Archive for ‘DCA initiatives’

Know Your Rights as a Homecare Worker

Posted by on October 14th, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Comments Off on Know Your Rights as a Homecare Worker

Know Your RightsHomecare workers have new rights starting today – thanks to the hard work of the Direct Care Alliance, NDWA and many worker groups across the country. We have a webpage with Know Your Rights materials in English, Spanish, Tagalog and Polish, as well as sample timesheets. Can you share this resource with your friends?

Welcome to Our New Home!

Posted by on March 6th, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Comments Off on Welcome to Our New Home!
Ai-jen Poo (far right), me (second from right) and other members of the DCA group at last summer's conference.

Ai-jen Poo (far right), me (second from right) and other members of the DCA group at last summer’s conference.

When we realized that we could not keep our doors open past 2014, the board and staff of Direct Care Alliance began searching for a new home for our members and network. We thought the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) would be an ideal fit, so I am truly delighted to announce that they have agreed to become our new home.

It’s been a long process, but the papers were signed last week. NDWA looks forward to welcoming all the direct care workers, friends of direct care workers, and state organizations that were once affiliated with DCA, but first I wanted to tell you a little about why we chose them. Continue reading »

The Last Word

Posted by on October 27th, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Comments Off on The Last Word

Dear Friends:

When we closed our doors this June, we maintained a virtual office for three months while some of us looked for a new home for our members and supporters. We are now closing those virtual doors as well. As of tomorrow—October 28, 2014—DCA will no longer exist as a legal entity.

That means you won’t be hearing from us any more on this blog or on our social media, but we hope you will join our Board Chair Tracy Dudzinski and other workers who were part of DCA on their new Facebook page, DCA Workers United.

We may have one last piece of good news for you later on. Our executive committee has identified a group that may be able to provide a home for our members, our allies, and some of our programs. So if you get an email in a few weeks that mentions Direct Care Alliance in the subject line, please be sure to read it.

In the meantime, we’ll all keep looking for ways to advocate for better respect, wages, benefits, training, and working conditions for direct care workers, and we know you will too.

The DCA board

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on October 21st, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

The people that take care of me deserve a living wage,” says home care recipient Kyle Auxier.

How well a home care worker is treated has depended entirely on the employer. Now, that’s finally changing.

Award-winning home health aide Joe Quinn on how home care workers go above and beyond for their clients.

Nearly three-quarters of direct care workers are forced to rush through basic care for the elderly and disabled, survey finds.

Ai-jen Poo on why it is essential that we pay home care workers enough to support their familiesContinue reading »

Home Care Workers Rising

Posted by on October 14th, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Comments Off on Home Care Workers Rising

forest of signs 2The following photos and stories are from the Voices Institute graduates, several of whom were also DCA board members, who represented Direct Care Alliance and their profession at the Home Care Workers Rising summit. The summit was hosted by Caring Across Generations in St. Louis on October 6 and 7.

It Rekindled the Fight in Me

I was fortunate to be invited to the Home Care Workers Rising summit by the Direct Care Alliance board of directors. The summit brought together members of the SEIU, AFSCME, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jobs with Justice, Hand in Hand, Caring Across Generations, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice to spark and rekindle the Home Care Worker fight for a job that is respected, pays a living wage, includes benefits and paid time off. We were home care workers and consumers, all sharing and learning what each other were doing in the fight to improve home care jobs.  Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on September 15th, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

Maine needs to increase reimbursement rates and give us direct care workers a raise, says Helen Hanson in a Bangor Daily News editorial.

How negative public attitudes toward direct care work can damage workers’ morale and self-image.

Not just anyone can do direct care work, says a striking worker: “It takes a very long time to understand how to work with very complex people with very complex needs.”

A strong op-ed on what’s wrong with Britain’s “zero-hour” home care contracts, which offer workers no protection and no guaranteed hours.

With a statewide average wage of $8.60 an hour, home care workers in Missouri are calling for higher wages.

An ethics instructor considers what fair pay for home care workers would look like—and why we need to make it happen.

This video for NADSP’s Direct Support Professional Appreciation Week (September 7-13) celebrates the work done by DSPs.

Professors Lisa Dodson and Nancy Folbre on why the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision will hurt home care consumers.

Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on August 15th, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

A new rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor would raise the minimum wage for VA hospital CNAs and other federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

A new guidance and updated fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor help states make sure home care workers are paid fairly under the minimum wage and overtime rule.

Another excellent editorial from the New York Times on why U.S. Department of Labor must resist pressure to delay implementing the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers.

Home care worker Maureen Lewis on why we must improve the lives of the next generation by improving wages for direct care workersContinue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on July 16th, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

A new rule proposed by US DOL would raise the minimum wage for VA hospital CNAs and other federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

A new guidance and updated fact sheet from U.S. Department of Labor help states make sure home care workers are paid fairly under the minimum wage and overtime rule.

Another excellent New York Times editorial on why U.S. Department of Labor must resist pressure to delay implementing the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers.

A family member, National Nurses United and a professor of labor and employment studies on the disaster that is the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn ruling.

A small raise for Massachusetts home care aides is a step in the right direction, but there’s a long way to go yet. Continue reading »

Leading Long-Term Care Magazine Reports on DCA’s New Status

Posted by on June 25th, 2014 at 12:23 pm | 1 Comment »

mcknights_logo“Long-term care workers are, by nature, hearty souls. They have to be. That’s probably why Monday’s notice set off bells in numerous offices here. It’s over. Operations are ceasing.”

So begins a blog post by James M. Berklan, editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, about DCA’s change in status and search for a partner.  Read his story.

Farewell and Thank You

Posted by on June 23rd, 2014 at 10:09 am | 21 Comments »

Dear Friend of DCA,

group shot panoramic for web

With your support, Direct Care Alliance has been the national advocacy voice of direct care workers for almost ten years.  We can all be proud of what we have accomplished together.

Inspired by the vision of former Executive Director Leonila Vega, we built a nationwide advocacy network of direct care workers through the Voices Institute and other means. These worker leaders are eloquent about the value of their work and have a passion for improving our system of long-term services and supports.

We influenced legislation and regulation, taking important steps at the state and federal level to improve the health and economic security of direct care workers, invest in the workforce and enhance training and advancement opportunities. A key recent victory was the final home care rule extending basic labor protections–including federal minimum wage and overtime pay–to home care workers nationwide.

We developed a national credentialing program that is an important step toward building recognition of personal care work. We assisted many direct care workers in finding health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We also provided technical and financial assistance to direct care worker state associations.

Unfortunately, the world has changed, and our income has decreased every year. The board has grappled with this over the years, trying to trim costs while maintaining services and supports for workers, but we don’t have enough funding to continue operating. We regretfully inform you that DCA staff operations will cease and our offices in Washington, DC and New York will close by June 30.  Continue reading »

FAQs About DCA’s New Status

Posted by on June 23rd, 2014 at 10:09 am | Comments Off on FAQs About DCA’s New Status

I hear DCA is closing down. Is that true?

Our offices closed and our staff stopped working on June 30, 2014. The board is operating a “virtual office” to respond to members through October 28. Our communications consultant is also staying on part-time to maintain our website, blog and social media.

What happened?

Finding grant funding has became more and more challenging in recent years, and our income has been steadily decreasing. The board has been trimming costs where it could, but we arrived at a point at which things were no longer sustainable.

What will DCA do between now and October 20?

The board is exploring possible partnerships with other organizations in hopes of finding a new home for our members and allies. If you know of a group that might be interested in partnering with us, please let us know.  Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on June 16th, 2014 at 10:16 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

Punitive managers and overreliance on rigid rules foster bad patterns of interaction in nursing homes, harming resident care and staff satisfaction—but there are methods managers can use to encourage positive interactions between staff.

Delay the minimum wage and overtime rule for home care workers even longer? Home care workers deserve better, and so do consumers.

Watch Respect: The Joy of Aides, a wonderful 20-minute documentary by Eva Sweeney, a woman with CP, about how to hire and manage aides and what it’s like when a direct care worker and a client work well together.

Good news for home care worker wages: a 5% pay raise in Minnesota, home care workers fighting for fair wages all across America, and rallies in Cleveland and Boston, where home care workers are calling for a $15 minimum wage for their profession.  Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on May 29th, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

The Massachusetts Senate is deciding whether to give home care workers a much-needed raise.

Watch this excellent program from NJTV’s Due Process about why home care workers and other low-wage workers need paid time off.

Contract workers are a fast-increasing percentage of the workforce, in direct care and elsewhere—and that’s a worrisome trend.

Let’s not let technology run amok: A reminder that robots can never take the place of human beings in the very personal business of direct care work.

The Library of Congress is funding research on home health care workers by a University of Oregon team.

A heroic direct care worker saved 20 residents after fire broke out in an adult foster care home in Detroit.

The mammoth national Home Instead Senior Care franchise is bringing staff training online.

A home care worker in England is threatening to sue for being issued a parking ticket while visiting a client.

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on May 20th, 2014 at 11:59 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

The New York Times on why we must not delay implementation of the new rule extending minimum wage and overtime pay to home care workers.

Read about the awesome recipients of ANCOR’s 2014 Direct Support Professionals Award.

Former home health aides bring valuable perspective to the job when they transition into nursing, says home care agency president Marki Flannery.

Check out and contribute to the new TalkPoverty.org website, an opportunity for direct care workers and other advocates to tell their stories and share solutions.

From Northeast England, the diary of a home care worker:  overworked, underpaid, and looking after your loved ones. Continue reading »

Why It’s Crucial to Make the Link Between Better Jobs and Better Care

Posted by on May 5th, 2014 at 1:51 pm | 3 Comments »

Deborah Little is the chair of the Sociology department at Adelphi University. Her chapter in Caring on the Clock, a book on direct care work that is due out this fall from Rutgers, looks at DCA’s work to support and empower direct care worker advocates. She recently talked to DCA’s Elise Nakhnikian about what strategies are most effective and why.

Voices Institute students at work with an instructor (far left).

Voices Institute students at work with an instructor (far left).

What got you interested in this topic?

I was hired by DCA to do an evaluation of the pilot senior CNA project that started three years ago. As part of that, Leonila [Vega] invited me to attend a national Voices Institute in Wisconsin, because five participants from the senior CNA project attended that year. At the Voices Institute, I got very interested in the organizing and empowerment work that DCA was doing. I took extensive field notes during the Voices Institute, and spent a lot of time speaking with participants in informal interviews. After that, I expanded my research to look at the DCA blog and the literature on organizing direct care workers.

What got me interested in this topic was a moment that I talk about at the beginning of the paper, where one of the workers at the Voices Institute was willing to give up a wage increase because she thought it would be difficult for her clients to afford the extra cost. I thought, how can this be? How can she not readily see the connection between the quality of her job and the quality of the care she is giving? And how can she be so willing to sacrifice her own needs and the needs of her family? Continue reading »

Obamacare Gave Me Back My Medicaid Coverage

Posted by on May 5th, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Comments Off on Obamacare Gave Me Back My Medicaid Coverage

Dorothy Lee is a home health aide living in New York City who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare), with the help of our Get Direct Care Workers Covered initiative.

Dorothy Lee

Dorothy Lee

I’ve been working for an agency here in New York for three years. Before that, I worked at a Ritz-Carlton in Florida. When I moved here I wanted to switch to working with the elderly. I like working with people, and when my grandmother was old I didn’t get to give her any attention. It feels good to be able to help other people’s grandparents.

When I worked at the hotel I had insurance through Aetna, but I started going without insurance soon after I started doing home health care. At first I had Medicaid through Health Plus, but they took it away because I was earning too much. They said I have to make less than $700 a month to get back on Medicaid.  Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on May 5th, 2014 at 10:23 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

An Older Americans Month toolkit from Eldercare Workforce Alliance helps journalists and other stakeholders find publications, programs, and personal stories that focus on the health and safety of older Americans from EWA member organizations—including DCA.

“Home care services are among the most important work there is, and if we want it to be done well, dedicated home care workers should be compensated at a level that reflects their commitment and skills,” says an editorial in Maine’s Portland Press-Herald.

Vermont home care workers have reached a tentative agreement with the state that includes significant raises and an annual cost-of-living adjustment.

An excellent new publication from Center for Law and Social Policy explains a crucial but often overlooked part of compensation: direct care workers and other low-income workers are far less likely to get paid leave than higher-wage workers. The brief describes recent and pending laws and policies aimed at leveling the paid time off playing field.

Want to know how to find and keep good direct care workers? Higher pay attracts talented staff, this study finds, but that alone is not enough. To keep them, you also need good working conditions.  Continue reading »

Talking About #fairpay

Posted by on April 22nd, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Comments Off on Talking About #fairpay

equal pay graphicLast week Direct Care Alliance, 9to5 and the National Partnership for Women & Families co-hosted a tweet chat about why women still earn much less than men and what we can do to change that.

Equal pay for women is an important issue for direct care workers–and not just because 90% of all direct care workers are women. Like teaching, child care and other forms of “care work,” direct care is a traditionally female profession that pays less than it should because it has been pigeonholed–and devalued–as “women’s work.” And even within the profession, female direct care workers earn less than male workers on average.

Here are highlights from the chat.

 

Greater Houston DCA Members Take Time to Recharge

Posted by on April 21st, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Comments Off on Greater Houston DCA Members Take Time to Recharge
Carla Washington

Carla Washington

“You touch with your heart long before you touch with your hand,” said one of the almost 200 participants attending the Care for Elders 17th Annual Direct Care Workers Conference in Houston, Texas, earlier this month.

Direct care workers came together to recharge, reconnect and remember why the care and services they provide to the elderly and people with disabilities is vital work, provided not only in Houston but by more than 300,000 direct care workers across the state. Members of Greater Houston Direct Care Alliance  (GHDCA) start planning early to ensure they’re available to attend the annual conference, because GHDCA’s members recognize the importance of taking care of themselves so they can provide quality care, services and support to their consumers. Continue reading »