Healey, Union Celebrate "Profoundly Important" Care Work

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Home care workers and consumers crowded Gov. Maura Healey's office alongside government officials Monday to celebrate a new three-year contract for personal care attendants, which one consumer called a "landmark."

The contract terms, according to SEIU, include retirement savings accounts, additional compensation for attendants caring for people with complex needs, and a path to a $25-per-hour wage for the care workers.

Chris Hoeh, a member of the state's PCA Workforce Council, celebrated the "landmark" pay rates and said "we're always trying to tell the union, ask for more money ... because we don't think you could ever get paid enough."

"To hear Chris describe the contract, saying 'We won $25' as the employer, is quite a statement for the type of relationships that we're building," said Tim Foley of 1199 SEIU, which has more than 55,000 PCA members. "About trying to improve people's lives and the care that they deliver every single day to make sure folks can live independently at home, and with their own choice of where they want to receive their care and where they want to live."

Healey told the group that "the last few years" have highlighted the importance of care work, and she reflected back on her own mother's work caring for her grandfather and others.

"She'd also leave the house early in the morning and sometimes in the evening, after doing her school nursing day job, to go work and care for people in their homes," the governor said. "And you know, because she didn't have child care, sometimes we'd go along with her. And so I witnessed firsthand how profoundly important that work is."

Hoeh told the PCAs in the room, "Without you, we can't live in our home."

Written by Sam Doran/SHNS

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