What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Care for those who care!

In circles we go!
So as part of the 99 pickets actions on Thursday April 25th a few of us went to support home care workers protesting for a better contract.  They were members of the SEIU 1199 Union who are currently working without a contract.  These are domestic workers - mostly minorities, immigrants, and women - that do home care and nursing care for the elderly and disabled.  Put bluntly, they are the people that come to your grandparents houses when they can't walk anymore and clean up for them.  They are the people that go to your autistic or disabled cousin's house and help them clean themselves and make sure they take their medication.  They are the people that work in the nursing homes and assisted living communities that we send our parents to when we decide we can no longer care for them by ourselves.  Basically, these are our relatives.  They are our families.  They make the lives of our loved ones directly better on a daily basis.  And they are working without a contract and without benefits.

These are not nurses per say, just home care workers.  They work hard long hours for little more than minimum wage and with little to no benefits at all.  And deserve our support.  I mean imagine you are a home healthcare worker looking after the people other can't or won't look after and you don't have healthcare yourself?  They work for private companies, foundationally bent on profits and earnings, not on the care of their workers or even their patrons in some senses - and they are hell bent on union busting.  Now say what you will about unions, but these people just want honest pay for an honest - and valuable - days work, AND they want HEALTHCARE for themselves!!  I don't think that is too much to ask.

So we picketed them.  It was a great and spirited affair.  We started around 11:30 and marched in circles as our numbers slowly swelled.  We were the white people there.  It was mostly all women, some literally walking out of the building from work and joining the picket!  Singing, dancing, drumming and tambourines.  Festively somber you could say!  I held a sign that said "Be fair to those who care!"  It is fairly commonsensical.  If you are a healthcare giver, you should get healthcare for when you need care.  Tough argue with that one.

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