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PNS Daily Newscast - April 20, 2018 


The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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In-Home Caregivers "Drive for Dignity," Higher Pay

PHOTO: Anna Rudova is part of this week's "Drive for Dignity" bus tour by unionized in-home care workers. She says it has taken her 14 years on the job to earn $14 an hour, and she worries about attracting a younger generation of workers to the field without better pay. Image courtesy of SEIU 775.
PHOTO: Anna Rudova is part of this week's "Drive for Dignity" bus tour by unionized in-home care workers. She says it has taken her 14 years on the job to earn $14 an hour, and she worries about attracting a younger generation of workers to the field without better pay. Image courtesy of SEIU 775.
June 10, 2014

SEATTLE - Three days and three destinations across the state - that's the plan for a bus tour leaving Seattle on Tuesday. A group of in-home caregivers is onboard, with the message that if they can eventually earn a $15-an-hour minimum wage in Seattle, others around the state should be able to do the same.

Members of SEIU Healthcare 775 Northwest work with people who need daily assistance to remain in their homes, from chores and personal care to medication management. SEIU 775 spokesman Jackson Holtz says it's a demanding job and higher wages would attract and retain workers at a time when the need for in-home care is growing.

"Right now, one in three caregivers in the state of Washington lives in poverty," explains Holtz. "That means that they rely on public assistance - on food stamps and on other public services. We're saying that's just not right, and that they deserve the dignity of a $15 wage."

Holtz says the home-care workers get professional training through the union and background checks, and have a wage scale that now starts around $10 an hour. This week's "Drive for Dignity" tour is making stops in Everett, the Tri-Cities and Spokane.

One caregiver on the bus is Anna Rudova of Edmonds, who is originally from Russia. She says she earns almost $14 an hour, but only after 14 years on the job. She's concerned that a new generation of workers won't want to be caregivers, or won't stick with it, because of the low pay. Rudova says it's hard for caregivers to take time off for any reason - but she thinks the bus tour is an exception.

"Caregivers can try to find people who will take care of their client and take part in this tour - because this is very important for everybody," says Rudova. "It will give us a new chance to live better."

Rudova is also part of the bargaining team negotiating with the State of Washington for the caregivers' next contract for Medicaid patients. She says keeping people at home when they are older or have disabilities costs the state only one-third of what it would take to keep them in nursing homes or other facilities, underscoring the need for an adequate in-home care workforce.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA