04.20.16

Murray Highlights Support for Worker Protections, Higher Wages for Home Care Workers

Standing alongside home care workers, Murray highlighted key priorities that will boost their economic security in this fast-growing industry

 

Murray: “The work [home care workers] do deserves better pay, and it deserves to be valued.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered remarks at an event hosted by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on the critical issues home care workers face. In her remarks, Senator Murray addressed the urgent need to provide workers with increased economic security, such as higher wages, paid sick days, and training to advance their careers. In particular, Murray reiterated her strong commitment to protect home care workers’ rights to collective bargaining, and noted with pride that Washington state is leading the country when it comes to workforce development for the home care industry. Murray was joined at the event by Melissa Ringer and Jan Devery, union home care workers from Yakima and Spokane in Washington state, who shared their experiences working in the home care industry and talked about the crucial support they receive by being a part of a union.

 

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“As home care workers, you are doing critical work across the country for older Americans and individuals with disabilities. Your work takes skill.‎ It is hard, messy, and often, physically-demanding. The work you do deserves better pay, and it deserves to be valued. And, by the way, this is particularly important to women, who make up an overwhelming majority of the in-home care workforce.”

 

“I am so proud that my home state of Washington has made great strides in training for this growing industry and boosting wages. And that’s, in no small part, because of SEIU’s efforts. I recently came across a story from Asia Mitchell who graduated from the SEIU Healthcare Northwest Training Partnership back in 2014....Those are the kinds of success stories I want to help build on for workers across the country.”

 

“You know, in today’s economy, too many workers are underpaid, they are overworked, and they are treated unfairly on the job. In short, they lack fundamental economic security. I am so glad to stand with all of you in your fight for better wages and a union. We as a nation should not turn our backs on empowering workers through collective action – especially because that’s the very thing that has helped so many workers climb into the middle class.”

 

“...In the coming years, our country will need many, many more workers in the home care field to cover the “care gap” for America’s seniors as the Baby Boomer generation ages. It’s incredibly important that we support workers who need access to basic worker protections and training to advance their careers.‎”

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks: 

 

“Thank you for that great introduction, Melissa.

 

“And I want to thank you, Jan, and Kim for sharing your stories today.

 

“I am so glad to be with you all.

 

“As home care workers, you are doing critical work across the country for older Americans and individuals with disabilities.

 

“Your work takes skill.

 

“It is hard, messy, and often, physically-demanding.

 

“The work you do deserves better pay, and it deserves to be valued.

 

“And, by the way, this is particularly important to women, who make up an overwhelming majority of the in-home care workforce.

 

“I am so proud that my home state of Washington has made great strides in training for this growing industry and boosting wages.

 

“And that’s, in no small part, because of SEIU’s efforts.

 

“I recently came across a story from Asia Mitchell who graduated from the SEIU Healthcare Northwest Training Partnership back in 2014.

 

“Asia said her training has helped her stay on top of an ever-evolving field.

 

“And she now feels more confident in the quality work she does every day.

 

“But more than that, Asia says that through her training, she’s been able to show her son the importance of education and how her career can improve lives and the larger community.

 

“Those are the kinds of success stories I want to help build on for workers across the country.

 

“You know, in today’s economy, too many workers are underpaid, they are overworked, and they are treated unfairly on the job.

 

“In short, they lack fundamental economic security.

 

“I am so glad to stand with all of you in your fight for better wages and a union.

 

“We as a nation should not turn our backs on empowering workers through collective action – especially because that’s the very thing that has helped so many workers climb into the middle class.

 

“And here in Congress, I will continue to fight to protect workers’ rights to collective bargaining.

 

“We also need to tackle the wage gap, so women get equal pay for equal work.

 

“We should raise the minimum wage to make sure hard work pays off.

 

“We should increase access to paid sick days, because no one should have to choose between their paycheck and taking care of their family.

 

“And, I strongly support the Administration’s work to extend worker protections to home care professionals.

 

“When a court tried to prevent that rule from moving forward, I led the fight on an amicus brief to make sure it survived those challenges.

 

“There is no reason why workers, like all of you here today, should not have access to basic minimum wage and overtime protections.

 

“In the coming years, our country will need many, many more workers in the home care field to cover the “care gap” for America’s seniors as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

 

“It’s incredibly important that we support workers who need access to basic worker protections and training to advance their careers.

 

“I know that later this afternoon, you’ll be visiting with members of Congress and their staff.

 

“When you go out on your visits, tell them your personal stories.

 

“Make sure they know about the level of professionalism you bring to your career and this growing industry.

 

“And make sure they know you’re counting on them to support the vital work you do every day.

 

“Thank you.”