Archive for ‘Washington state’

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 April 22nd, 2014 at 11:54 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

DCA’s Jessica Brill Ortiz will be one of the participants at a May 8 Capitol Hill briefing on long-term care hosted by OWL – the Voice of Midlife and Older Women. Jessica will explain the importance of direct care workers and the direct care workforce issues that must be addressed in order to ensure quality long-term care services and supports for all who need them.

A new bill would create advanced positions for CNAs with specialized skills in care transitions, dementia and other areas. 

An issue brief from Center for Law and Social Policy looks at the challenges many direct care workers and other low-income parents face as they cope with scheduling child care and other difficulties caused by volatile job schedules.

We must pay home care workers enough to support themselves and their families, say state senator Patricia Jehlen and Executive Director Lisa Gurgone of the Home Care Aide Council in Massachusetts.  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 March 11th, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

Olympia Dukakis on why we need to take better care of home care aides, who take such good care of the rest of us.

This ad from the Healthcare for All Virginians Coalition—including DCA—features quotes from GOP governors who expanded their states’ Medicaid programs.

A direct care worker in Britain is leading a campaign to encourage more people–especially men–to join her profession.  Meanwhile a British activities director is urging more of his fellow men to become care workers, also in order to head off a “drastic” looming shortage.

Direct care workers are lobbying for better pay and better care in Illinois, Washington and Delaware.

NPR reporter Daniel Zwerdling is looking for CNAs, nurses and others at hospitals and nursing homes who have suffered on the job injuries. If that applies to you, check out this online survey.

A retired CNA in Wisconsin won a million-dollar lotteryContinue reading »

Direct Care Workers in the News

Posted by on February 24th, 2014 at 11:04 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News

“It’s way, way deeper than just a job,” says one of the home care workers in this article about going the extra mile to get to clients during this winter’s storms.

Personal support workers in Illinois and home care workers in Washington rallied for higher wages.

A home heath aide and single mother in Texas is typical of the new wave of food stamp recipients.

Sarita Gupta of Jobs With Justice on why the fight for direct care worker rights is a fight for racial justice.

AFSCME’s Laura Reyes on the sexist agenda hidden in the Supreme Court case about unions and home care workers.

Nurse’s aide Timikia Craig, winner of a $1,000 scholarship, on what drew her to direct care work and what it means to her.

After reading about a jobless home care worker in Pennsylvania whose unemployment benefits were ending, the wife of a Virginia man with end-stage dementia who relies on home care paid the worker’s mortgage for a month.

We must increase wages for direct support professionals, says a letter to the editor by staff of Arc Maryland.

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 »

Why My Husband Wishes I’d Choose a Different Profession

Posted by on January 28th, 2013 at 7:02 pm | 2 Comments »

Gabriele Swe (standing) with a client.

I have been a direct care worker for about 10 years. I truly believe we make a difference in the lives of elders and the sick. I love my work and I get paid well for it, but I don’t get paid sick time or paid holidays.

I came here from Germany when I was 25. I didn’t speak any English. I was married to a military man, who brought me here. At first, I just took care of my husband and my house. I volunteered at a thrift shop just to get out, but I was very shy and always worried that I would say the wrong thing.

Then I got divorced and moved to Seattle. I started in a warehouse because I didn’t speak English well. Then I was hired by a large eye care company, where I was promoted to Quality Control Technician until the company moved out of state.

I went to a retraining center, where they tested me and suggested becoming a patient care technician. I always liked working with people, and I really love elderly people—I was 11 or 12 when my grandmother passed away, and up to then I was always with her, even when she was really ill. So I went into the PCT program and then went to work in a nursing home. 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 »

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 »

Protecting the Social Safety Net

Posted by on November 8th, 2011 at 10:32 am | 1 Comment »

CNA and DCA member Kelly Gessner testifying at a Senate briefing last week.

UPDATE: Help us fight to preserve these crucial programs by emailing your elected representatives. Our action alert makes it easy to send them a letter.

Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are under attack. Over the past several months, these social safety programs have become the focus of a political battle over what our government needs to do to create jobs and stimulate our struggling economy. This is alarming because these programs are fundamental to the already shaky economic security of our seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families—a group that includes many direct care workers and their families, as well as most of the people they assist.

Unfortunately, the debate about whether to cut social safety net programs is being driven by politics, not the realities that millions of low-income families and individuals face every day. The Direct Care Alliance and many of our allies are waging campaigns to preserve these crucial programs. Continue reading »

Washington State to Vote on Career Path for Home Care Workers

Posted by on February 16th, 2010 at 6:07 pm | 4 Comments »

Linda Lee

The Washington state legislature is finally starting to support the work we home care workers and our allies have been doing to establish a professional career path for direct care workers in long-term care. On Saturday, a bill to allow home care workers to more easily become nursing assistants was passed out of committee. It will soon be voted on by the state Senate.

The House bill, HB 2766, and the Senate’s, SB 6582, are nearly identical. A third bill, SB 6662, is slightly different and more inclusive of other types of workers. None of the three have funding attached, so they will only be effective if my union, SEIU 775, can negotiate money for our joint Training Trust.

The cynical part of me says it’s about time the legislature recognized the work we home care aides have been doing to improve the quality of care we provide, but the optimistic part is happy for this good news. 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