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Direct-Care Workers Join Nationwide Rallies for $15/Hour Wage

April 20, 2016

Nursing home staff and home care workers joined other low-wage workers across the country on April 14 for a day of demonstrations calling for a $15/hour minimum wage.

Major rallies took place in big cities such as Chicago and Washington, DC, while low-wage workers in states from Rhode Island to Michigan to Washington State spoke out for a national $15 minimum.

CBS MoneyWatch reporter Kate Gibson reported that tens of thousands of home care and nursing home workers joined fast food employees and other low-wage workers in the nationwide rallies.

At a demonstration in East Haven, Connecticut, Suzanne Clark, a vice president of SEIU Healthcare 1199 New England, spoke about the struggle that low-wage nursing home workers face every day.

“Nursing home workers spend all day caring for other people’s families but they are low-wage workers,” an April 14 New Haven Register article quotes her as saying. “At the end of the week they struggle to care for their own families.”

The article, by reporter Juliemar Ortiz, cites data from a new PHI report, Raise the Floor, which argues that low wages and poor job quality for nursing home workers has an adverse effect on the quality of care received by residents.

Workers Go on Strike

Elsewhere in the country, some nursing home workers took part in 24-hour strikes to emphasize the urgency of a higher minimum wage.

In Florida, for example, an estimated 2,000 workers in 19 nursing homes owned by the Consulate Health Care went on a day-long strike.

One of the striking workers, 60-year-old nursing assistant Pansy Clayton, explained to the New Times Broward-Palm Beach why she needs a living wage.

“Taking care of patients is a passion, and I love my patients,” she said, “But when I stop work at age 65, I won’t have any savings.”

— by Matthew Ozga

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