SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders: “Caregiving is work typically done by women, who work alone in someone’s home. They have no process or place to report or respond when they feel they are at danger at work. These bills will make the care environment safer for both caregivers and the people they care for by creating safety, prevention, and reporting standards. Everyone deserves to feel safe while giving and receiving care.”
OLYMPIA, WA – Today, House Bill 2681 – a bill that addresses the harassment, abuse, and discrimination of caregivers – was successfully voted out of the Washington state House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee. It joins companion bill Senate Bill 6205, which was voted out of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee yesterday, in moving to the respective Ways and Means Committees for the next vote.
Caregivers testified in support of both these bills on Jan. 28 before the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee and on Jan. 15 before the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee, urging the legislature to pass these powerful and comprehensive policies that ensure everyone can feel safe while giving and receiving care.
Caregivers shared their experiences with incidents of harassment, abuse, and discrimination – which can come from anyone in the care environment, including other people residing in or visiting their client’s home, friends, family, or neighbors. The impact is more than an immediate reaction. It affects caregivers’ health, wellbeing, and quality of care. Additionally, it leads to increased turnover among direct care workers, which can lower quality of care for clients.
Historically, caregivers – the majority of whom are low-income and women of color – have been excluded from basic workplace protection standards. But in this moment in this country, people, especially women, are stepping up and demanding a safer work environment. Caregiving is no different.
“Caregiving is work typically done by women, who work alone in someone’s home. They have no process or place to report or respond when they feel they are at danger at work,” said SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders. “These bills will make the care environment safer for both caregivers and the people they care for by creating safety, prevention, and reporting standards. Everyone deserves to feel safe while giving and receiving care.”
Senate Bill 6205 is sponsored in the Washington state Senate by Andy Billig, 3rd District, Spokane; Annette Cleveland, 49th District, Vancouver; Steve Conway, 29th District, Tacoma; Manka Dhingra, 45th District, Redmond; David Frockt, 46th District, Seattle, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park; Karen Keiser, 33rd District, Des Moines; Mark Mullet, 5th District, Issaquah; Emily Randall, 26th District, Bremerton; Rebecca Saldaña, 37th District, Seattle; Kevin Van De Wege, 24th District, Sequim.
House Bill 2681 is sponsored in the Washington state House of Representatives by Mike Chapman, 24th District; Eileen Cody, 34th District; Lauren Davis, 32nd District; Carolyn Eslick, 39th District; Noel Frame, 36th District; Roger Goodman, 45th District; Mia Gregerson, 33rd District; Paul Harris, 17th District; Christine Kilduff, 28th District; John Lovick, 44th District; Nicole Macri, 43rd District; Timm Ormsby, 3rd District; Lillian Ortiz-Self, 21st District; Tina Orwall, 33rd District; Gerry Pollet, 46th District; Marcus Riccelli, 3rd District; June Robinson, 38th District; Mike Sells, 38th District; Sharon Shewmake, 42nd District; Monica Jurado Stonier, 49th District; Gael Tarleton, 36th District; My-Linh Thai, 41st District; Steve Tharinger, 24th District; Javier Valdez, 46th District; and Amy Walen, 48th District.
More information on SEIU 775’s campaign to address harassment, abuse, and discrimination (HADit) is available at seiu775.org/HADit.