1199 SEIU ‘Rallies For Passage’ Of The Better Care Better Jobs Act
(NEW YORK CITY) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer this week told a rally of 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Homecare Workers and consumers that the Better Care Better Jobs Act will bring them higher wages and the respect they deserve as “Healthcare Heroes.”
“Investing in home-and-community based services, as I intend to do in the Build Back Better proposal, is a rising tide that lifts all ships,” Schumer told the crowd at the rally at 1199 SEIU Headquarters in Manhattan, which featured gripping, personal stories from Homecare Workers and the people they serve.
The Better Care Better Jobs Act would provide $400 billion over 10 years to expand homecare and community-based services, create more good jobs for Homecare Workers and allow more people to remain in their homes and get the services they need.
“We will fight for this with all our might. It will secure the right for seniors and those with disabilities to live at home and receive the health care they need. It will allow family members to participate in the workforce knowing they can find and afford high-quality homecare for their loved ones. And it will finally pay Homecare Workers, so many of whom are Women of Color struggling with low wages, the salary they deserve as the ‘Healthcare Heroes’ that they are,” Schumer said.
The COVID-19 Pandemic worsened the existing crisis in care for the growing number of seniors and people living with disabilities.
With 10,000 people across America turning 65 every day, homecare work is one of the fastest growing professions in the Nation – but is also one of the lowest-paying and one of the most diverse.
Nationally, 87% of Home Health Aides are women and more than half are women of Color - about 30% are Immigrants.
“Homecare Workers are the ‘unsung’ heroes - before COVID, during COVID and they’re still doing their jobs,” said Rona Shapiro, Executive Vice President of 1199 SEIU’s Homecare Division. “We are building a coalition in this state that will be too big for anyone to ignore.”
Homecare Workers continued going into people’s homes at significant risk to themselves to help bathe, dress, feed and do housekeeping for those need such critical care.
The Better Care Better Jobs Act will give more people access to homecare, recruit new workers to fill the growing need and pay people the wages they deserve, Officials said.
“We went to work every day during the pandemic because our clients needed us,” said Lilieth Clacken, an 1199 SEIU Homecare Aide for six years with Region Care and All Metro.
She urged Congress to pass the Better Care Better Jobs Act to give her and her colleagues the respect and wages they deserve.
“This work is more than a profession - it’s a calling. My client can’t do without me because I am essential to her life. (But) we want to be able to feed our families, pay our bills and take care of the people who need us,” Clacken said.
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