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Colorado’s homecare workers need your support

It shouldn’t matter who you are or where you are from: All workers, including home care workers, should have the tools to be safe at work and to earn a livable wage. 

Homecare workers are mostly women, paid on average $12.41 per hour and often working without proper protective equipment. 

The industry is run by corporations, both big and small. Some of them cut corners and put their employees and clients in difficult situations. Many women in our community are doing their best, working day and night to help those in need. 

We must have a united voice to ask for better working conditions for the women and men taking care of our loved ones. 

Home care is essential, especially now. Yet we continue to see high workforce turnover rates.  Workers are leaving due to low wages, unfair treatment, lack of benefits, little to no training, long work hours with no overtime compensation for travel time, and lack of mileage reimbursement. 

There has been a continued shortage of personal protective equipment for home care workers to perform their jobs safely, and inadequate COVID-19 training to educate them on caring for and protecting their clients while also protecting themselves. 

Marilyn is a homecare worker who works in homes throughout the Denver metro area.

“When COVID-19 started, my employer did not provide any personal protective equipment to us. I had to use kitchen gloves to care for my clients,” Marilyn told me. “I built a relationship with my clients, and I could not let them down. When I addressed the issue with my employer, I did not get a positive response. One day at work, I had to clean my client with bare hands.” 

Geneva’s story shows how much difficulty home care workers have providing for their families. 

Geneva takes three buses to get to her client’s home. She can not afford a car because of low wages; she got her hours cut from 15 to 12 hours per week during the pandemic. Being a home care worker has left her struggling to provide for her three children.

These examples explain why so many leave the industry. Home care workers are needed, and their work is essential.  

Colorado Care Workers United (CCWU) is an organization pushing for better wages and working conditions for all homecare workers. 

It is time to demand improvement in the home care workers’ industry. The amelioration of their working conditions, as well as better wages and training will positively impact the lives of all Colorado clients and their families. 

We need your help! Do you know anyone who has a personal story to share about this issue? Please contact me! Together we will work to have their voice heard. 

Thank you for helping the voice of home care workers rise! 

Pascale Adou
Pascale Adou Koki is a former healthcare worker with 20 years of experience. She is an active volunteer on the Health and Wellness committee at ALG. Her mission is to give back to the community, engaging and educating them about the importance of one’s health. As a former healthcare worker, and now as an external healthcare organizer, with SEIU Local 105/CCWU, she advocates for other home care workers who take care of clients at their homes but are not valued.

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