I don’t usually write to newspapers. Today, however, I have to speak out on behalf of Direct Care workers in the Human Service sector.
This past July, all of our Senators and Representatives unanimously voted for Direct Care workers (Human Service workers) to get a $20 Million dollar salary reserve after Governor Patrick vetoed it from the state budget. The legislature made it quite clear that they wanted these Direct Care workers to have it for the holidays. They have not had a raise in 5 years. Just to put it into perspective, the Salary Reserve, once broken down to all the direct care workers, would give them about an additional $300 per year, not much in today’s world. They were told they had it, and for once, they felt appreciated; feeling that their work with the most vulnerable of our citizens (managing feeding tubes, dispensing medications and dealing with major behavioral disorders) was being recognized. Their job is demanding, both physically and emotionally. While I myself am not a Direct Care worker, I see them every day giving their all.
Now I hear that Governor Patrick has made the decision to “delay” the implementation of the Salary Reserve indefinitely. It is, according to his staff, because the revenues of the state are under the predictions. Whatever it is, it is not right! These hard working people have been promised this money and have been planning for this money and for some will allow them to give a nice holiday season to their own children, for others, just a chance to pay another bill.
There are over 300 direct care workers at NuPath in Woburn, but there are over 29,000 Direct Care workers in Human Services in the State that would be affected by the Salary Reserve. After years of talking, begging and pleading, they are still starting these extremely hard jobs at $9 to $12 per hour. That amounts to less than $25,000 per year. This is certainly not enough to “Make it in Massachusetts”.
I am asking you to help these hard working direct care workers at this time as they help others daily. Please join me by contacting Gov. Patrick’s office to let him know you want the Salary Reserve released: 1(617)725-4005.
Resident of Reading