ST. PAUL, MINN – Nearly 1,000 voices rallied in the State Capitol Rotunda in Saint Paul on Tuesday, November 12, urging legislators to support a five percent rate increase for home and community based health care workers.
These important workers–who care for persons with developmental disabilities and older adults–have not realized a wage increase in nearly six years. According to Sen. Clausen, the median wage for these essential workers has declined by about 10 percent over the last decade. During Minnesota’s tough budget times, group homes and in-home providers took deep cuts and home care workers kept falling further behind in wages. Sen. Clausen also released the following statement:
“Home and Community-based Service providers perform essential, life-changing services for people with disabilities and Minnesota’s seniors. However, it is difficult to keep home care workers in the field because of the low pay. The turnover rate for home care providers is at about 44 percent in the last few years due to people are moving on to jobs where they can make a living. This is just not acceptable—these essential workers deserve a living wage.”
Attendees at the rally included people with disabilities and older adults, caregivers and Direct Service Professionals and legislators from both sides of the aisle. Supporters held signs with messages saying ‘Quality pay = Quality staff,’ ‘Time to repay years of cuts!’ and ‘We are asking for a living wage.’