Our mission is to unite the strength of all caregivers, to create a better life for ourselves and those we care for, and to lead the way to a more just and equitable world. We are not a group of people who lets the world happen to us. We take the time to think about where we are, where we want to go, and the work it takes to get there. We set goals. We build plans. We are unafraid to make changes. We fight and make the seemingly impossible, possible.
Our Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals reflect our plans the future and how we set our goals for the legislative session. These goals are:
- Make caregiving a good career
- Win universal access to quality health and long-term care
- Fight for justice for all
- Build power for caregivers and all workers
One key way we move these goals forward is by meeting with and educating our lawmakers about our top issues and our expectations for them to fight alongside us to enact these goals. Our 2024 Legislative Agenda details what we need to win together during Washington’s Legislative Session to ensure that caregiving in Washington is a good career, provides high quality care to our seniors and people with disabilities, that all workers are able to join together to make change, and that our communities are places of justice and equity.
Our 2024 Legislative Priorities are:
- Win Healthcare for Nursing Home Workers
- Protect and Expand WA Care Long-Term Care Benefits
- Paying Parents of Kids Living with Developmental Disabilities
- Climate Emergency Preparedness and Climate Justice
- Rent Stabilization, Renters’ Protections, and Affordable Housing Investments
- Police Accountability
- Fix Our Upside Down Tax System by Increasing Taxes on The Wealthy Elite and Expanding Tax Credits and Benefits for Working People
- Win Unemployment Benefits for All Workers
- Protect Workers’ Rights
Our Goal: MAKE CAREGIVING A GOOD CAREER
Win Healthcare for Nursing Home Workers
The caregiving workforce is overwhelmingly women and disproportionally Black women, Indigenous women, women of color, and Immigrants. Too many long-term care workers continue to struggle with low wages and inadequate benefits – and that’s not right. We deserve to be treated, and compensated, like the healthcare professionals we are.
Nursing Home Workers deserve affordable, high-quality healthcare. AND right now, most nursing home workers are uninsured or afraid to use our healthcare insurance due to high costs. Having affordable, quality healthcare is essential to making working in a nursing home a good career. It will help ensure people can stay in nursing home jobs and will recruit new nursing home workers. This year we are asking the legislature to create the WA Essential Worker Healthcare Fund pilot for Nursing Home workers.
“How am I supposed to take the best care of my residents when I don’t have affordable healthcare for taking myself to the doctor when I’m sick? I work full time at my Nursing Home, but I can’t afford expensive health insurance and make too much to qualify for Apple Health. I am an essential healthcare worker and deserve quality, affordable healthcare as part of my job. I have to be able to take care of myself so I can then give my residents the care they deserve.”
Laura C., Nursing Home Worker, Sunnyside
Paying Parents of Kids Living with Developmental Disabilities
Currently, only parents of children over the age of 18 can be paid caregivers for our Medicaid eligible children. As many parents remain unpaid caregivers, we know that Black, Indigenous, and women of color, women with unmet language access support needs, women in rural areas, single parents, and poor parents are especially harmed by not being paid caregivers. This year, the legislature should correct this glaring injustice by allowing parents of Medicaid eligible children under the age 18 to be paid caregivers.
Our Goal: WIN UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTH AND LONG-TERM CARE
Currently, there are real gaps in our long-term care system, and we must fight to ensure the people we care for can build a life with dignity. We need many more trained and well-paid workers to provide care for people with disabilities and our growing senior population.
Protect and Expand WA Cares Long-Term Care Benefits
Almost no one is financially prepared for the reality that we will need long-term care with daily tasks such as bathing, eating, and transportation at some point in our lives. That is why caregivers successfully fought for WA Cares, our nation’s first long-term care social insurance program. This year we are asking lawmakers to improve WA Cares so Washingtonians who move out of State, but paid into the system, can still use their WA Cares benefits.
“At the age of 30, as a young mom and career caregiver, I never thought that I’d be the next one needing care, or that I’d walk into a doctor’s office one day and come out with a spinal cord injury. As a family, we were financially unprepared, overwhelmed, and shocked to find out that health insurance simply doesn’t cover things like wheelchair ramps. As a person with a disability, I’m grateful that one day, when I inevitably need something else that health insurance doesn’t cover, my family and I will be able to rely on WA Cares to help take some of the financial burden off our shoulders.”
Dani R., Individual Provider, Asotin
Our Goal: FIGHT FOR JUSTICE FOR ALL
Because of who we are, and who we care for, time and again long-term care work has been left out of laws that protect other healthcare workers. The legacies of racism and sexism mean we constantly have to fight for the world that we, and those we care for, deserve. We fight for a world where clients, our families, ourselves, and our communities can live our best lives.
Climate Emergency Preparedness and Climate Justice
As caregivers we care for our clients through extreme weather, wildfires, floods, and other climate disasters. We are asking the Legislature to invest in climate emergency preparedness trainings for caregivers, and to make trainings accessible in multiple languages. We expect lawmakers to listen to those who are hit first and worst by environmental damage and climate change — Black people, communities of color, Indigenous people, people living with disabilities, and people with lower incomes— when making decisions. We will also defend the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) and the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act.
“In the last year I had to figure out how to keep the air clean enough to breathe in my client’s home, because of wildfires, and also how to keep my client cool enough during heat waves. These climate emergencies happen more often than ever and really make me worry about my client and their health. I need training and resources for how to best keep my client safe and healthy as these terrible events keep happening.”
Vee T., Individual Provider, Bonney Lake
Rent Stabilization, Renters’ Protections, and Affordable Housing Investments
Caregivers, our families, and our clients are all struggling to find affordable housing near our jobs and in the communities we want to live in. Soaring housing costs and a lack of renters’ protections are harming communities in every corner of our State and we need bold actions and investments from our lawmakers this year. Lawmakers need to support policies that protect renters against extreme rent increases and late fees, and to invest in more affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and rental assistance.
“From my own experience living in low income and subsidized housing, I know housing should be available to me in all parts of the city. But I’m on section 8 housing, and I worry about my rent being increased when my lease is up. If I can’t find a place to live within my income limit, I won’t have a home. What’s important to me is that people have access to housing that is fair and accessible for everyone and everywhere, without years-long waiting lists. That’s why we need the legislature to invest in affordable housing and protections for renters.”
Sonja T., Individual Provider, Renton
Reducing police violence and increasing police accountability makes all our communities safer. As caregivers, who are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and women of color, we know the impact police violence creates in our lives, and the lives of our clients. Lawmakers need to pass reforms that hold police accountable and make our communities places where we are safe, valued, and respected.
Fix Our Upside Down Tax System
Expanding Tax Credits and Benefits for Working People
Both the Working Families Tax Credit and the Washington Future Fund are key to fixing income inequality and the racial wealth gap that affects too many Washingtonians.
- Expand Working Families Tax Credit to allow young adults and seniors access to this important benefit.
- Create and invest in the Washington Futures Fund, which will set aside funds for kids who were enrolled in Apple Health or Medicaid at birth, to be used for their education and buying a home when they become adults.
Increase Taxes on the Wealthy Elite and Big Corporations
Washington has one of the most upside-down tax systems in the county, with working people like us paying a higher portion of our income in taxes than the wealthy elite. To make our tax system fairer and address the underfunding of essential public services, we urge the legislature to:
- Change the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) tax to increase the tax on property sales over $3 million and reduce the tax on properties under $3 million. Invest these dollars in the Housing Trust Fund, housing for People with Disabilities, and affordable housing for all.
- Create a Wealth Tax where the wealthy elite with more than $250 Million in financial assets would pay a 1% tax on assets above $250 million. Invest these dollars into underfunded public services like childcare, behavioral health, long-term care, and housing.
- Gift Cards Consumer Protections Large companies are able to keep unspent gift cards for their own revenue, even though that money belongs to the people who bought the unused gift cards. Starbucks, for example, keeps $212 million dollars a year in unused gift cards. To hold companies accountable for their corporate greed, we are urging the passage of legislation that would require large Washington state companies to send these unused gift card funds to the Department of Revenue as unclaimed property.
Our Goal: BUILD POWER FOR CAREGIVERS AND ALL WORKERS
Caregivers in Washington, Montana, and Alaska are leading the way to make sure all workers can have a strong union.
Unemployment Benefits for All Workers
Every Washingtonian, regardless of immigration status, deserves access to unemployment benefits. Undocumented workers are 5% of our State’s workforce and pay over a billion dollars in state and federal taxes every year. However, despite paying into the system, undocumented workers cannot get the unemployment benefits that keep other workers afloat between jobs. Washington can do better. We call on our legislators to create our own wage replacement for those unjustly barred from unemployment benefits.
“Workers who are undocumented are paying into our systems, like unemployment insurance, and yet they can’t access these critical benefits. It is unfair and unjust that there are different levels of benefits when we all pay into the same system. This safety net needs to be given to all workers.”
Nelly P., Individual Provider, Sunnyside
Protecting Workers’ Rights: Prohibit Captive Audience Meetings
Workers in Washington have a legal right to form a Union free of interference from their employer. However, as we see too often, employers from Starbucks to Amazon to Trader Joe’s regularly violate this law with mandatory anti-union employee meetings. In these scare tactic meetings, employers wrongly imply that voting for a Union may result in layoffs, loss of benefits, or even closure. We urge lawmakers to make anti-worker meetings voluntary and creating penalties for violations.