Sara Lonardo,,, 202-730-7332

Issued May 02, 2019

Trump administration to home care workers: Here’s your poverty-level wage. Now let us tell you how to spend it.

Women who care for seniors, people with disabilities will challenge Trump administration’s racist rule in court and defend their choice to stick together in their union


Washington, D.C. — Today the Trump administration’s concerted attack against working people continued with the release of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) final rule attacking roughly 800,000 home care workers’ ability to use common paycheck deductions for health insurance contributions, union dues, and other expenses. The rule wrongly targets independent provider home care workers who, without a union, are faced with a physically and emotionally demanding job with a median wage of just $10.49 an hour, no healthcare, no paid sick time and no benefits. The rule is scheduled to take effect in the beginning of July.

The rule is the latest strategic attempt by anti-worker special interest groups to silence the growing number of women in the home care workforce and deny them the ability to choose to support their union with their wages in the same way that most union members do, including teachers, firefighters and police officers. Its intent is to undermine working women’s right to advocate for better training, higher wages, and basic benefits — which are all crucial to ensuring quality home care for millions of Americans.

SEIU members plan to challenge this rule in court and will continue to join other SEIU members and Fight for $15 and a Union leaders in calling on elected leaders and candidates to commit to making sure all working people —Black, white and brown— have the opportunity to join together in a union, no matter where they work.

Carmen Roberts, a California home care worker, released the following statement:

“Instead of focusing on America’s growing home care workforce shortage, or the number of seniors and veterans who critically need home care services, the Trump administration has instead focused on telling working women —Black, white and brown— how to spend the wages we earn.

“Like so many home care workers across this country, I chose to join my union to have a voice. This administration’s new rule is a blatant attempt to silence home care workers and to undermine our dignity in the workplace. But we will continue to speak out together with seniors, people with disabilities and Fight for $15 and Union activists for the rights of all working people to form strong unions and the respect that our essential work deserves.

“We remain deeply committed to providing compassionate care for parents, grandparents and loved ones through better training, wages that will actually support a family, and by having a strong voice on issues that will improve the quality of home care services.

“We ask our fellow citizens, families who count on the care we deliver, and healthcare and disability advocates to speak out with us. We are confident our basic rights will be upheld in court, so we can focus on the work we love, instead of dealing with a racist, sexist challenges from an administration that will never fully value what we do.”

Building on thousands of public comments in opposition, home care workers to challenge racist rule in court

SEIU members plan to challenge this racist rule in court. Ninety percent of home care workers are women, more than 50 percent are women of color and 1 in 4 are immigrants. The administration’s attempt to silence home care workers reflects a long history in the United States of double-standard policies that deny working people of color like home care workers and domestic workers basic legal protections and rights, including protections for minimum wage and overtime pay, and the right to organize and form strong unions.     

The proposed rule was met with widespread opposition from thousands of workers and consumers of home care services, long term care advocates, and hundreds of elected officials at the state and federal level who recognize the essential services that home care workers provide.

In addition, SEIU is actively litigating a FOIA case against HHS to produce records reflecting coordination on the rule between CMS officials and billionaire-backed special interest groups who have been trying to silence working people for decades.