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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Upgrading California's Home Care Workforce: The Impact of Political Action and Unionization


Candace Howes examines the recent history of one of California’s rapidly growing occupations: home care. As the author’s analysis demonstrates, home care has been extensively transformed in recent years through large-scale unionization and coalition-based political action, which have led to major improvements in wages and benefits. Apart from providing many home care workers with better pay, the upgrading of this occupation has also improved the quality of care that clients receive, since higher wages make for lower turnover. The improved working and living conditions that result benefit caregivers and those they serve alike. The author’s empirical analysis has obvious ramifications for low-wage employment generally, particularly in the burgeoning health care and personal services sector.

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