58,000 Home Care Workers Win Pathway to $25/hr With Historic ContractSeptember 7, 2023
New contract makes Massachusetts leader in wages and benefits to help address homecare workforce crisis
Boston, MA – Personal Care Attendants (PCA) from 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the Healey-Driscoll Administration have tentatively agreed on a new three-year contract that creates a pathway to $25/hour for the state’s homecare workforce.
"I grew up watching my mom care for seniors in their homes, and I have a deep appreciation for the important work that Personal Care Attendants do," said Governor Maura Healey. "Our administration is proud to reach this historic agreement that provides fair pay and benefits for PCAs that reflect the heroic contributions they make to Massachusetts families."
The PCA workforce is comprised of majority women and people of color, and this contract centers equity and helps remove barriers for them to remain in the one of the fastest growing jobs in the country but one of the lowest paid. Highlights include a new wage scale based on experience, retirement savings account, paid professional development opportunities, and wage differential for those who care for those with complex healthcare needs.
"For far too long, PCAs have been expected to do this job without adequate wages that allow us to care for ourselves and our families, which is reminiscent of how domestic work has been undervalued even as it makes all other work possible,” said Janice Guzman, a PCA from Worcester. “I will be making $23/hr by 2026, which will allow me to have peace of mind and help change the narrative about the value of homecare.”
PCAs provide high quality care for seniors and people with disabilities, ensuring that these individuals can live at home independently, safely and with dignity. Massachusetts is home to more than one million seniors and almost 500,000 adults living with a disability. Yet a shortage of home care workers across Massachusetts and the country has strained the industry and put lives at risk, uniting PCAs and those they care for to take action.
"The PCA contract signifies that the Commonwealth recognizes the vital role that PCAs play in keeping us in our homes, and helping us be engaged people in our communities,” said Jerry Boyd, a longtime user of PCAs and board member of the Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL), which rallied often for increased PCA compensation. “Furthermore, this agreement shows that Governor Healey is willing to invest in this crucial workforce and provide a pathway for the thousands who undertake this work to be able to provide a better future for themselves and their families."
“This is a historic win for PCAs, who are often invisible when we envision the care team even as demand for their services grow,” said Tim Foley, 1199SEIU executive vice president. “We applaud Governor Healey’s commitment to invest in the future of homecare in Massachusetts, ensuring the thousands of families that rely on the care of PCAs now, and in the future, will be able to receive it.”
Other contract benefits include two new holidays, privacy protections, identification cards to help minimize safety issues in various settings, and increased flexibility to cash out paid time off benefits. PCAs will also now be paid for their work on a racial justice committee to create a safer home care environment for all.
PCAs are slated to ratify the new contract over the next few weeks.