Home-care workers: The co-op option

I love the Opt Ed section of the paper. I believe we all need to write at least one letter on something we’re passionate about in our lifetime. In saying that, I applaud this reader

Re: “Shortage of caregivers makes aging in small towns harder” [Aug. 21, A1]:

Working conditions of home-care workers plays a critical role in Washington’s home-care sector and needs to be included in this discussion. Home-care workers provide physical and emotional labor but need self-care too. The work is demanding and often with low pay, few benefits and no guarantee of consistent scheduling. Eighteen percent of Home Care Aides live under the poverty threshold. Costly licensing requirements for HCAs create a significant barrier for low-wage workers. To meet the gap between caregivers and the clients, the sector needs to focus on becoming a more attractive employer.

Washington has five home-care co-ops, the most in the nation. A home-care cooperative, owned and democratically controlled by caregivers, offers an option in the home-care industry that respects the dignity of the workers and the clients. Co-ops pay better, share profits, provide more consistent scheduling and full-time work, and the caregivers have an owner’s voice in how the co-op manages care and serves clients since the caregivers can advocate for the needs of their clients.

More home-care co-ops will improve the working conditions of caregivers and narrow the gap between the number of caregivers and the increasing number of those who need care.

Deborah Craig and John McNamara, cooperative development specialists, Northwest Cooperative Development Center, Olympia

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3 Responses to Home-care workers: The co-op option

  1. Reaseaorg says:

    I hope home carers are treated well in the future. I can only imagine how demanding this job must be on a day to day basis. And to receive low wages and to feel that kind of pressure, can’t be healthy for these employees long term …

    Liked by 1 person

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