Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, caregivers have been bargaining with the State for protection, pay, and support. We’ve sent petitions, shared our stories, and sat (virtually) across from the State at the bargaining table. And as we announced on our tele-town hall a short while ago, we had big wins this weekend:
- Hazard Pay: IPs will receive an additional $3 an hour for every hour worked in May and June. In addition to hours worked, Hazard Pay also applies to training hours completed, PTO claimed, and admin hours during May and June. We are all on the front lines so all IPs will receive this pay regardless if you are caring for a client with COVID-19.
- Supplies reimbursement: The State will be distributing a one-time stipend to all IPs for cleaning supplies to keep our clients and ourselves safe.
- Healthcare coverage – even if you’ve lost hours: Losing hours these days is a real risk. The State will provide additional funding to make sure all IPs keep their health insurance through the Benefits Group, even if they’ve lost hours.
- More PPE: In April, caregivers were placed on Tier 1 for PPE, and the State announced they are mailing IPs reusable cloth masks while figuring out a distribution plan for disposable masks. The State is now setting aside about $10 million for PPE for IPs and agency caregivers.
- June 3rd Update: In May, the State mailed cloth face coverings to all IPs. This was a great start, but it’s not enough. Because we’ve continued to demand more PPE, the State has ordered more for caregivers! The State is waiting until they get sufficient supplies of all types of PPE (masks, face shields, gowns, etc.) so that when requests are made, they can ship a 30-day supply to the provider.
As usual, the victories we win for IPs in State bargaining also get turned into increased funding for private home care agencies. We’re also starting bargaining with all our private agencies THIS WEEK to make sure all caregivers get the same benefits.
And our fight does not stop here, because this pandemic isn’t over. We head back to the bargaining table with the State this summer for the new IP contract – and these negotiations will be tough. The State is facing an unprecedented shortfall, and they’ll be looking to pinch every penny they can. But we’re essential healthcare workers, and we are demanding to be treated and paid fairly for the lifesaving work we do. The State needs to step up and do more than thank us – they need to pay us.
There are dark days in this pandemic, and there are brighter moments like this when we win the hazard pay, protections, and recognition for the work we do.