Hi everybody. My name is Jacinth Finch. Finch like the bird, haha. We have many finches in St. Kitts in the Caribbean, which is where I was born and raised as the oldest of seven children. I have three grown daughters and three young granddaughters.
I met my husband in 2011, just one year after moving to the United States in search of (what I hoped would be) better work. We live in Florida where I care for people as a Certified Nursing Assistant, but things aren’t easy. Even at the age of 63, I work three jobs:
- in an assisted living facility from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. (for $13/hour);
- in a client's home for four hours in the mornings (for $12/hour); and
- in clients' homes, as hired by an agency, to give bed-baths (for $20/bath).
It’s a lot of physically exhausting work, and it's also emotionally draining because the people I care for are physically and emotionally weary.
I've held a lot of jobs in my life. It wasn't until age 52 that I earned my high school diploma and CNA license. But I've been on my feet for all of them, starting with my first job at the age of 9 watering my teacher's large garden.
My one and only union job was back in the early 90s when I worked as a hotel waitress. The pay was good—better than I’ve ever had before or since—and I had paid time off, for holidays and for when I or one of my kids was sick. I also had severance pay, which was unfortunately necessary when a hurricane destroyed the hotel restaurant, and we all got laid off.
Right now, what makes me fight most is the idea that paid sick leave must be a right, not a privilege. I have bad knees from years of standing on the job, but I can’t afford to take unpaid time off for the months it would take to recover from knee surgery.
So here I am, the oldest in my neighborhood, with no choice but to literally work through the pain. How else will I pay my bills? Rent on my 2 bedroom/1 bath apartment (no laundry facilities on site, mind you) just went up from $1,150 to $1,290.
My only hope is to join together in a union with my co-workers. Because when workers unite, we have a voice, and when we have a voice, we are a force to be reckoned with, and we win change.
Please join me in lifting the #UnionsForAll movement so workers in every industry and every state have the opportunity to join together in unions for a voice at work!