Archive for ‘Tennessee’

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.

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 »

Employer Urges President to Give Home Care Workers Basic Labor Protections

Posted by on May 6th, 2013 at 9:08 pm | 1 Comment »
Phil Garner

Phil Garner

“The home care workers who stay in this career are working from the heart,” writes Phil Garner in last Saturday’s Knoxville News Sentinel. “They don’t choose this profession because they want to get rich, but they do want to put food on the table and keep the lights on without having to rely on food stamps or utility assistance. Paying so poorly for such important work is unfair to them, and to the people who rely on them for support and services.”

Garner is the executive director of Buffalo River Services, an agency that provides services to people with disabilities and their families in several counties in south central Tennessee. In his editorial, he urges President Obama to follow through on his promise to extend Fair Labor Standards Act protections to home care workers. Read Phil’s editorial.


Credentialing Caregivers: A Path to Personal Mastery

Posted by on August 29th, 2011 at 6:05 pm | 1 Comment »

Phil Garner

Last week, personal care worker Helen Hanson interviewed Phil Garner via email about his experience with the DCA’s Personal Care & Support Credential examination. Garner is executive director of Buffalo River Services, an agency that provides services to people with disabilities and their families in Waynesboro, Tennessee. Buffalo River recently administered the credential exam to a select group of direct support professionals.

Why is it so important to have quality caregivers?

As we have worked over the past few years in Tennessee’s Person Centered Organization project, we found one very important barrier to providing great services: There is a gap between what we are teaching our direct support professionals and our expectation that they should perform their duties in the most effective person-centered way. We realized we were far from where we needed to be just to achieve our current goals, let alone the “best practices” we aim for, which include person-centered thinking. 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

DCA Publishes Fact Sheets for Direct Care Worker Advocates and their Allies

Posted by on June 25th, 2009 at 10:56 am | 1 Comment »

A full set of DCA Direct Care Fact Sheets, one for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, is now available in the Resources section of our website.

The one-page sheets were created as a resource for direct care worker advocates and their allies, legislators, policymakers, members of the media, and others interested in direct care issues. They include key facts such as:

  •   The number of home health aides, nursing assistants, and personal and home care aides in the state in 2006 and the projected numbers of each in 2016
  •   The average hourly wage for the state’s direct care workers
  •   What percentage of direct care workers in that state or region are without health insurance

Elise Nakhnikian
Communications Director
Direct Care Alliance