Olympia, WA – Demonstrating deep commitment to protecting seniors and people with disabilities, House Democrats took the necessary steps in their budget to ensure that both long-term care services are fully funded next year.
By closing wasteful tax loopholes, the House budget proposal laid the foundation for an equitable future for all working families in Washington state.
“Home-care workers across the state applaud the House Democrats for taking steps to build the long-term care workforce and ensure quality care for vulnerable Washingtonians.”
— Adam Glickman, SEIU 775 Secretary-Treasurer
The House budget would help grow and stabilize the caregiver workforce by rejecting the Senate Republicans proposal to make deep cuts to health benefits for low-wage caregivers. That proposal would have eliminated affordable health care for thousands of home care workers.
The House budget also funds the home-care union contract, which phases in raises to bring home care workers up to at least $15/hour by 2019. Due to low wages, tens of thousands of caregivers have been forced to live below the poverty levels, work multiple jobs and struggle to make ends meet. The average caregiver in Washington state earns less than $20,000 a year, which forces caregivers to leave the workforce in pursuit of better-paying jobs.
“The work we do as caregivers is super — important to our clients – seniors and adults living with disabilities. They depend on us caregivers to provide quality care. This budget makes me hopeful that our state legislators will recognize the value of our work and fully fund our contract.”
-Tanika Aden, SEIU 775 parent caregiver
This past summer, SEIU 775 bargained a contract with the state to stabilize the workforce and ensure that home-care workers earn a living wage, while also being less expensive than either of the two previous contracts that were funded by the legislature in 2013 and 2015. For 45,000 home-care workers, funding the home-care contract with similar increases for private agency caregivers will afford them the opportunity to provide for their families and futures.
“Unlike the Senate Republicans, who chose to protect tax breaks for the wealthy while slashing health benefits for low-wage caregivers, the House Democratic budget protects affordable healthcare for caregivers, helps lift them out of poverty, and makes our tax system more fair,” said Glickman.