Archive for August, 2013

DCA Joins Listening Session with DOL Secretary Perez

Posted by on August 27th, 2013 at 7:10 am | Comments Off on DCA Joins Listening Session with DOL Secretary Perez
Jessica Brill Ortiz

Jessica Brill Ortiz

On August 19, I participated in a listening session with U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on the topic of the Department of Labor’s proposed rule to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The session was an opportunity for worker and consumer advocates to share their position on the proposed regulations with the new Secretary, as well as other Department of Labor (DOL) staff and representatives from the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

I was there with home care workers and a staff representative from the National Domestic Workers Alliance, as well as representatives from AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Caring Across Generations, Jobs with Justice, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, National Council of La Raza, National Employment Law Project, National Partnership for Women & Families, PHI and Service Employees International Union. We all underscored our strong support for the regulations, urging finalization now.  Continue reading »

Join Me in Thanking David for His Service to DCA

Posted by on August 27th, 2013 at 7:08 am | 4 Comments »
Carla D. Washington

Carla D. Washington

David Ward

David Ward


After four years at Direct Care Alliance, David Ward will leave at the end of this month. Please join me in wishing David all the best in his future endeavors and thanking him for all that he has done for our organization and the movement to improve direct care jobs.

While at DCA, David led our campaign in support of federal minimum wage and overtime protections for home care workers. He established himself as an expert on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the new health care law that will extend coverage to thousands of direct care workers, leading the effort to launch our new Get Direct Care Workers Covered campaign.

He provided strategic leadership and support for DCA’s organizing, advocacy and credentialing programs and worked tirelessly with DCA’s constituents, policymakers and other advocates to advance DCA’s policy agenda. Continue reading »

Celebrate Grandparents Day with Caring Across

Posted by on August 27th, 2013 at 7:06 am | Comments Off on Celebrate Grandparents Day with Caring Across

caring across GPDayFor so many of us, our grandparents have a special place in our hearts—they take care of us when we are kids, love us unconditionally, and give us valuable advice as we grow older. This Grandparents Day, let’s give back and show them how much we care!

Grandparents Day is fast approaching on September 8. How will you celebrate? Caring Across Generations, a coalition whose leadership team includes DCA, is organizing a Grandparents Day celebration. We hope you will join us.

Visit Caring Across’s Grandparents Day page to send a free, customized postcard to your grandparents, or share a story or a memory about them on social media with the tag #granecdote.

Thanks for joining us to celebrate Grandparents Day.


On Monday, Join a National Day of Action for Time to Care

Posted by on August 23rd, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Comments Off on On Monday, Join a National Day of Action for Time to Care

9to5 logoMonday, August 26, is Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the day American women finally won the right to vote. To celebrate that milestone, DCA ally organization 9to5 is holding a Day of Action to support family-friendly workplace policies and expand the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

FMLA, which was implemented 20 years ago this month, allows some employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their own illness, an ill family member, or a new baby. This was a huge victory that has helped millions of working families, but it was meant to be just a first step, since FMLA provides only unpaid leave and covers less than half of the private sector workforce.

Most issues that affect women’s rights in the workplace are important to direct care workers because about nine out of every ten direct care workers is a woman. Making FMLA more accessible and affordable is no exception to that rule. Far too many direct care workers are unable to take the time they need to deal with a serious illness or care for a family member, either because they don’t qualify for FMLA protection or because they can’t afford to take unpaid time off.

Here’s how you can participate in 9to5’s Day of Action: Continue reading »

How I Became a Direct Care Worker Advocate

Posted by on August 12th, 2013 at 12:22 pm | 3 Comments »
Sunny Smith

Sunny Smith

I’ve worked as a professional direct care worker for more than 25 years, off and on (mostly on), between other jobs. In-home caregiving is where I’m most happy. I feel, as most of us do, that it’s a calling. But just because we love our work doesn’t mean we should have to live in poverty, go on food stamps or rely on Medicaid. We deserve basic benefits like paid sick time and affordable health care. Many of us are left out of those basic benefits due to a lack of understanding, appreciation and respect for our work. And, through no fault of our own, lack of training often causes safety issues for our clients and ourselves.

About five years ago, I was offered the opportunity to join the Arizona Direct Care Worker Association, a grassroots professional organization. I said yes immediately and wrote a check for a whopping $10 a year. You see, I knew what it means to be a part of an association. Yes, the benefits I now had access to were worthwhile, but more than that, I wanted to be part of a professional association just like any other professional, from nurses to attorneys to social workers. Continue reading »

Learn About Your FMLA Rights and Share Your Stories

Posted by on August 12th, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Comments Off on Learn About Your FMLA Rights and Share Your Stories

FMLA guideAs part of its year-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the National Partnership for Woman and Families, which was instrumental in getting the law passed, has issued a new guide to FMLA. The guide clearly explains who is and is not covered, how to use your FMLA leave and what to do if your employer violates your FMLA rights.

FMLA is a national law that allows workers to take job-protected leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or seriously ill family member, or to recover from a serious health problem of their own. It has helped millions of workers and their families since it was implemented on August 5, 1993, but millions more—including many direct care workers—are unable to benefit from it, most of them because they work part-time, work for too small an employer, or earn too little to afford to take unpaid time off.

The new guide is part of a year-long campaign by the National Partnership and its allies, including Direct Care Alliance, to amend the law so it can help working families even more.  Continue reading »