Despite the demand for home care workers, wages are low: a median of USD11.52 one hour in 2018. (The average rose in 2020 due to temporary salary increases for Covid-19 threats.) More than half of home care workers Entitlement to public services. And the people who make up the workforce for these jobs are often vulnerable and marginalized: Nine out of ten home care workers are women and nearly two-thirds are people of color.

This profession, which consisted mainly of women and women of the same color, was excluded from the profession Wagner law in 1935 and the Fair Labor Law 1938 – Exclusions that many scholars believe were designed amplify white supremacy and patriarchy. As a result, home care workers have been denied federal organization and collective bargaining rights, as well as the right to a minimum wage and overtime wages.

But home care workers have grown in importance over the past few decades Victories. In 2001, Washington home care workers were given the right to bargain collectively. A necessary tool to enable independent vendors to come together is the designation of a registered employer. Without one, every worker is simply an independent contractor who cannot force the state to negotiate.

Washington State created a quality agency for home care employers, and in 2003 the SEIU workers negotiated their first contract with the state. Since then, they have successfully renegotiated their contracts with the state several times.

According to Peter Nazzal, director of long-term care for Catholic Community Services in West Washington, these changes have helped stabilize the workforce in care, where revenue is high. It also improves care for people by keeping them at home and reducing costs to the state. “It’s a fraction of the cost of nursing homes” he said in a podcast interview last year. “Taxpayers like it.”

Other states, including Illinois, Minnesota, and California, have set up some sort of home care agency to help families find care and to ensure independent workers have a registered employer. In states where workers can negotiate their wages with home care authorities, almost everyone on their current contracts earns or will do more than $ 15 an hour.

However, in Arkansas, home care workers do not have the right to bargain collectively. They have to accept the wages that the state decides on and they have no voice in these negotiations. Danielle was making $ 9 an hour when she moved to Arkansas in 2018. In January, when a selective effort began to raise the minimum wage, she began making $ 11 an hour.