Trump Administration Targets Home Care Workforce with Racist CMS Rule Change

Home Care Saves Lives

HARTFORD – Today, as part of the Trump administration’s ongoing attack against working people and Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a rule that denies more than half a million independent provider home care workers the right to independently choose to contribute their own wages to support their union in the same way that most union members do including teachers, police officers and firefighters.

The new rule also prohibits workers from using paycheck deductions from the wages they’ve earned to pay for other common expenses such as health insurance premiums. Furthermore, this is additional evidence of a troubling pattern at CMS, in which the agency continues to use Medicaid as a political weapon rather than invest in the health and well-being of all Americans.

“The Trump administration will not deter us from organizing home care workers here in Connecticut,” said Rob Baril, president of the Service Employees International Union, District 1199 New England.

Approximately 90 percent of home care workers are women, more than half of whom are women of color, and one in four are immigrants. This racist rule by the Trump administration is an attempt to take away from these home care workers their right to independently choose to join together in strong unions and advocate for higher wages, better training, and basic benefits like affordable health care and paid sick time. Better training and working conditions help to retain more home care workers in one of the fastest growing jobs in the nation, in the midst of a dramatic workforce shortage with turnover rates as high as 60%, jobs that are crucial to ensuring quality home care services.

“Together in our union, we’ve won raises to boost our wages over $15 per hour and higher pay when we work holidays. We push for needed resources so seniors and people with disabilities get the quality care they need, and to ensure home care workers providing care get the respect that we deserve,” said 1199 member and home care worker Kay Wright.

This action is one of many recent efforts by the Trump administration and billionaire-funded special interest groups like the State Policy Network and the Freedom Foundation to silence a workforce comprised largely of black and brown women, and to try to undermine the power of working people by making it more difficult for them to join together in a union.

SEIU 1199 union members have a long history of success fighting for health care workers’ rights and quality services for people in need. The Service Employees International Union, District 1199 New England represents some 26,000 health care workers in Connecticut.

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