Issued June 24, 2021
Molly Nuñez, firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-387-8083
Phoebe Rogers, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC - Essential home care workers in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) celebrated the U.S. House and Senate introduction of the Better Care, Better Jobs Act Thursday, which invests critically-needed funds in home- and community-based care, expands access to necessary care and creates pathways to union careers for a majority-women-of-color workforce. The introduction takes the White House’s proposal to invest in good union home care jobs from the proposal stage to the legislative arena.
This investment in care would serve as the first-ever targeted jobs program for women and women of color—the very workers who have been hardest hit by the economic recession, and who have for far too long been locked out of economic protections and opportunity. Investing in home- and community-based care, as the Better Care Better Jobs Act does, will put Black, Latina, Asian and immigrant women at the center of our economic recovery and create the union, living-wage jobs of the future.
Home care workers, as well as SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, released the following quotes applauding the legislation:
“The Better Care, Better Jobs Act is a huge step forward in our fight for economic and racial justice. With this legislation, we have a unique opportunity to make enormous gains for the Black, Latina, Asian and immigrant women who do the majority of care work in our nation,” said Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union. “Today’s bill introduction was made possible by the care workers from coast to coast who, for over a decade, came together, organized and demanded to be respected, protected and paid. We are excited to continue working with Congress to build the strongest measures possible and win for working people.”
“With the Better Care, Better Jobs Act, the House and Senate are sending a clear, powerful message to lawmakers and the American people: home care workers are highly skilled, compassionate and essential healthcare workers who deserve to be respected, protected and paid,” said Hillary Rothrock, a home care worker from Harrisburg, Pa. “By raising wages, expanding access to quality benefits, opening up new opportunities for training and growth, and creating a better pathway to join a union, we can transform home care jobs like mine into sustainable sought-after careers our country can be proud of. Investing in home care also will mean people — no matter their age, whether or not they live with a disability, the color of their skin, where they live or what they do for a living — can get the long term care they need to live active, healthy and full lives in their homes and communities.
“I’m an expert in my field, however, I don't earn a family-sustaining wage, have healthcare or an opportunity to join a union,” said Latonya Jones-Costa, a home care worker and Fight for 15 and a Union activist from Atlanta, Ga. “I have to work two jobs just to keep the lights on. Having better opportunities to join unions will allow home care workers like myself to fight for those basic benefits so we can better provide essential care to our nation’s seniors and people with disabilities. I am excited Congress is finally taking action and listening to those of us on the front lines of this crisis.
“United in our union, Washington state caregivers have fought to make home care jobs some of the best in the nation, but around the country, other home care workers and clients aren’t as lucky. We live in a reality where a person’s ZIP code determines access to essential healthcare services, and the quality and training of caregiving jobs,” says Brittany Williams, a home care worker and SEIU Local 775 member from Seattle, Wash. “The Better Care Better Jobs Act puts our country on the right path toward building a more inclusive, just long-term care system. The first step is making home care jobs good, union, family-sustaining careers that lift the millions of skilled, dedicated Black and brown women who do the majority of home care work out of poverty once and for all.”
Essential care workers in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are leading a nationwide campaign in support of President Biden's care plan. Workers are meeting with cabinet officials and are hosting key Senators and Members of Congress in more than 20 states for a series of in-person and virtual town halls this summer.
Workers from Nevada to Maine to Alaska and beyond are sending a strong message that the Congressional action to invest in home- and community-based care is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make care jobs good, union jobs and build the foundation of a new, resilient middle class that includes the majority-women-of-color care workforce.
Of the 2.3 million home care workers in the U.S., 87% are women, 62% are people of color, and one in three are immigrants. Home care is also the nation’s fastest-growing job sector, as roughly 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day. The U.S. will need to fill an estimated 4.7 million home care jobs, including over one million new jobs, by 2028. An investment in home- and community-based care would help transform our economy into one that works for all, not just some.
Poll after poll has found a vast majority of voters across party lines supporting the White House’s proposed expansion of home- and community-based services. Polling from Vox and Data for Progress shows that voters overwhelmingly support President Biden’s proposed $400 billion investment in home- and community-based services for aging adults and people with disabilities (73%). The measure boasts a more than 50% margin of support, including broad support across party lines. And Navigator research polling further shows that 76% of Americans support raising wages and benefits for essential home care workers.