Healthcare Workers Host Community Forum to Call for Wage Reform

SPRINGFIELD — Community allies and local legislators will join area healthcare and home-care workers, members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, and other healthcare advocates today at a forum to discuss key legislative priorities, upcoming labor negotiations, and the emerging Fight for $15 movement. The event takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 17 John St., Springfield.

Healthcare workers will speak out about the prevalence of poverty wages in area hospitals, nursing homes, and home-care programs, while also calling for investments in healthcare and home-care services and jobs.

The forum comes as a new report from the National Employment Law Project highlights how widespread poverty among home-care workers is undermining care. While revenue in the home-care industry has soared 48{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} over the past decade, average hourly wages for workers has declined by almost 6{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} during that period, according to the report.

The home-care industry is one of the fastest-growing fields in Massachusetts, with more than 3,000 home-care workers in the Springfield area alone.

Meanwhile, nursing-home workers at more than two dozen facilities in Massachusetts will be seeking progress towards a living wage of $15 per hour as they negotiate new labor contracts with their employers this year. Healthcare workers say they are uniting their struggles, beginning with this forum, as they ramp up for a series of mobilizations and demonstrations this year.

Representing more than 52,000 healthcare workers throughout Massachusetts and nearly 400,000 workers across the East Coast, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Its mission is to achieve affordable, high-quality healthcare for all. 1199SEIU is part of the 2.1-million member Service Employees International Union.