(San Francisco, CA) – Hundreds of 6-bed small care home providers joined with their loyal caregivers and ailing and frail residents and families to press their case against the U.S. Department of Labor in San Francisco. They claim they have been vilified and victimized by federal agents who are busting into their homes, threatening caregivers to turn in their employers for back wages and ordering these mostly Filipino women care providers to pay millions of dollars for lost wages or be sent to jail.
The owners of these small 6-bed care homes are fighting back to save these facilities, despite hundreds of them having already been shut down or gone into bankruptcy. The care providers claim absurdly low government subsidies for the care of a sizable population of low-income elders and adults on aid are capped, making it impossible for them to pay their live-in employees minimum wage over a 24 hour-period every day of the week, even while staff break and sleep – long after ending their 8-hour work shifts. The subsidy amounts to a compensation given to the care home owners amounting to just 72 cents an hour!
The caregivers themselves say they would rather have the free room and board and fully paid meals, utilities and insurance coverage provided by their employers than to lose their jobs and end up homeless. The biggest threat is to elderly and disabled residents and their families who will scramble to find alternative care or be forced into higher-cost institutionalized care and hospital ERs at far greater expense to taxpayers.