It’s time for a starting wage of $20 an hour.
Time for $20 is our campaign for a permanent wage increase to $20 an hour or more for all long-term caregivers 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 COVID-19 didn’t create the crisis in long-term care – it’s just shined 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.
Long-term care is healthcare, and it’s essential work.
That’s why we’re asking the Governor and the State legislature to increase wages for all long-term care workers. 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.
Join the fight: Ask the legislature to fund a starting wage of $20 an hour!
Frequently Asked Questions
I already make $20 an hour (or more). How does this affect me?
When the pandemic began, the federal government recognized the essential work of long-term care and temporarily increased funding for in-home care. Our Union fought hard and turned that temporary funding into hazard pay for in-home care workers: a huge win that put an additional $2.50-$3/hour in caregivers’ pockets for 20 months.
But the temporary hazard pay is set to expire at the end of this year. Unless the Governor and the Washington State legislature act, our wages will go back down then to what they were before hazard pay.
That’s why we’re asking the Governor and the State legislature to increase wages for all long-term care workers to at least $20 an hour – permanently!
When do we stop getting hazard pay? What happens then?
Hazard pay has always been a temporary wage increase – but we are fighting to increase our wages, because it shouldn’t take a pandemic for caregivers to make $20 an hour. As part of our fight to increase long-term care workers’ wages, we went back into bargaining with the State in September to re-negotiate the second year of our 2021-2023 IP contract.
In bargaining, we won an additional 5% raise, which is a $.90 increase in our base wage scale for the second year of our contract!
This is the first step in our campaign to win starting wages of at LEAST $20 an hour for all home care workers: by winning an increase in our base wage scale.
Since this increase doesn’t start until next July, we’re still pushing hard to extend hazard pay into 2022! You can find more details at seiu775.org/covidipbargaining/
What does this mean for nursing home workers?
Nursing homes were already understaffed. Even before the pandemic, CNAs and direct care workers were in short supply, and COVID-19 led to even more workers leaving the industry. The CNAs, housekeepers, and dietary staff who risk their lives to care for vulnerable residents are still some of the lowest-paid healthcare workers in our State, making an average of $16-17 an hour.
That’s why we are also fighting to increase rates for the lowest-paid nursing home workers with a $4 an hour low-wage worker rate add-on that will help to bring workers back to nursing homes, fill open positions, and improve staffing.
How can I get involved?
We have a lot of work ahead of us this year and in the 2022 legislative session starting in January, so watch your email or talk to your organizer for updates and opportunities to join the fight. And if you haven’t already, send a message to the legislature and ask them to fund a starting wage of $20 an hour!