Russell Rawlings, 46, right, a disability rights advocate who lives with cerebral palsy and relies on caregivers from California's In-Home Supportive Services, is fed breakfast by his caregiver Darrow Sprague, 54, on Tuesday. Sprague, who lives in and shares the expense of the rental apartment, helps Rawlings with everything from meal preparation and housekeeping to personal hygiene, as well as getting in and out of bed with a lift. (Renée C. Byer/The Sacramento Bee/TNS)

SACRAMENTO — California’s in-home caregivers, a historically underpaid workforce that serves a rapidly aging population, could receive a significant boost in bargaining power under a new bill introduced recently.

The In-Home Support Services Employee-Employer Relations Act, authored by Assemblyman Matt Haney, D-San Francisco, would allow the state’s in-home supportive services (IHSS) caregivers to unite under one statewide bargaining unit. They would negotiate with the Department of Healthcare Services. Currently, workers bargain county-by-county with the boards of supervisors. Most only pay within a dollar or two of the minimum wage.

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