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3,000 protest state budget cuts in downtown Los Angeles

May 22, 2009 |  8:57 pm

Three thousand state workers, union advocates and home-care recipients gathered outside the Ronald Reagan State Building on Friday afternoon to protest Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed cuts to the state home-care program.

The cutbacks to In-Home Supportive Services, which provides home care to the elderly, blind and disabled, would reduce wages for thousands of state workers.  In Santa Clara County, union workers earning $12.35 an hour would instead be paid $8r.  In addition to the pay cuts, hours of service would be reduced.

“We understand times are hard right now and we need to tighten up,” said Evelyn Lopez, 61 of Bakersfield. "But what [the governor’s] proposing are big cuts.” 

Lopez said that if state workers were going to be paid minimum wage, most would probably find other jobs that paid better. That would reduce the number of providers available to watch her son, who is developmentally disabled, while she works, Lopez said. She said she did not get support from her family when she asked relatives to help watch over him.

Silvia Alvarado stood outside the state building with her son, Omar, 17, who uses a wheelchair. She said the proposed cuts would force her to quit her job to care for her son, who has spina bifida.  “He’s my job,” she said. “Who’s going to watch him now?”

The rally was organized by major unions, the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees’ United Domestic Workers of America and the Service Employees International Union United Long Term Care Workers.

-- Ruben Vives