by Margitte Kristjansson and Allison Padgett, UDW | March 11, 2015
It is inconceivable but true: In 2015 there are workers in America who don’t have the right to minimum wage.
What’s worse, these workers are responsible for taking care of the most important people in our lives – our grandparents, parents, friends and loved ones who require in-home support to stay safe and healthy at home. And thanks in part to our aging baby boomers, home care is the fastest-growing occupation in America.
Home care providers are speaking out and organizing for change. On March 19, workers in California will stage a Justice for Homecare Tribunal to shed light on injustices that not only hurt millions of caregivers, but also our communities and the elderly and people with disabilities who rely on their labor. You can watch the event live online by RSVPing here.
Speaking out will be workers like LaTanya Cline, a San Diego caregiver who makes $9.85 an hour with no paid sick leave, vacation time, health care or retirement benefits. Despite the lack of pay and benefits, LaTanya is dedicated to her two clients, paying special attention to their self-esteem because she believes that offering strength and encouragement helps them both mentally and physically.
Nationwide, it is estimated that 56 percent of home care providers are on public assistance to take care of their own families. And despite the fact that home care providers save our country billions every year by keeping the elderly and people with disabilities out of institutions, they are one of the only groups of workers not protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This means that for more than 75 years, caregivers were excluded not just from minimum wage, but overtime pay and other basic labor protections.
It is for these reasons that California caregivers are taking a stand. Watch live on Thursday, March 19 at 12:30 p.m. (PDT) as hundreds of caregivers, home care clients, and leaders descend upon the Capitol in Sacramento. At the same time, you can participate in the Justice for Homecare tweet-chat on Twitter, using the #Justice4HomeCare hashtag.
Special guests include: Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO; Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, author of The Age of Dignity; Sandra Fluke, women’s rights activist and social justice attorney; and Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of the Courage Campaign.
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