SEIU Healthcare Illinois member Patricia Evans, a home care worker from Chicago, told a Capitol Hill briefing on "Long Term Services and Supports: The Workforce Challenge" the nation needs its working people to make a living wage.
"We work hard and we deserve a living wage; people who work ought to be able to support their family. These are a few reasons why we deserve a raise. But it's not just about us. There are reasons why everyone else needs us to make a living wage.
"The baby boomers, their family, and friends need us to make a living wage. The entire country needs us to make a living wage.
"In August of this year, Standard and Poor's issued a report stating 'severe income inequality is holding back economic growth in the U.S.' As I tell my co-workers, 'that means us being underpaid.'
"It is both our responsibility and duty as citizens of this country to demand the salary we earn. Historical evidence demonstrates that whenever the minimum wage is increased, it is followed by an increase in the economy. When a minimum wage worker gets a salary increase, they do not hide it in an offshore account to avoid paying taxes on it. They spend it. They take their kids out for a meal or the movies. They purchase all those things they've postponed buying because there's never enough money. My friend, Danielle, would enroll her son in his school's football program and her daughter in dance classes--and not have to worry if she could still put food on the table. Our spending would create jobs, not destroy them."