More than 98 percent of Oregon home-care workers have voted to ratify a new union contract with the state.
For the first time, the contract covers 7500 caregivers who work with people with mental-health issues and developmental disabilities.
Rebecca Sandoval is a caregiver who was on the Service Employees International bargaining team.
She says workers agreed to a pay freeze. In exchange, the state kept their health-insurance plan.
“We were afraid that since home-care workers make so little money – we make $10.20 an hour – that if there were a premium-share, that people would just drop the insurance because they couldn’t afford it,” says Sandoval.
The union and the state have been negotiating the contract for more than a year. It covers more than 18,000 workers.