Tuesday, January 24th, more than 200 home care workers belonging to SEIU Healthcare 775NW, a labor union that represents 43,000 long term care workers, converged on the capitol to demand that state legislators stop cuts to long term care services for seniors and people with disabilities. Sylvia Liang, a home care worker, community member, and executive board member of the union, led nearly a dozen fellow Cantonese-speaking members to talk to their legislators, particularly about a cut to home care agencies that agencies say would force them to close their doors. Asian Pacific Islanders overwhelmingly choose in-home care services to care for elders and people with disabilities in our community over other settings such as nursing homes. Cuts to agencies like ResCare, Korean Women’s Association, and Catholic Community Services could affect thousands of APIs as clients would lose home care services and workers would be out of a job.
Workers braved hours in the cold, freezing rain and relentless gusts of wind to get their message across to legislators who will be negotiating the state budget over the next few weeks. Legislators face a $1.5 billion budget gap. Caregivers like Liang are demanding that legislators consider revenue options instead of making devastating budget cuts that would both leave their clients out in the cold, and thousands without a job.