Sunday, September 22, 2013

Protecting the Ones Who Take Care of Us

Still think there's no difference between Democratic presidents and Republican ones?  Here it is.


When I was in college I worked as a staffer for a home health agency for a while. And I learned what a terribly difficult job it is. These people care for the elderly and disabled in their homes often under very difficult conditions and they almost always do it with a generosity of spirit that comes from the heart, not from any pecuniary interest. They are dramatically underpaid and overworked and they care for some of our society's most vulnerable citizens. That's a reflection of America's misplaced priorities.

Anyway, President Obama did something about it (this week) which was long overdue. And good for him:
The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it was extending minimum wage and overtime protections to the nation’s nearly two million home care workers.

Advocates for low-wage workers have pushed for this change, asserting that home care workers, who care for elderly and disabled Americans, were wrongly classified into the same “companionship services” category as baby sitters — a group that is exempt from minimum wage and overtime coverage. Under the new rule, home care aides, unlike baby sitters, would be protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the nation’s main wage and hour law.
Just goes to show you that the presidency and the executive branch have the juice to make progressive change without GOP nihilists after all.

Congratulations to all the people who worked on this issue for over 30 years to make it happen.
The next step President Obama should take around Congress is raising the minimum wage for all federal employees and employees of federal contractors. Say $1 per hour per year - plus inflation - until it reaches $15 per hour.

That would not only goose the economy and lift millions of workers and their families out of  poverty, but put pressure on state and private employers to match that wage.

Not to mention the repug heads exploding all over Congress and Faux News.

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