Greenwich is home to the four most expensive zip codes in Connecticut. Ned Lamont’s mansion is in one of them. This holiday season home care workers, mostly Black, Brown and white working-class women from some of the poorest zip codes in Bridgeport, New Haven, Meriden and Hartford, are visiting the governor to call on the State of Connecticut to end their exploitative treatment.
Home care workers, also known as personal care attendants (PCAs), are paid by the state to care for some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable citizens so they can live independently at home. While enduring poverty-level wages and unsafe conditions, they have given loving care throughout this pandemic and put their clients’ needs first.
Despite the significant risk of exposure to COVID-19, and many PCAs working long hours for multiple clients, no one in this 10,000 person workforce has health insurance, paid time off, or retirement provided through this job. And these workers are being paid by the State of Connecticut. A majority white, male workforce would never be treated this way.
None of this is necessary. Connecticut has received $240 million earmarked for home care services from the American Rescue Plan Act. This is more than enough to pay PCAs what they deserve and provide them with appropriate benefits for this essential, often dangerous, care work.
Thursday, December 9th, at 11:30 AM, home care workers spoke out in front of the Governor’s mansion in Greenwich.
PCA Betsy Wingate from Naugatuck says: “Today, I care for 3 consumers, I just tested positive for COVID, and I have no paid time off. I’m 66 years old, and I don’t know how I’ll plan to retire, much less cover my bills over the next month without a paycheck. People like me are getting COVID every day, and it’s not fair that there’s no paid time off to get through this. The State of CT relied on us to keep consumers safe all through this pandemic, and now they’re turning their backs on us.”
PCA Cynthia Johnson from New Haven says: “Gov. Ned Lamont stated that anyone working 40 hours a week should not have to live in poverty, but PCAs are subsisting on state aid, Husky, food stamps, rental assistance – despite our working full time or more! We are taking care of multiple consumers and we are still ending up in shelters, being homeless, needing state assistance. We are a workforce that is in poverty even though CT has received $240 million for Homecare. Where is our Thanksgiving or Christmas?”
PCA Michele May-Javeed from Hartford says: “I care for my brother, who is total care. My pay boils down to $7.50/hour for the 24-hour shifts his care requires. On those wages, I support my two sons, my daughter, and my three grandsons. I’m 58, and I have no savings to retire. As PCAs we deserve a future where we don’t always have to put off meeting our needs for another day. Utilities, health care, retirement: these are basic needs that we shouldn’t have to ration for ourselves just because we care for others.”
What: Home care workers without health care visit the Governor’s Mansion
When: Thursday, December 9, at 11:30 AM
Where: Governor Ned Lamont’s home at 4 Ashton Dr, Greenwich
Who: SEIU District 1199 New England home care PCA workers