the seniors and people with disabilities who simply want to have quality caregivers so they can stay in their homes. As someone who lives in Greater Minnesota, we see every day how hard it is to find qualified home care workers, with many people having to travel two or three towns to get to their clients. Right now there is a care crisis because too many people don’t want to do this hard, important work for the current pay and benefits. I’m hopeful our contract will be a strong step forward and help bring more people to the industry so we can turn this critical work into a career and not just a job.”
Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities face a growing care crisis, with over 8,000 current job openings caused by low wages and lack of benefits causing families to not be able to stay in their homes. To address this crisis, the SEIU bargaining team included home care workers, clients and family members of people who need care as they worked towards their third contract. They reached an agreement with the State of Minnesota in January that would boost wages, benefits and trainings to help address this crisis.