Archive for March, 2012

Supreme Court Decision to Affect Close to a Million Direct Care Workers

Posted by on March 26th, 2012 at 8:45 pm | 5 Comments »

gavelTwo years ago, President Obama signed landmark health care reform legislation into law. Known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the law will extend health insurance coverage to an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans.

The new law is particularly beneficial for direct care workers and others in jobs that pay modest wages and provide limited benefits. According to PHI, about 900,000 direct care workers–nearly 30 percent of the workforce–were uninsured as of 2009. Once the new law is fully implemented, most currently uninsured direct care workers will be insured.

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What I Heard at the Hearing on the Proposed Home Care Rule

Posted by on March 26th, 2012 at 8:41 pm | 1 Comment »

Last Wednesday, the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on the proposed rule to grant basic labor protections to home care workers. Clara Glenn, a home care worker from Philadelphia, went to Washington, D.C. for the hearing. Here is her story, as told to the DCA.

Clara Glenn

I was glad I got to be there, but the chairman of the subcommittee [Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI)] did a lot of talking, and it was hard to listen to him. He really doesn’t understand the health care workforce. He just seems to think you can balance the budget on the backs of us workers. But the woman who was in charge of the Democrats in the subcommittee [Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)] was good. She asked a lot of good questions.

Another man from Michigan who owned a home care agency [Home Instead franchise owner Wynn Esterline] talked about how he couldn’t afford to pay overtime. The lady next to him [Marie Woodward] talked about how she had been taking care of her mother and father and they couldn’t afford to pay overtime either.  Continue reading »

Speaking Up for the Home Care Work that I Love

Posted by on March 20th, 2012 at 8:27 am | 4 Comments »

Brenda Nachtway

On a brisk but beautiful morning early this month, I walked through Washington, D.C. to the building where my congressman, Thomas Marino, has his office. I was there, on behalf of the Direct Care Alliance, to ask his support for the proposed rule to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers.

As I walked past our nation’s Capitol and watched the American flag move in the light breeze, I was reminded of how lucky we are to live in the United States. I thought about other trips I have made to politicians’ offices to advocate for direct care workers, on behalf of the DCA or my state organization, the Pennsylvania Direct Care Workers Association. I also thought about the many direct care workers I have met in my advocacy work who told me they could never take a trip like this. Some are just too busy, working two or three jobs and raising a family. But often, it seems to me, the real barrier is that the work they do is so widely disrespected and misunderstood that even they don’t quite believe it’s worth fighting for.  Continue reading »

Bright, Bright, Bright Sunshiny Day

Posted by on March 13th, 2012 at 10:17 am | 1 Comment »

David Moreau

Toby races through the building

and I’m supposed to keep up.

That’s the way it’s always been.

He gets a two, three minute head start

if I’m helping lift Jean-Paul

or still assigned a lunch table

and if I don’t track him down quickly

and he grabs stuff off someone’s desk,

or marks up the bulletin board

or gets Sophie upset patting her head

then I’m to blame. We do it this way

so other staff don’t have to deal with him. Continue reading »

What My Culture Taught Me About Caregiving

Posted by on March 4th, 2012 at 12:37 pm | 3 Comments »

Mohan Varghese

In India, where I am from, it is common for children to take care of the aging parents who took care of them when they were young. Parents generally stay with their eldest son, while daughters move away to live with their husbands and the husbands’ families when they get married.

My responsibilities grew in a matter of few days at the age of 18, when my father came home after his first hospitalization after a stroke. As the eldest male in the family, it was my duty to take care of the family and bring home the bacon, so I quit my job with the Merchant Marine and moved back home.  Continue reading »