Besides suffering irreversible damage to their health and family life from working years of 24-hour shifts, home care workers are also cheated of 11 hours of pay each shift. We have helped many home attendants file lawsuits and complaints at the NYS Labor Department. Some from non-union agencies have won settlements. Those from SEIU 1199 agencies, however, are told that their wage claims have been resolved with an arbitration award, averaging an insulting $250 per worker.
On August 31st, 300 home care workers protested for three days at 1199, demanding answers from the union about the award and about ending the 24-hour shift. The following week over 100 home care workers testified at a public hearing to demand that the City Council pass the “No More 24” bill, Intro 175, to split 24-hour care into two shifts of 12; and to put a cap of 50 hours per week, to protect the health and well-being of home care workers AND the people in their care
On October 12th, 200 home care workers rallied at the Department of Labor to demand that gubernatorial candidates Kathy Hochul and Lee Zeldin pledge to end the 24-hour workday, and enforce laws that would split the shifts and recover workers’ stolen wages.
NMASS is a proud member of the Ain’t I a Woman?! (AIW) campaign
“I couldn’t sleep when I worked 24 hours – maybe only 2 hours – because I had to give them medicine, or cook at midnight for the patient, or because I had to watch my patient all night because she would try to run away. I have an abdominal hernia due to the effort of moving my patient. I have high blood pressure from stress, and I can’t sleep.”
– Luz Estrella, organizer and home-care attendant
“I have worked more than 20 years as a home attendant, always with SEIU 1199 agencies. I worked 15 years of 24-hour shifts, 4 and 5 days a week. One gets sick. I told my agency that I didn’t want to work anymore 24-hour shifts. The agency told me to resign. Many of my co-workers feel pressured to agree to 24 hours to save their union health insurance. I organized with my fellow First Chinese Presbyterian home attendants to reclaim our years of stolen pay.”
– Alvaro Ramirez, organizer, Board member and home attendant
“There is no kind of rest. I’m not working 24-hour shifts anymore. They wanted me but I said no. It’s such hard work. Patients are in danger.”
– Rafaela Urena, organizer and current home attendant