“I have worked in healthcare for almost 25 years: as a home care worker for the last 11 and as a CNA for 11 years before that. I take pride and joy in caring for others.

I am grateful that the proposed budget released by the state Senate includes funding for an extension of hazard pay for home care workers, but I’m alarmed that the House proposal to raise wages for nursing home workers isn’t included.

All long-term care workers, home care and nursing home workers alike, are putting our lives on the line caring for our most vulnerable population and deserve pay commensurate with our work. Most nursing home workers haven’t seen increased wages during the pandemic.

We are essential workers, but our wages and benefits do not reflect that. Inflation, COVID, a shortage of supplies, sickness, and exhaustion have contributed to already strained staffing. We are burned out and need support. I don’t blame folks for leaving caregiving when they can make more money without the health risks in other jobs.

It’s impossible to give everyone the care they need when you are understaffed. Unless we prioritize long-term care now, the future will only get bleaker as more Washingtonians age. The turnover rate for healthcare workers is bleak. Wage increases would change that.

I hope the legislature does the right thing and raises wages of frontline nursing home workers up to $4 an hour.”

Nando Haddad, Silverdale

You can read the letter from SEIU 775 member Nando Haddad in the Bainbridge Island review here.