$15 minimum wage? Push is on in Massachusetts

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  Nearly 100 homecare and healthcare workers gathered on Tuesday night at Mt. Calvary church in Springfield to push for a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Non-union workers met with Local 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East to join forces in this fight for higher pay, which is a national effort. Homecare and healthcare workers make an average of $9 – $13-dollars per hour, which are wages that have actually decreased 6% over the last decade.

The homecare industry is one of the fastest growing fields in Massachusetts, and just in Springfield alone, there are 3,000 homecare workers. Some of those workers told 22News $15 would also help their clients.

Betzaida Ventura, a homecare worker who cares for an elderly woman, told 22News, “She needs my help, and it’s really hard, you know? Right now, if I get the $15 an hour, it’s going to be more for me and it’s going to better my life for her too. It’s going to help me with what I’m doing right now with my job and also with my family, my home, and my lifestyle.”

“If I could just get 15 dollars an hour and take care of my client, that will help me to get by step by step in life,” says Michelle Jourdan.

In addition to a higher minimum wage, homecare and healthcare workers are asking legislatures to also grant paid sick and vacation time. They’re also pushing for the state budget to fully fund programs for seniors to receive home care.

Right now, many nursing home workers in Massachusetts are also negotiating new labor contracts with their employers.

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