When you work in elder care, you make a lot of friends. Scott Brown republicans, Warren democrats, retired radicals… as a care worker you will meet them all, bathe them all, and learn something unbelievable from almost everybody.
Providing good care is difficult, and receiving care can be no less challenging. There’s an exquisite trans-political sense of collaboration that tends to flourish in these relationships, and it defies the power of any tooth-whitening formula a Romney aid could possibly procure. Add the twin Goliaths of poverty wages and soaring care expenses, and you have the makings of a motley political constituency with the grit and power to topple giants.
A new national campaign, Caring Across Generations, is tapping into this mother lode of pure grassroots potential, and it may just be the scale tipper that saves our economy. In Massachusetts, CAG will be doing its first test launch at the Boston Care Congress on June 16th.
The demand for long-term care and support service workers is projected to nearly double by 2050, and workforce density is already lagging far behind. At the same time, we’re faced with one of the most severe economic downturns in decades, with unemployment rates remaining high. Care workers and care consumers have long been active natural allies in the struggle to achieve a working care economy, and now the national heat is on!
In the wake of New York’s recent passage of the first Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Care Councils are cropping up across the country. Diverse coalitions of community organizations, unions, and workers’ associations are gathering stakeholders in the care economy and making opportunities to share our stories, pledge support for one another’s struggles, and dare to share a dream as big as we are.
We’re working towards a federal CARE Act to create 2 million new, high- quality jobs in home care, improve access to care and support services, develop career advancement opportunities and a path to citizenship for domestic and home care workers, and improve and expand Medicare and Medicaid as part of an industrial-strength solution to affordability challenges for those paying out-of-pocket for care.
Our dream is on the move and is garnering more media attention than ever before. A preliminary messaging bill is scheduled to be briefed in Washington on May 14th, and our national campaign co-director, Ai-Jen Poo, was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the year. Read about us also in the April 30th issue of the Nation, and keep an eye on us this year – we’re about to make big waves!