Wash. Caregivers Reach Milestone in Fight for $15
Friday, February 1, 2019
SEATTLE – Today marks a major achievement for Washington state caregivers in the "Fight for 15." In-home caregivers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 775 will receive their first paychecks that reflect wages of at least $15 an hour.
Workers started earning the new wage on January 1st, with the most experienced receiving more than $18 an hour.
Desirae Hernandez gave up her job to take care of her father – and after her son was born, became a caregiver. With the pay raise, Hernandez says she won't have to make tough decisions like choosing between medicine and car payments, and could even save to take her son on a trip.
"He said, 'Mom, I know we're not rich with money right now – we are rich with love – but one day when we get rich with money, can we go to Disneyland?' And so, that's one of things that I'm hopeful for [with] this raise – to save a little bit of money to do something like that with him," says Hernandez.
SEIU 775, the State of Washington and individual providers agreed to a contract in 2017 to raise workers' wages every six months for two years. The union represents more than 45,000 long-term caregivers in the Evergreen State and Montana.
Hernandez says fair compensation is crucial for keeping people in this much-needed profession.
"It's hard to get enough people to be able to do this job because they could be making more money somewhere else," says Hernandez. “And that's sad, because it's going to end up costing people dignity and our state so much more money if we can't keep this profession filled with certified people."
The Fight for 15 has swept the nation since New York fast-food workers in 2012 demanded living wages. Since then, 22 million workers across the country have secured $68 million dollars in wages, according to the National Employment Law Project.
SeaTac and Seattle were among the first cities to adopt $15-an-hour minimum wages.
get more stories like this via email
The number of people with some higher education but no degree or other credential to show for it has increased in recent years, according to a new …
Starting this month, chemical companies will resume being taxed for cleanup of areas with a lot of leftover toxic waste, also known as Superfund …
Today is the deadline for Missouri residents to make sure they are registered to vote if they want to cast a ballot in the August primary. Eligible …
As states ban abortion with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, women's advocates in New York and beyond are raising awareness of the outsized impact …
The fate of more than 600,000 so-called "dreamers" hangs in the balance as opening statements are heard today in a case that could make or break the D…
A four-year project to map big-game routes throughout the West will end without additional funds from Congress - at least for now. Since 2018…
Groups working to curb climate change said a Supreme Court ruling limiting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control carbon …
Government labels on meat products that say "humane" or "raised in a stress-free environment" are meaningless, according to some animal-rights groups…