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New Jersey Home Care Workers Protest Wage Cuts

May 3, 2012

Home health aides in New Jersey held a rally on April 25 to voice their opposition to wage cuts proposed by their employer.

The aides, who provide in-home care for elders and people with disabilities, work for Personal-Touch Home Health Services, a large, for-profit home care company with locations in 13 states.

Personal-Touch is currently in contract negotiations with its 350 home health aides, who are represented by 1199 SEIU. During negotiations, Personal-Touch proposed instituting a sliding scale of rate-based cuts that would reduce many workers’ wages by as much as 30 cents an hour.

Dozens of Personal-Touch aides attended the rally, which was held outside the company’s Roselle Park branch, one of four Personal-Touch locations in New Jersey.

Lawmakers Join Rally

At the rally, the workers were joined by several members of the New Jersey General Assembly, who spoke in support of the aides.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D) told the gathered workers that his mother has received care from a home health aide for the last four years.

“That home health aide has been the difference to her between life and death,” he said. “Although you might think you are few in numbers, there are a whole lot of us standing right beside you.”

Assemblyman Joseph Cryan said that Personal-Touch must demonstrate that it values its workers by paying them fairly.

“For the lives you touch, you deserve a whole lot more than a pay cut,” Cryan said. “You deserve a pay raise, because what you do matters to people each and every day. When corporations make millions, they can spare 30 cents a head every hour.”

Additionally, 38 New Jersey lawmakers — including U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D) and Robert Menendez (D) — signed a letter to Personal-Touch urging the company not to cut its workers’ wages.

— by Matthew Ozga

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