Sacramento, CA – In the wake of today’s Harris v. Quinn decision regarding Illinois home care workers, in-home caregivers and allies here pledged to protect California’s successful home care program for hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities.
“Let there be no mistake,” said Gary Passmore, Vice President of the Congress of California Seniors. “Caregivers have led the way in creating and protecting a system of in-home care that is a lifesaver for hundreds of thousands of Californians. An engaged and empowered caregiving workforce is the chief reason for California’s successful model of in-home care, and seniors and people with disabilities won’t let outsiders undermine what we have built here in California.”
Harris v. Quinn was pressed by the anti-worker National Right to Work Foundation, funded in part by the Koch brothers and the Walton family, and is another in a long line of attempts to undermine workers’ freedom to come together in a union. Caregivers in California are committed to preserving the progress they have made together.
“Billionaires like the Koch brothers fund legal attacks on workers, but in reality these are attacks on the people we care for,” said Tonya York, a caregiver from San Jose who takes care of her sister Andrea.
California’s In-Home Supportive Services program serves more than 450,000 people in California. It saves the state billions by allowing seniors and the disabled to live safely in their homes instead of far more costly nursing homes, hospitals or other more restrictive settings.
Over the last 15 years, hundreds of thousands of caregivers have joined together in unions, and in so doing have stabilized and professionalized a vital state program that was once characterized by high turnover, quality care problems, and extremely low wages.
“This is an area of healthcare where the union has changed everything,” said Editha Adams, a home care worker in San Diego County. “The union has helped unite caregivers and consumers, which has enabled us to raise the quality of care, dramatically lower turnover, and help many more people stay in their homes.”
“We stand with caregivers in Illinois. But here in California, today’s decision only strengthens our resolve to stand together and keep improving and protecting home care,” said Brenda Jackson, a caregiver from Alameda County.
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