Today, as part of the Administration’s broad, coordinated attack against working people, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), signaling yet another attack on the rights of working people -- and specifically working women who are home care heroes caring for seniors and people with disabilities. The proposed rule targets these home care workers and is designed to stop them from contributing their own wages to support their union in the same way that teachers, police and firefighters do. This proposal is a transparent attempt to interfere with workers’ freedom to choose to join together in a union and advocate for higher wages, better training, and basic benefits like affordable healthcare and paid sick time that are crucial to ensure quality home care for our parents, grandparents and children.
The proposed CMS rule, combined with the Janus ruling, are two more efforts by the Trump Administration and billionaire-funded special interest groups to silence a workforce comprised of 90 percent women, most of whom are women of color, and to reduce the power of working people by making it more difficult for them to join together in a union to fight to ensure that our loved ones can get the care they need to live at home with dignity.
Melody Benjamin, an Illinois home care worker, released the following statement:
“On behalf of home care workers everywhere, I want to be clear that we see through these actions by the Trump administration. We will not be stopped. We will not be silenced. We will not turn back. We will continue fighting to improve the care we provide to seniors, people with disabilities and children and to improve the work we love.
“We have chosen to join together in a union and contribute to that union to have a stronger voice for ourselves and the people who depend on us to help them live with dignity and independence at home. We will not back down in the face of this proposal, or any other attempt by the Administration to silence us or reduce our power to fight for quality care for the mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers we care for.
“The recent Supreme Court ruling is a political attack meant to undermine the gains working people have made together as part of a union: higher wages, better training, and basic benefits like affordable healthcare and paid sick time. All of these steps forward are critical to improving the quality of our work and the quality of care that millions of Americans are counting on.
“We have a care crisis in this country as demand for home care services is exploding. While the Administration may choose to ignore the facts, home care workers are the heroes doing the hard, compassionate work to care for children, parents, grandparents and loved ones. Together, home care workers are making these poverty-wage jobs into a respected profession and we will not allow any special interest group or self-interested politicians to silence our voices or endanger the high quality care we provide.
“Together, we are much stronger than any partisan attack. We ask our fellow citizens, faith leaders, and healthcare and disability advocates to support the rights of home care workers everywhere. And we call on our elected leaders to do everything in their power to help more working women and men join together in unions to create the most inclusive middle class in our nation’s history.”