March 21, 2022

Home Care Workers Demand a Permanent Pay Increase in the State Budget


WHO: Home care workers, advocates, supporters, clergy, and elected officials. 


WHAT: March & Rally to demand fair pay for the state’s homecare workers, who continue to sacrifice their health during the pandemic to care for homebound seniors and people living with disabilities, in the 2022-23 state budget, which is due April 1. 


3:30 pm
 RALLY at Lafayette Square 415 Main St in Downtown Buffalo NY 14203 & 
March to Steps of Erie County Rath Building at 95 Franklin St in Buffalo, NY 14202 

4:00 pm PRESS CONFERENCE on Steps of Erie County Rath Building, 95 Franklin St, Buffalo, NY 14202 – location of Erie County Office of The Aging 


WHEN: Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Workers, consumers, and clergy gather in Lafayette Square at 3:00 p.m. and will be available for interviews. The group will then march through the streets of downtown Buffalo to the steps of the Erie County Rath Building where they will be joined by elected officials for a Press Conference set to begin at 4pm.


WHY:  “Governor Hochul, we need a boost,” says Geraldine Wright, Home Health Aide.  “How are we supposed to live with this little bit of money they pay us?  It doesn’t meet our needs. It’s not enough! We can’t meet the obligations for ourselves because we don’t have the funds to do it.  It’s not about living in luxury, we just want to live comfortably and not paycheck to paycheck.   I get out every day because I want to help my clients – and they need us because they can’t do for themselves. We must be able to help where needed, but we need more money to do that,” says Wright.  

“Fair Pay for home care is critical for our very freedom,” says Jennifer Morretto, Consumer Directed Personal Attendant.  “Without a competitive wage, we won’t be able to hire the people we want and need to support our ability to stay in the community.  Not only that, aides won’t stay if they can get a job with better pay somewhere else.  They need a wage that respects the important work they do for us,” says Moretto.   


Home Care Workers want Gov. Hochul to include a permanent raise in new state budget, to secure their livelihoods and bolster a workforce in crisis. New York faces the greatest shortage of homecare workers in the nation, who make minimum wage to care for home-bound individuals who cannot care for themselves. These workers – 90% women and 60% immigrants -- need a raise to $22.50 an hour to care for this extremely vulnerable population. A recent CUNY report says some 26,510 new aides must be hired annually just to keep up with the growing demand for care—and advocates say low wages make it difficult to attract and retain home care workers. It’s time to treat these essential workers with the dignity and respect they deserve.


Advocates say a permanent wage boost would also be a major step forward in addressing the state’s longstanding history of income inequality. New York’s home care workforce is comprised primarily of women of color and immigrants. 1199SEIU leaders say the poverty-level wages only perpetuate the racial and gender wage gap.


“New York simply cannot neglect a permanent raise for New York’s home care workers in our state budget,” said George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU. “These ‘healthcare heroes’ have given everything to protect our state’s most vulnerable people during the greatest public health crisis in generations. We cannot solve the growing home care shortage and provide services for those who desperately need them without investing in the individuals who provide care. For too long, the essential work of caregiving—carried out principally by women of color and immigrants—has been ignored and undervalued. We call on Governor Hochul to do right by New York’s homecare workers and give them the raise they need.”


Despite being paid through the state’s Medicaid program, many workers earn less than $15 an hour. As a result of these low wages and annual earnings, 57% of the state’s home care workers rely upon public assistance.


Livable wages would not only help increase their economic self-sufficiency but also end the state’s massive home care shortage by attracting new workers. A recent CUNY report says some 26,510 new aides must be hired annually just to keep up with the growing demand for care. 


The 2022-23 state budget is due April 1.


For more information about the home care worker shortage and efforts to fight for fair pay for home care visit ​​