Caregivers are essential. It's time for $20 an hour!

Our 2022 priorities

Long-term care

Racial and economic justice

A note from SEIU 775 President Sterling Harders


Long-term care

Pay long-term care workers at least $20 an hour

Caregiver holding a sign that says "$20 means to me: I can support myself and my mother as her sole caregiver."
“$20 means to me: I can support myself and my mother as her sole caregiver.”

Time for $20 is our campaign to win a permanent wage of $20 an hour or more for all long-term caregivers – including home care, nursing homes, and residential care – in Washington.

Essential workers in healthcare, food service, and more have been working on the frontlines during this pandemic, yet many still don’t earn a living wage. And this pandemic didn’t create the crisis in long-term care – it’s just shining a light on the reality of the conditions: not enough caregivers, not enough equipment, and not enough funding.

Without investments in frontline workers, Washington will face a growing workforce shortage as our population continues to age and the need for caregivers grows.

A permanent wage increase to at least $20 an hour will allow caregivers to provide for ourselves and our families – AND recruit more of the highly trained workforce we need.

Essential work deserves a living wage. You can read more about Time for $20 here.


Protect and improve WA Cares, our state’s new public long-term care benefit

Caregiver Dani Rice

“In 2019, we advocated and worked with a bi-partisan group of legislators to create WA Cares to address the long-term care affordability and accessibility crisis facing families across the country. We pushed for over a decade for this program. We’re not backing down now, because we need WA Cares!

– SEIU 775 Member Dani Rice

Whether it’s people giving up higher-paying work to take care of a loved one or spending down a lifetime’s worth of assets in order to qualify for care through Medicaid, the truth is, most of us are completely unprepared for the moment we need long-term care when it arrives. Medicare does not pay for the long-term services and supports that an estimated 70 percent of people require near the end of their lives.

WA Cares is critical for addressing our state’s looming age wave and the strain it will put on the state’s long-term care system. The small payroll deduction of a half a percent is worth knowing you’ll have quality long-term care when you need it.

The legislature needs to improve the WA Cares program by:

  • Expanding eligibility for people near retirement
  • Allowing people who live out of state but work in WA, for military spouses and temporary workers, and for veterans with long-term care coverage to opt-out.
  • Protecting the program from the private insurance industry, who are trying to spread misinformation in order to profit

Increase the Personal Needs Allowance for in-home Medicaid

The personal needs allowance (PNA) is the amount of income a Medicaid recipient is allowed to keep to maintain their housing, utilities, transportation, and other needs.

The current in-home PNA for an unmarried individual is dangerously low at $1,074 for 2021. This is clearly not enough for our clients to afford housing, food, and basic personal necessities. As a result, some potential home care clients end up in nursing homes or other institutions because they can’t afford rent – or go without care entirely.

Increasing the PNA to $2,382 per month will prevent in-home Medicaid Clients from facing eviction, skipping meals, and economic distress.


Racial and economic justice

Caregivers, in solidarity with community coalitions and campaigns, are fighting to create a more just and humane society.

Unemployment insurance for immigrants

We are asking the legislature to create a permanent system, like Unemployment Insurance, for undocumented workers.

Expanding health services for immigrants

We need fully funded community-based clinics that can comprehensively serve immigrant communities. 

Affordable housing and tenant rights

By creating a renter’s credit that provides tenants with direct cash rebates to offset increasing housing costs, we can continue to invest in making affordable housing accessible across all of Washington, protect families from the trauma of eviction, and strengthen the rights of renters and low-income households.

Learn more: 2022 State Policy Priorities | Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (wliha.org)

Public safety, police accountability and reducing incarceration

We need to continue holding law enforcement accountable for unjust killings and harmful use of force in our communities, including providing special prosecutors (HB 1505), creating avenues to sue officers that cause harm in our community (HB 1202), prohibiting traffic stops on certain violations (SB 5485), and creating new guidelines for officer discipline.

We also need to freeze transfers from the Department of Corrections to the Northwest Detention Center. This will prevent further dehumanization of people living in harsh, inhumane conditions facing the unimaginable terror of detention, separation from their families and deportation.

Fix Washington’s upside-down tax systems that preserve racial and economic inequality

In 2021, one-in-ten households and one-in-three small businesses were behind on rent. One-in-three Washingtonians went hungry. Meanwhile, Washington’s 19 billionaires sat back and watched their wealth grow by 56%.

We can improve our state’s upside-down tax system with the Billionaires Wealth Tax (HB 1406 and SB 5426), which will increase tax fairness and invest in communities with a tax on the ultra-wealthy billionaires; improvements to the Estate Tax to eliminate the tax for smaller estates, while raising the rates for higher valued estates; and with new and continued investments in direct cash assistance for low-income households.

Learn more: Solutions we support | Balance Our Tax Code

Increase access to dental care by allowing Dental Therapists in Washington

Dental care is inaccessible for too many families in Washington. Dental therapists will expand dental care access where it is predominantly out of reach, providing quality and timely care to rural communities, low-income communities, and communities of color, and to publicly insured or uninsured patients. You can learn more about the campaign here: Washington Dental Access Campaign (wadentalaccess.com)

Act now: Sign the petition for cost effective, accessible dental care! (everyaction.com)

Working Families Tax Credit Implementation

We won a major victory during the 2021 Legislative Session by winning the Working Families Tax Credit! Starting in 2023, working families will be eligible for up to an additional $1,200 during tax return. SEIU 775 is committed to ensuring the implementation of this new law is equitable and accessible.

Learn more: Department of Revenue | Working Families Tax Credit