Home Care Attendants Get Connected on “Tele-Town Hall”

PA State Sen. Vincent Hughes

PA State Sen. Vincent Hughes, special guest at our Tele-Town Hall

On April 8, hundreds of PA home care attendants joined together for a “Tele-Town Hall Meeting” about our union election.

We were joined on the 7 p.m conference call by special guest State Sen. Vincent Hughes, who’s championed the cause of home care attendants in Harrisburg.

“Home care workers do some of the hardest and most important work possible,” Hughes said. “However, all too often, attendants make poverty wages and have no benefits. That needs to change.”

And now it can change. Thanks to our union election, PA home care attendants have the opportunity to join together right now and win a powerful voice for better pay, health benefits and paid time-off.

The Tele-Town Hall was moderated by Philadelphia home care mobilizer LaKasha Hines, whose enthusiasm came through clearly over the phone. Hines was also joined on the call by Minnesota home care worker Shaquonica Johnson.

Johnson explained how home care workers in her state faced many of the same problems we do. “Even though I like my work, before we formed our union, I was having to choose paying my rent and feeding my children,” Johnson said. “On top of that, we had no paid time off and no health benefits.”

PA Homecare Mobilizer LaKasha Hines

PA Homecare Mobilizer LaKasha Hines

“I came to the conclusion that I needed to help make changes for myself and for others,” she continued. “I decided to join with the thousands of other home care workers across Minnesota to form our union.”

In August 2014, Minnesota workers had their election and voted YES overwhelmingly. As Johnson concluded, “Today, I can proudly say that, we have won our union, five days paid sick time, a training fund, and a $1.75 across-the-board raise.”

While we do not yet have the ability to bargaining collectively with the state, as in Minnesota, Governor Wolf has provided the opportunity for us to join together to meet with state officials about issues affecting us and our consumers. This is an important first step in winning the gains we want.

After hearing Johnson’s success story from Minnesota, Hines asked the Tele-Town Hall participants several survey questions. The question that drew the strongest response was the final one.

Hines asked: “Are you ready to stand together with the thousands of home care workers from across the state to build your union and to win the dignity and respect that you deserve?”

The attendants on the line then responded by pressing either #1 for Yes, or #2 for No — and an overwhelming majority of us said, YES, we want to build our union.

To keep up with developments on our election keep coming back to this website, check out our Facebook page or call the union office at 866-512-8361.

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