Archive for ‘California’

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 »

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 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 »

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 March 24th, 2014 at 11:44 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

Watch HBO’s Paycheck to Paycheck, the story of CNA and single mother Katrina Gilbert, free of charge on the Shriver Report website.

A brief on the problems caused by unstable work schedules–like those of home care workers–and policy approaches that would help.

A New York Times feature about the challenges of raising a family on under $10.10 an hour  features Erika McCurdy, a nurse’s aide in Tennessee.

Unions and the state of California are battling over the right to overtime pay for IHSS home care workers.

The executive director of an ARC in New York state urged the legislature to include a 3 percent raise for direct service staff, saying low wages make recruitment and retention difficult.

More progress on paid sick days: New York’s mayor has signed a measure that will extend paid sick days to 1.3 million more New Yorkers as of April 1 and a National Partnership for Women & Families fact sheet presents evidence of the economic benefits of paid sick days from the four jurisdictions with the longest-running laws: San Francisco, Washington, DC, Connecticut and Seattle.

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on February 11th, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

A MomsRising blog carnival on how the Affordable Care Act is affecting health care coverage includes posts from DCA member and home care worker Mohan Varghese and from DCA’s Jessica Brill Ortiz and Elise Nakhnikian.

A worker from DCA Board Chair Tracy Dudzinski’s Wautoma, Wisconsin-based home care coop is one of the experts quoted in this NPR report on the growing trend of seniors caring for seniors.

Janice Lynch Schuster on why direct care workers deserve and need a living wage.

Direct care workers made Salon Magazine’s list of 11 jobs where an honest day’s work will leave you in poverty.

PHI has a new fact sheet on home care workers.

Direct care workers at a Fresno assisted living home protested over unpaid wages and overtime totaling $1.6 million.

Direct care workers in New Zealand rallied in support of a worker who sued for higher wages on the basis of gender inequality. (She won, but her case is being appealed by her employer.)

A new chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the huge growth in projected demand for direct care workers–especially home care workers–in the next eight years.

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on January 14th, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

A federal appeals court ruled against a nursing home that fired a pregnant nursing assistant. Meanwhile, another home in Michigan put a pregnant worker on forced unpaid leave.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget would prohibit overtime hours for IHSS home care workers.

Dozens of home care workers in San Francisco won $800,000 in back pay through the city’s Wage Theft Ordinance.

Direct care workers in Massachusetts are getting their first raise in five years.

Why developing the right organizational culture is so important for home care providers.

A Toronto personal support worker explains how hard it is to make a living in her profession.

Paid Sick Days Movement Wins Major Victory in New York City

Posted by on April 2nd, 2013 at 9:06 am | Comments Off on Paid Sick Days Movement Wins Major Victory in New York City

psd graphic from National PartnershipThe movement to win paid sick leave for the nation’s workers won a major victory in New York City last week, when an agreement was reached on a bill that would require all employers in the city with at least 15 employees to give their full-time workers five paid sick days a year. A similar victory was just won in Portland, Oregon, and the Philadelphia city council recently passed a paid sick days bill.

The Philadelphia and New York City bills have not yet been enacted, and both city’s mayors are expected to veto them. Support from New York’s city council is expected to be strong enough to override the veto, but Philadelphia was one vote shy of a strong enough majority to override a mayoral veto. Continue reading »

An Economists’-Eye View of Why We Don’t Value Caregiving Enough

Posted by on January 7th, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Comments Off on An Economists’-Eye View of Why We Don’t Value Caregiving Enough

A recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant for her groundbreaking explorations of care work, labor economist Nancy Folbre is a regular contributor to the New York Times’ Economix blog, for which she often writes about caregiving. Her latest multi-author book, For Love and Money, which she edited and cowrote, looks at both paid and unpaid care of children, older adults, and children and adults with disabilities. The book argues that these forms of caregiving are severely underpaid and undervalued, though they make up a vital and enormous part of our economy. DCA’s Elise Nakhnikian interviewed Professor Folbre about the book via email.

Nancy Folbre

Your book raises some “pointed questions,” as you put it, about care work, starting with why women continue to do most of it, both paid and unpaid. What did you and your coauthors conclude about that?

We argue that some intrinsic features of care work contribute to its undervaluation in the market. On the supply side, caregivers often initially feel, or gradually develop, emotional attachment to those they care for, which reduces their “bargaining power.” On the demand side, those who need care the most are often the least able to pay for it.

Do you think the fact that caregiving has traditionally been thought of as “women’s work” is a large part of the reason why the wages and benefits are generally so poor? Or are other factors more to blame?

Is care underpaid because women do most of it, or are women less economically powerful than men because they specialize in care? This is not an either/or question, but a chicken and egg question.  Continue reading »

Battle Lost, the Fight’s Still On for Domestic Workers Rights in California

Posted by on October 15th, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Comments Off on Battle Lost, the Fight’s Still On for Domestic Workers Rights in California

Katie Joaquin

In California, domestic workers have been building a movement of thousands of domestic workers, domestic employers, women, faith leaders, labor leaders, students, and community advocates, united in a vision of dignity and respect for the people who care for our families and homes. A priority item on our agenda is to win a bill of rights for domestic workers.

The second measure of its kind in the country, after one that went into effect in New York in November 2010, the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights would have required the Department of Industrial Relations to promulgate regulations that would grant all home care workers and other domestic workers in the state the right to meal and rest breaks, overtime pay, and uninterrupted sleep.  Continue reading »

Making Our Voices Heard on the National Day of Action

Posted by on September 25th, 2012 at 10:42 am | 13 Comments »

Determined to win home care workers the respect and basic labor protections they deserve, direct care workers and their allies converged on Capitol Hill last Friday for a National Day of Action. The advocates visited their members of Congress to deliver an urgent message: We must guarantee home care workers the right to minimum wage and overtime pay. Meanwhile, hundreds of advocates across the nation delivered the same message in their home states, visiting members of Congress in their home offices, calling them on the phone, or signing petitions in support of the cause.

The event was sponsored by the Direct Care Alliance (DCA), in partnership with Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice and the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). Many other national and local organizations also participated, spreading the word to their constituents.

On Capitol Hill

The more than 50 people who met in Washington, D.C. started the day with a morning orientation session led by DCA’s National Advocacy Coordinator Jessica Brill Ortiz. Continue reading »

Health Care Documentary Highlights CNA’s Central Role

Posted by on September 17th, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Comments Off on Health Care Documentary Highlights CNA’s Central Role

Cynthia Y. Johnson

The Waiting Room captures the rhythms of life in an overburdened big-city emergency room—and demonstrates the crucial role direct care workers play in our health care system.

The film, which will have its theatrical premiere next week in New York City and LA after a series of community screenings, documents a dysfunctional system, showing how people without insurance must resort to the ER for chronic conditions that could easily be controlled if only they could afford to see a family doctor or buy needed medication. It’s a disturbing state of affairs, yet the movie feels hopeful, thanks to the kindness, competence and compassion of the staff and the lengths to which they go to help their patients.

Of all the caring professionals in The Waiting Room, none are more impressive, or more important, than Cynthia Y. Johnson, the CNA who manages the Oakland, California, waiting room of the title. Her unflappable competence, humor and warmth helps keep the crowded room running smoothly while infusing it with a crucial sense of humanity.  Continue reading »

Advocates Speak Out for Proposed Home Care Rule

Posted by on September 11th, 2012 at 9:11 am | Comments Off on Advocates Speak Out for Proposed Home Care Rule

Dean Lerner

Last week saw another healthy crop of strong editorials about the need to grant home care workers the right to minimum wage and overtime pay, including one that urges participation in our National Day of Action.

In “Latham Gets Thanked, But for What?,”  Des Moines Register columnist Dean Lerner dissects an ad that ran in the paper, “profusely thanking Iowa Congressman Tom Latham ‘for Supporting Home Healthcare for Iowa Seniors.’ ” The ad was paid for the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, whose members are primarily large national home care franchises. In fact, Lerner points out, Latham is anything but helping the cause of home care, as he cosponsored the bill that would prohibit the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from enacting the rule that guarantees home care workers minimum wage and overtime pay. Lerner then explains why granting home care workers basic labor rights is good for the elders and people with disabilities who rely on them.  Continue reading »

Direct Care Workers Help Lead Movement for Paid Sick Days

Posted by on August 21st, 2012 at 6:41 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers Help Lead Movement for Paid Sick Days

Mary Tillman of Boston, Massachusetts

Hundreds of thousands of direct care workers face an impossible choice when they get sick. Should they stay home to heal but lose wages and risk losing their jobs, or work sick and risk infecting the people they assist? Fortunately, those who want to fight for their right to paid sick days can do so, thanks to a growing national movement to win paid sick time for all U.S. workers. And for those who want to do something now, 9to5 will host a National Day of Action on Sunday, August 26.

While nearly three out of every four nursing assistants in nursing homes are entitled to paid sick leave, only half (50.5%) of home health aides working for agencies receive any type of sick leave benefit. More than a million additional direct care workers who are working in less formal arrangements are highly unlikely to receive a single paid sick day. Nationwide, over 40 million workers fall in that category.

Mary Tillman, a personal care attendant from Boston, describes the conflict she experiences when forced to choose between her physical and financial well-being. “I have been a personal care attendant, caring for people with disabilities, for over 24 years,” she says. “I have never had a paid sick day. I have gone to work sick on too many occasions and, on one occasion, I even had pneumonia. I could not afford a day without pay when I live from paycheck to paycheck. I don’t think it’s fair or just that any human being should have to make a decision on health because of money. Paid sick time should be a law. Not only does it allow me to take care of myself and my family, but it is safer for my consumer.” Continue reading »

Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act Introduced in the House and Senate!

Posted by on June 27th, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act Introduced in the House and Senate!

Last Friday, the Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act was introduced in the U.S. House (HR 2341) and Senate (S. 1273) by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA).  The bill was submitted with 22 original co-sponsors in the House and in the Senate, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, Tom Harkin also signed on as an original co-sponsor.

Rep. Sanchez released a statement on the importance and impact of the legislation stating “It is impossible to overstate the importance of direct care workers…They provide essential care and daily living services to more than 13 million elderly and disabled Americans.  They care for our parents and grandparents, but we don’t guarantee home care workers the minimum wage.  It is my hope that…” Read full release from Rep. Sanchez


State Budget Deficits are Causing a Care Crisis

Posted by on January 24th, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Comments Off on State Budget Deficits are Causing a Care Crisis

David Ward

In the wake of a slow economic recovery, state budget deficits are growing as unemployment remains high and state tax revenues continue to shrink.  States that have fallen victim to budget shortfalls are being forced consider cuts to human service programs at a time when people need them most.

The deficit crisis is not discriminating between states that are known for its spending and states that are noted for their fiscal restraint.  California, Illinois and New York  are all facing significant deficits.  But so is Texas, which is facing a $25 billion budget deficit.  Given its already lean budget, the Texas legislature is considering cutting Medicaid altogether.  This is at a time when nearly one in ten Americans are unemployed and more families are relying on safety net programs such as Medicaid.

California, on the other hand, has been battling budget problems for some time and has made multiple attempts to reduce reimbursements to state health care providers, including direct care workers.  In 2008, this effort was rebuked by Federal courts and now the Supreme Court is set to hear the case.   Many states, health and long-term care consumers and workers will be impacted by this ruling.

States are already taking action and health care and social services are on the chopping block. Continue reading »

To be a home care worker…and a recent immigrant

Posted by on April 26th, 2010 at 10:41 am | 1 Comment »

As an advocate for home care workers in the heart of the Los Angeles immigrant community, I work with hundreds of immigrant home care workers in my role as a leader and Associate Director of the Pilipino Workers Center (PWC). I attended a meeting in Houston from April 14-15, 2010, organized by the Department of Labor Office of Safety and Health Administration (DOL-OSHA), where Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis spoke about safety in the workplace. Immigration was a topic of the discussion as well, given that so many workers who face labor safety issues are recent immigrants to America. “Working without papers may be against the law, but it is NOT A DEATH SENTENCE!” said Secretary Solis. DOL statistics reveal that 14 immigrants die each day in the U.S. because of unsafe working conditions. Caregivers are among them.


Continue reading »

Real Wages Keep Falling for Personal and Home Care Aides

Posted by on September 9th, 2009 at 11:17 am | 1 Comment »

state chartbook coverAs every direct care worker advocate knows, personal and home care aides earn far too little for the important work they do. And now an updated version of PHI’s State Chart Book on Wages for Personal and Home Care Aides (PDF) gives advocates a valuable tool, proving that real wages are actually getting worse.

The chart book analyzes data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, adjusting last year’s wages for inflation to see how their earning power compares to average wages in 1999.

Nationwide, these inflation-adjusted rates, which the chartbook calls “real wages,” have decreased by 3 percent over the past nine years, dropping from $7.50 an hour to just $7.31. Real wages increased in more than half the states during that period, but not enough to make up for their decline in the other 21.

Median wages in 2008 ranged from $7.05 an hour in Texas to $12.55 in Alaska in 2008, or real wages of $5.61 to $9.90. “Wages for personal and home care aides are so low,” says PHI Director of Policy Research Dorie Seavey, “that about 20 percent of these workers received a raise on July 24 when the minimum wage increased to $7.25/hour.”

The chartbook also compares wages to federal poverty level wages for a one-person household.

Elise Nakhnikian
Communications Director
Direct Care Alliance

Study Finds Home Health Aides Particularly Vulnerable to Labor Law Violations

Posted by on September 8th, 2009 at 12:59 pm | 5 Comments »

Broken Promises coverMost low-wage workers put in some unpaid overtime, but home health aides are particularly likely not to be paid, according to a new study. “Home health care workers are especially vulnerable to violations, both because of the nature of the job and because they’re not fully covered by the protections that most of us take for granted,” said Annette Bernhardt, the policy co-director of the National Employment Law Project and one of the co-authors of Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America’s Cities.

The report is based on a survey of 4,387 workers in low-wage industries in the three largest U.S. cities—Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. It found that employment and labor laws are “regularly and systematically violated” in home health care and other low-wage work settings.

“More than two-thirds (68 percent) of our sample experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week,” says the report’s executive summary. “The average worker lost $51, out of average weekly earnings of $339. Assuming a full-time, full-year work schedule, we estimate that these workers lost an average of $2,634 annually due to workplace violations, out of total earnings of $17,616.”

While home health aides were less likely (12%) than the average low-wage worker (26%) to earn less than minimum wage, they were more likely not to be paid extra if they put in more than 40 hours a week. Of the home health aides who had worked overtime in the previous week, 83% were not paid extra for that time, compared to 76 percent of the workers overall who had put in overtime. Continue reading »