When I started in home care, I was paid as little as $5 per hour, lacked healthcare benefits and did not receive quality training; that changed when I joined my union, SEIU Healthcare Illinois. Together, we won raises that increased our wages to $13.48 per hour, secured access to quality healthcare and established training that equips us with the skills needed to provide better care. These victories have helped create a better home care system in Illinois for seniors, people with disabilities and workers alike.
However, a new outrageous and unconstitutional rule from the Trump administration aims to silence workers like me by denying us the ability to choose how we spend our wages. The rule would prevent us from using payroll deductions to contribute to our union — an opportunity afforded to most union members in other fields, such as firefighters, nurses, and teachers. As more than 90 percent of home care workers are women, more than half are women of color and one in four are immigrants, the rule is a sexist, racist attempt to hold us back and undermine the strength of union workers.
That’s why I joined other SEIU home care workers as plaintiffs in taking the Trump administration to court. Joined by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington state, we’re fighting to make sure the compassionate care so many of our nation’s seniors and people with disabilities count on will not be endangered.
We must unite to face this administration and ensure the basic rights of home care workers and all working people — Black, white or brown — are protected in every workplace. I hope you will join us.
For more information, check out this editorial published May 24 in the Chicago Sun Times.