«Brittany Williams, a home care worker in Seattle, said her work was scaled back this year because she’s had to focus on her 8-year-old son whose classes have gone online. She’s down to working two days a week and gets by thanks to food donations from her church. 

Williams makes $17.05 an hour thanks to a union contract, putting her slightly above the median wage of $14.76 for home care workers in Seattle. But the stress — of missing bills, riding the bus to work and wondering whether she or her son will get sick — has made for a punishing year. 

Williams outlined those challenges for Biden during a roundtable discussion he held with frontline health care workers in November

‘Caregivers, we’re the maintainers of life,’ she told him. ‘Caregivers were out there doing what had to be done, and we still are. We have to live with the [fear] in the back of our head.’

Reflecting on the call later, Williams said it was ‘humbling’ to see so much focus put on care work for the first time. 

‘It’s time for essential workers to be respected,’ said Williams, 34. ‘It’s beyond time that we are protected and we are paid on the level of what we give out as far as our value.'»

Read more from The 19th News.

«SEATTLE — Caregivers are calling on Washingtonians who cheered on health care workers when the pandemic began to oppose state cuts to care services.

The Service Employees International Union Local 775’s ‘You Clapped. Now Act!’ campaign is calling on lawmakers to rethink the proposed $1.1 billion cut to the Department of Social and Health Services for the 2021 to 2023 budget.

Olga Garcia is an in-home caregiver in Sedro-Woolley, a city in northern Washington. She said she’s helping her client stay in her home.

‘There’s no way that she would be able to do anything on her own, and she’s scared,’ Garcia said. ‘She doesn’t want to go to a nursing home or somewhere else. She likes where she lives and she likes to have us go in there and care for her.’

SEIU 775 says the cuts put 10,000 in-home caregivers’ jobs at risk, and another 10,000 older people and people with disabilities could be kicked off home-care services. It also could mean 2,800 people will be kicked out of the nursing homes where they live.»

Read more from Public News Service.

«Patricia Short navigates the halls and quarantine zones in the nursing home where she works, checking residents for COVID-19 symptoms, testing them when they show signs of coronavirus infection and telling their frustrated family members they still can’t come inside to visit.

It’s been an unrelenting nine months for Short and other long-term care facility staff and residents across Washington, with more than half of the state’s coronavirus deaths linked to long-term care.

Some of her coworkers at the Yakima County nursing home have quit or retired. Short, a nurse of more than 25 years, has endured more than one outbreak.

But she’s still optimistic — because the vaccine has arrived in Washington and is due soon in the state’s nursing homes.»

Read more from The Seattle Times.

«Leaders of industry groups commended the state for moving quickly to come up with the rapid-response teams, but they noted that the teams aren’t a fix for the ongoing need for adequate staffing. Adam Glickman, the secretary-treasurer of SEIU 775, which represents long-term care workers, said the shortages call for paying workers higher wages and affordable health benefits.

‘This plan helps overstressed nursing home workers who are covering for sick co-workers in the short term and that’s great and necessary,’ Glickman said in an email. ‘But we should be clear that this is a bandage to stop the bleeding, and doesn’t address the underlying problem which is ongoing dramatic underfunding of our state’s nursing homes.'»

Read more on The Seattle Times’ website.