Hi, I’m Francis Hall, a home care worker and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota member from Aldrich, Minn. I work for and with people with disabilities in my community, and I take care of my grandson, August, who has a suppressed immune system.
Doctors said that if my grandson is infected by COVID-19, it would be his demise. But since the state and home care companies aren’t providing essentials like masks and rubbing alcohol, and store shelves are wiped out, I have to go to multiple stores to find what I need. It’s not safe out there. I am at risk to the virus myself and then have to go home to my grandson — potentially exposing him as well.
The state should be providing the latest guidelines on how home care workers can protect ourselves from COVID-19. They should be supplying the masks, hand sanitizers and all equipment we need to protect ourselves and our clients.
But instead of information and equipment, we received new deadlines for our timesheets! Otherwise, we were informed that we just won't get paid. Home care workers like myself live paycheck to paycheck. We can’t afford to buy food and household supplies for two weeks out, we can't stretch our money that far. We definitely can’t afford to miss a paycheck because of their new policy in the middle of a pandemic!
And on top of that, a huge number of home care workers in Minnesota are women of color — Somalian and Asian and Pacific Islanders — and this new policy was only shared in English. We should be receiving this in Somali, Hmong, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese — in all languages, not just English. People are NOT going to get paid at a time they need it the most.
Times of national emergency require us all to move beyond business as usual. We must demand that the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful corporations show leadership by looking past their bottom lines to do what’s right for workers.