June 30, 2014
The extreme views of today’s Supreme Court aimed at home care workers aren’t just bad for unions – they’re bad for all workers and the middle class. But the attacks on the freedom of workers to come together are nothing new. They are part of an onslaught from anti-worker organizations hostile to raising wages or improving benefits for millions of people. These attacks are a direct cause of an economy in which middle class families can’t get a break because their wages have stagnated and their incomes have declined.
Home care is one of the fastest growing industries. Its workers do backbreaking, thankless work, often for low wages. By forming a union these workers are helping to combat income inequality and the rise of low wage jobs, ensuring that these are good jobs with good benefits.
Make no mistake: the fate of workers cannot and will not be decided by one Supreme Court decision. The Court upheld the right of public employees to have strong unions and workers will vigorously build on that foundation.
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Home Care Workers Vow to Stand Up for Good Jobs and Quality Home Care in Wake of Harris v. Quinn Ruling
Published 11:10 AM Eastern – Monday, June 30, 2014Ricki Seidman, TSD Communications: (202) 986-9811; Tyler Prell, SEIU: (202) 701-5796
WASHINGTON, DC – Home care workers and consumers are ready to stand up for quality home care in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn today.
“No court case is going to stand in the way of home care workers coming together to have a strong voice for good jobs and quality home care,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. “At a time when wages remain stagnant and income inequality is out of control, joining together in a union is the only proven way home care workers have of improving their lives and the lives of the people they care for.”
The ruling places at risk a system of consumer-directed home care in Illinois that has proven successful in raising wages, providing affordable health care benefits, and increasing training. The number of elderly Americans will increase dramatically in the coming years. States need to build a stable, qualified workforce to meet the growing need for home care–and having a strong union for home care workers is the only approach that has proven effective.
“I count on my home care provider for so much–I wouldn’t be able to work or get through the day without her,” said Rahnee Patrick, a home care consumer and advocate from ACCESS Living in Chicago.” “I’m worried that I could lose her if her wages and benefits don’t keep up with the cost of living.”
The case was brought by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, an extreme anti-worker group whose funders include billionaires like Charles Koch and the Walton family. It is the latest in a decades-long attack on the rights of working people to join together to improve their jobs and the quality of services they provide.
“They are trying to divide us and limit our power, but we won’t stop standing together for our families and our consumers” said Flora Johnson, a home care provider from Chicago. “Before we formed our union, I made less than $6 an hour, but by uniting we are set to make $13 an hour by the end of the year. I know from experience that we are stronger together.”
“For our parents and grandparents to get the care they need to live at home, workers need a strong voice in a union,” Henry said. “I know that Flora Johnson other SEIU members are determined to keep up the fight to end poverty wages and ensure quality care.”
by AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders | June 30, 2014
Today’s Supreme Court decision does not dampen the resolve of home care workers and child care providers to come together to have a strong voice for good jobs and to give care to millions of seniors, people with disabilities and children.
The ruling places at risk a system of consumer-directed home care that has proved successful in raising wages, providing affordable care and increasing training. The number of elderly Americans will increase dramatically in the coming years.
Child care workers make it possible for working parents to support their families without the agony of trying to juggle their jobs and their kids. States need to build a stable, qualified workforce to meet the growing need for home care and child care – and having a strong union for care providers is the approach that has proven most effective.
Today’s ruling did not hand anti-worker extremists the victory they’d been hoping for because the Court did not revoke collective bargaining rights for public service workers or care providers. It did not eliminate existing contracts.
That would have been a fundamental gutting of the American Dream, but make no mistake – Justice Alito’s opinion made clear that the relentless assault on workers’ rights will not abate.
As always, AFSCME members nationwide will remain steadfast and fight for the simple rights and dignity that every working American deserves. A court ruling doesn’t change our obligation as proud union workers and it doesn’t negate our obligation to keep fighting to restore the American middle class.