Issued September 21, 2021
WASHINGTON — The vast majority of American voters strongly support Congress passing an unprecedented investment in home care as an urgent priority, according to a new poll released today by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s largest union of home health care workers.
More than 80 percent of poll respondents support the home care plank in the Build Back Better budget, roughly 15 points higher than the level of support for the overall plan, showing undeniably that care is one of the most popular policies in the budget package. The poll demonstrates strength across political ideologies, ages, regions and across urban-suburban-rural divides. Nationwide, there is no debate: Americans of all stripes are raising their voices to demand a robust, game-changing investment in the care economy.
The poll comes as SEIU and the Care Can’t Wait coalition, in partnership with the American Society on Aging, Caring Across Generations, Family Values @ Work, Little Lobbyists, Paid Leave 4 All, the National Council on Aging, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Zero to Three announce a rally Thursday outside the Capitol Building where home care workers, clients, and advocates will come together alongside member of Congress to demand Congress pass the full promise of Build Back Better’s commitment to care investments as they gavel back into session. The rally anchors a week of action that will see care workers and consumers pull out all the stops to reach members of Congress during a pivotal time.
“Home care workers like me have put our lives on the line to care for people throughout the pandemic. And long before COVID-19, we’ve always shown up to care for seniors and people with disabilities, even on poverty wages and few benefits,” said Deborah McAllister, a home care worker from Burgaw, N.C.. “Just as we’ve always shown up for our clients, we also showed up in 2020 to vote for new leaders who promised to create the kind of change we’ve been fighting for. Now, it’s time for members of Congress to show up for us."
Advocates are set to hold multiple in-person and virtual events to lobby Congress and engage the public, and their messages will be visible to staff and members all across the Capitol grounds.
The night before, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry will join Be a Hero’s Ady Barkan, National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Ai-Jen Poo, Congressmember Pramila Jayapal and actor and activist Bradley Whitford in a panel discussion on the importance of care following a screening of Not Going Quietly, a new film following Barkan’s personal struggle with ALS and the movement for health care justice.
“From coast to coast, people of all backgrounds are raising their voices to say: care can’t wait,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “Home care workers – the Black, Latina, Asian, white, indigenous and immigrant women who have cared for our nation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – have been excluded from labor laws and protections, and forced to make do on poverty wages. This new poll shows that there is no debate. It’s time for Congress to meet the moment and deliver a once-in-a-generation investment in the care economy that transforms home care jobs into good, union, living-wage jobs and ensures everyone who needs care services can access them.”
Poll Shows Unprecedented Level of Support for Care Investment
WHAT: Panel discussion after screening of Not Going Quietly
Be a Hero, Ady Barkan
SEIU International President, Mary Kay Henry
National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-Jen Poo
Congressmember Pramila Jayapal
Actor and Activist, Bradley Whitford
WHEN: Wednesday, September 22 — 7 PM ET
RSVP: Reserve a free, online ticket here
WHAT: “Time to Deliver: Care Can’t Wait” Rally
Home care workers
Members of Congress
American Society on Aging President, Peter Kaldes
Family Value @ Work Deputy Director, Josephine Kalipeni
Little Lobbyists Executive Director, Elena Hung
National Council on Aging President, Ramsey Alwin
National Domestic Workers Alliance Executive Director, Ai-Jen Poo
Paid Leave 4 All Director, Dawn Huckelbridge
SEIU International President, Mary Kay Henry
SEIU Local 2015 President, April Verrett
Zero to Three Chief Policy Officer, Myra Jones Taylor
WHEN: Thursday, September 23 — 2 PM ET
WHERE: Union Square - Area 15 (bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; First Street, NW/SW; Maryland Avenue, SW; and Third Street, SW/NW).
VISUALS: With the Capitol dome in the background and banners declaring CARE CAN’T WAIT and HOME CARE IS ESSENTIAL, workers, advocates, members of Congress on stage rallying
MEDIA DETAILS: Media set-up opens at 1:00 PM ET; live-shot set-up available; mult box available upon request; workers, advocates, care consumers and leaders available for interviews on site
This week’s announcements and activities are the latest in a years-long campaign led by Black, Latina, Asian, immigrant and indigenous women home care workers to demand investment in the caregiving economy, including livable wages, protections at work and the right to form a union.
As Congress approaches the final stages of drafting and voting on the Build Back Better reconciliation package, workers and care consumers are ramping up the pressure on Senators and members of Congress to deliver an historic investment in home care that would expand access and create good, union jobs.
Throughout the summer, SEIU members from coast to coast held dozens of in-person and virtual events with members of Congress to share their care stories and demand as close to a $400 billion investment in home care as possible. Members heard testimony from care consumers and workers alike about the crisis in care and the need to both expand access for all who need it and fuel good, union, living-wage care jobs.
As part of the overall campaign to pass a strong Build Back Better package, SEIU has announced more than $7 million in TV and digital advertising investments, including a $3.5 million buy last week in its efforts to lift up workers’ call on Congress to pass an unprecedented federal investment to fuel good, union home care jobs in every ZIP code and expand access to care for all who need it. The latest television ads are currently running in Arizona, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and nationally on Univisión, as well as digitally in California, Florida, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Virginia and beyond. SEIU and NRDC are also teaming up for a care and climate push as part of the digital effort.
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.
Service Employees International Union
The Service Employees International Union is the nation's second-largest labor union and the largest union of healthcare workers. SEIU is an organization of nearly 2 million members united by their belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.