Jobs, care, justice!

The care movement is taking action across the country to call on Congress to pass the American Jobs Plan. #CareCantWait

“The future of work is service and care jobs,” said LaTanya Hughes, a vice president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and home care worker who also cares for her two daughters with disabilities. Hughes became involved with her union when her employer failed to pay workers and went bankrupt. “Passing the $400 billion care plan that President Biden has proposed would be a jobs act, it would be a racial justice act, and it would be a care act. Today we’re calling on our elected leaders to take this bold action now. It’s time we finally realized and value the jobs we all call essential.” 

Health and home care workers gathered to march at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul this morning, calling for elected officials to pass the American Jobs Plan, which includes the Better Care Better Pay Act that would address the caregiving crisis and empower the care economy. SEIU Healthcare MN held a rally and press conference in front of the capitol before celebrating their contract agreement with food and family-friendly activities on the front lawn. Members from Local 284 and Local 26 joined in solidarity.

Workers see the passing of the act as a matter of racial and gender justice. “We believe that every Minnesotan, no matter your race, your zip code, or your wealth, should be able to be cared for,” said Deb Howze, a home care worker and executive member of SEIU Healthcare MN. “Care workers who make this a reality, mostly women and people of color, deserve good union jobs that respect, protect and pay us.”

Home care workers help people with disabilities to be able to live their lives with dignity and independence. Lauren Thompson, a home care client and disability advocate, said people with disabilities are often forced into facility-style care that can cost twice as much as personal care assistant services. “Workers are underpaid and overworked, this causes a dangerous domino effect that trickles down to me, and disabled Minnesotans like me,” said Thompson. “We’re the ones waiting to live our lives until our PCAs can come to work. We’re waiting to get out of bed, we’re waiting to have a shower, we’re waiting to go to work ourselves.”

People with disabilities are often seen as a burden on society, but the reality is the opposite of that. Jillian Nelson, a community resource and policy advocate for the Autism Society of Minnesota, stood with her care team and called for the country to recognize the value of people with disabilities. “As an autistic adult, these services and support are vital to my wellbeing. Without their care and support, I don’t get to chase goals that help the whole community,” said Nelson. “People with disabilities create economic infrastructure and a robust job market simply by existing.”

Solidarity with CTUL union 🤝

The staff of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), announced today that they formed a union.

What we’re reading

  • Featured on Workday: Mindy Isser (@mindyisser) writes about climate change as a workers’ rights issue. From the piece:

On June 29, the United Farm Workers (UFW) slammed reports of heat-wave-related illnesses and deaths as ​“entirely preventable,” called on Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to protect farm workers by issuing emergency heat standards. (At least 63 people have died in Washington and Oregon since the heatwave began.) Even in perfect weather, farm workers do physically demanding labor for very low wages and no benefits. And according to Centers for Disease Control data from 2008, farmworkers already were perishing from heat at a rate of 20 times other civilian workers. Now temperatures have climbed to well over 100 degrees in the Pacific Northwest, and a farmworker in Oregon was killed by the heat on June 26. UFW rightly calls heat protections for workers ​“a matter of life and death.” 
  • Alyssa (Hyeyoon) Choi (@AlyssaHChoi) reports for ABC News on the effort to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and why advocates are pushing for a pathway to citizenship for agricultural workers.

  • Watch: Members from the Iron Range Building Trades help restore the Paul Wellstone Memorial in Eveleth, MN.

Care is essential. We are each other’s harvest.