Archive for December, 2013

How the FAMILY Act Will Help Direct Care Workers, Their Clients, and Our Economy

Posted by on December 17th, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Comments Off on How the FAMILY Act Will Help Direct Care Workers, Their Clients, and Our Economy

Earlier this month, DCA was invited to join a MomsRising “blog carnival” in support of a new bill that would make paid family and medical leave available to nearly all workers in the U.S. This piece, by DCA’s Jessica Brill Ortiz, ran as part of the series.

Read DCA’s press statement about the bill.

Jessica Brill Ortiz

Jessica Brill Ortiz

December 12 was an important day in the fight to help direct care workers and their families and other hard-working people in the U.S. On that day, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), a national paid family and medical leave program, into Congress.

Under the bill, nearly all U.S. workers would be able to take a limited period of time off from work while receiving a portion of their wages in order to address a serious health condition of their own or of a parent, spouse, domestic partner or child. Workers would also be eligible for the leave for pregnancy, childbirth, to care for a new child and for certain types of military leave or caregiving for a military spouse.

Good for direct care workers and their families

As Rachel Lyons of the National Partnership for Women & Families explained in a Direct Care Alliance (DCA) Q&A, the bill would build on a foundation created 20 years ago by the Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA has allowed millions of 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, but about 40% of the U.S. workforce is not eligible for FMLA leave.  Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on December 17th, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

DCA’s Carla Washington is among the experts quoted in this USA Today article about state efforts to regulate the home care workforce.

A study from the Economic Policy Institute documents high poverty rates among home care aides and other in-home workers, and ThinkProgress summarizes some of its most compelling findings.

Quick thinking and skilled action by home care worker Sophie Hopkins saved her client’s life.

“There is a solution at hand,” writes a Canadian of his country’s punishingly low wages for home care workers.

Worker ownership of an Indiana nursing home helps keep care quality and worker morale high.

A New Zealand home care worker explains why “Income, NOT budgeting, is the issue.”

Today is #GivingTuesday: Participate by Donating to DCA

Posted by on December 3rd, 2013 at 10:19 am | Comments Off on Today is #GivingTuesday: Participate by Donating to DCA

giving tuesday logoThe holidays should be about giving back, not just giving presents. That’s the idea behind GivingTuesday, which is December 3 this year — today!

Donate to DCA to help direct care workers advocate for the profession they love, so they can get the pay, benefits, training and working conditions they need and deserve. It’s a great way to give something to direct care workers, who give so much to everyone else all year long.

Home Care Worker Fights for the Right to Assist Clients

Posted by on December 3rd, 2013 at 9:55 am | Comments Off on Home Care Worker Fights for the Right to Assist Clients
Trumeko Foxx

Trumeko Foxx

On October 4, Nashville home care worker Trumeko Foxx and librarian Exie Mai Harrington, along with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and SEIU Local 205, filed a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee. The suit challenged emergency rules that placed harsh restrictions on anyone who takes part in or facilitates public education about the new health care marketplaces or insurance plans available under the Affordable Care Act. A judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the rules, which are now expected to be rewritten by early next year. Trumeko Foxx and Local 205 Political Director Freda Player talked to DCA’s Elise Nakhnikian about why they fought for this victory and what it means to home care workers and their clients.

How did this get started?

Freda: It started with the union. We were concerned about the emergency rules and how they would affect our members who work in social services. We knew they helped their clients a lot with things like medical bills and doctor visits and with finding medical help, and we knew it would be hard for them to assist their clients while following the rules as they were written.

We wanted to show that people could be fined a thousand dollars just for doing their everyday daily work, and a) they couldn’t afford it and b) it wasn’t fair because they were just doing their jobs.

How did Trumeko get involved?

Freda: Trumeko worked in health care and was a leader in our union. We felt that she would be a natural fit, so we approached her and asked if she’d be interested in getting involved.

Trumeko: When Freda called me and let me know what was going on, I was like: Wow! You can get fined for doing that? I had assisted my clients with what we call TennCare here in Tennessee, which is a kind of insurance. Continue reading »