National Homecare Day Kicks Off Labor Day WeekendOctober 27, 2020
1199SEIU members gathered Sept. 4 to mark National Homecare Day and recognize the contributions and challenges faced by homecare workers across the country. There are nearly a half million homecare workers in the U.S. 1199SEIU represents 60,000 in New York State and another 40,000 who work as Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) in Massachusetts. 1199ers have also been involved in efforts like Healthcare Workers Rising, an initiative that gives unorganized homecare workers a voice and provides support in areas with lower union density, like Upstate New York.
At the pre-Labor Day event in Yonkers, New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart- Cousins joined home health aides at the Accent Care Agency to issue a proclamation citing homecare workers’ grace and professionalism.
“Homecare workers do some of the most important frontline health care work in our communities… and perform their duties with grace and professionalism,” Stewart-Cousins said in the proclamation. “These compassionate workers provide essential direct, hands-on care— such as bathing, dressing, toileting, preparing meals, administering medications and in-home treatments, and companionship— that endure so that New York’s parents, grandparents and loved ones with disability can live independently at home.”
Accent Care Aide Janet Pacas thanked Senator Stewart-Cousins while reminding her of the daily conditions faced by so many aides.
“As we continue to care for the vulnerable and elderly during this pandemic and beyond, we know you will stand with us in our struggles for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Pacas, her voice shaking with emotion.
1199ers also gathered Sept. 4 in Boston for a pre-Labor Day rally at the Massachusetts Statehouse. Joining with partners from the Raise Up Massachusetts Coalition, Bay State 1199ers called on lawmakers to pass a budget that invests in both workers and communities.
In passionate, wide-ranging remarks 1199SEIU Delegate Marie Carville called on lawmakers to pass a just, inclusive budget that considers the needs of working people— especially healthcare workers—and the realities of systemic racism and environmental degradation.
“At the beginning of the pandemic everyone was thanking healthcare workers. That died out. So did the calls for hazard pay and paid time off, which were not in place for a lot of healthcare workers,” said Carville, who has been a PCA for more than 30 years. “We the people are the feet of society, and if you take care of us, every step you make, [we all] go up.”